It was in 2nd year high school when during a seatwork time in our Christian Living Education class, I found myself penning questions on an essay paper, expressing my misgivings on a merciful God who allows all global afflictions and injustices to occur. My religion teacher responded by writing something like “He has his own good reasons for permitting all that.” It was an answer that left me more confused.
Now that I’m in my forties, I still am no different from the highschool girl who couldn’t help questioning the credibility of the God we were taught to worship. Then there’s this term agnostic – which definition keeps escaping my full comprehension. In my opinion: it’s either you believe or you don’t, isn’t it? If you’re somewhere in the middle, you might as well call yourself very confused.
There may be a God (and I say may) alright. But it’s probably far different from the one our human psyche has created. I can never forget the words of a famous blogger who once wrote, “Human Ego Knows No Bounds: God on Man’s Terms and Image.”
Recently, I’ve also had the privilege and pleasure of perusing the post of a brilliant young blogger whose personal canons on existentialism are quite similar to mine. If you have the time, read what he has to say on his blog. Aside from being an exquisite writer, he’s one of the most sensible people I’ve ever met online.
I’ve read in several instances, too, how God is defined as, fundamentally, the Love we feel in our hearts. That makes more sense to me. Love for one another is uplifting and beautiful, which is basically what a good God represents and promotes.
I guess severe agonies and adversities induced by happenings in our realm must call for more profound and divine explanations – even if we have to invent them ourselves. How many men and women who had decided to subscribe to church doctrines did so because they couldn’t endure the emptiness of their existence; their soul having been in search of a Higher Power that would define their purpose, that would give them strength. They claim they would have gone mad attempting to rationalize all the senseless crimes, inequalities, heart-crushing tragedies taking place everywhere.
That we are no different from other animal species who can be extinguished by various circumstances anytime is unbearable for most people. Scientific truths, point-blank realities will never do because we believe we are so much more than solid matter constituting of flesh, blood and brain.
Now let me add here my conviction about death. The end of our lives – which is the ultimate destination – leads to total and absolute nothingness. Why is it so hard for our colossal egos to accept that? What makes us think we humans are an exception? We will all die. Goodluck to all those who refuse to acknowledge this plain truth: Everything is meant to end and Death makes sure that will happen for each one of us. All our senses, consciousness will fade away with it. Our bodies will merely turn into dust.
Yet it’s easier to discern and welcome the demise of the stars in heaven, and the fact that animals perish mercilessly, and that all objects made up of quarks submit to their respective expiration periods. When it comes to our own Being, though, our own essences bowing to extinction – no, it can’t be. We are too important to just die and be gone forever.
Highly educated, well-accomplished people being brainwashed by religions created by dingbats who originally came from nowhere continue to perplex me. What’s more, they insist their impregnable ideologies must be spread throughout for the salvation of every soul upon death. Then, the ones that couldn’t be converted get labeled as belonging to the side of the demons or worse, just plain morons who have lined-up for eternal damnation.
By reason of my jumbled thoughts on spirituality, I do suffer emotionally and am in torment every now and then. My spirit isn’t so strong as to brave my sorrows all the time. Yet it’s my choice. I’d rather be subjected to feelings of an acutest pain than force myself in surrendering to some ecclesiastical denomination my mind would continually struggle to embrace.
My son, who had been schooled in private Catholic institutions, goes to church and hears mass without fail on Sundays. Didn’t I tell you my boy is, in many respects, a finer individual than me? I’ve encouraged him to hold on to his sacred practices. He and I never talk about my “heretical theories” and it’s a relief he doesn’t seem to want to know. Because I am hoping he may be spared from the insufferable planes his mother has gone through in life; trusting his faith will somehow shelter him from the miseries undergone by citizens of a godless world.
12 thoughts on “Citizens of a Godless World”
FWIW, an agnostic is the opposite of a gnostic, which basically means “to know.” Gnostics make the claim that they know the reality of God’s existence or not — there are theist gnostics and atheist gnostics.
To be agnostic is to say, “I don’t know,” and there are theist agnostics and atheist agnostics. That is to say, there are those who believe there may (or may not) be a God, but they understand there is no proof, no certainty. There is only faith (and perhaps hope).
I tend to disfavor gnostics of either stripe, because I don’t think knowledge on this matter is possible. Obviously I’m agnostic (and I lean towards some kind of metaphysics and faith, although I’m pretty sure if it’s real it’s not like anything we conceive).
You might find the view of Spinoza (shared by Einstein, so you’re in good company) more compatible with your views. Spinoza found God in the physical reality of the universe.
There is also a theistic-deistic split. Theists believe God is present in their daily lives and affects events and listens to and answers prayers (apparently saying, “Nope!” most of the time). Deists believe in a God that created the universe, started the ball rolling, but is not present in our daily lives. Prayer for deists is just a form of meditation — no one is listening (let alone answering).
As for the darkness and evil in the world, one view is that God gave us free will and great power to do good… which brings the concomitant power to do evil. We choose. Also, without ugly, there can be no beauty. Likewise, without evil, good doesn’t have meaning.
A large number of religious organizations have sprung up here in the last few decades and scores of people surprisingly have become willing members. Friends asked for my presence, at least, in their religious gatherings and prayer meetings. I also used to be married to a man whose kin remain hard-core constituents of the second biggest and most powerful religion in our country (next to Catholicism). Yet here I am, still the person who cannot assimilate any of what I heard inside those churches.
This post was the product of my promised comment several weeks ago to my blogpal who wrote the posts (with links) above. It’s been difficult for me to start any writing on delicate topics. But yesterday I decided to fulfill my promise when I found myself with a few vacant hours at work. I should have added a few more things above like “There was nothing before we were born. So why do we expect there’ll be something after we die?” I know my outlook is very basic but you already know I think very simply. 🙂
Your comment is helpful and quite appreciated. The views of Deists are actually more acceptable to me. I’ve read a lot about your stand on spiritual matters in your blog and I think I share many of your sentiments. Thank you, Wyrd. I will look up for Spinoza.
And why haven’t you been posting lately, hm? 🙂
I suspect that, as the world becomes more and more complex and threatening, people flock to find some kind of answer they can grasp onto. Religion claims to offer those answers, so you can see why their membership could be growing these days.
And the understanding we do have of the world seems ever more “godless” which could produce a kind of counter-reaction in some, I suppose. The more we suggest religion is an empty pursuit, the more some say, “Screw you. I BELIEVE!” ? (I dunno, just a theory.)
As for me, I just haven’t been “feeling” it lately. You know I struggle with blogging and the sweeping lack of interest my blog seems to generate. At times I still consider just moving on to something else.
Plus, I’ve been playing a game with the last series of posts to see if anyone catches on… so far, no one has mentioned anything, so maybe I’m just waiting to let the last shoe drop to see if anyone does catch on.
The possibility that somebody might be offended had entered my mind but I trusted that all this would be taken as a personal conviction of mine. It was meant to be more of in agreement with the bloggers who share my views as I have already read several posts from many other WP scribblers – in my four years as a blog reader – that touch on their religious beliefs and life after death issues (A few of my words I have previously and repeatedly used in my numerous comments to their blog posts). I also figured that instead of posting my thoughts as a comment on my blogpal’s piece, I might as well make it another entry of mine because this blog is serving as my memoir. It’s my very first post about the subject of religion, btw. If I had even wished to impose my opinions to anyone, I would have started with the people around me here who are all believers.
You seem to have more readers and commenters these days, Wyrd. I hope you find the enthusiasm to write again soon. 🙂
Oh, I doubt you need to worry too much about offending people. My comment about people’s reactions was about how they react to the general climate, how they react to atheists and the world as a whole. And that you speak only for your own views is quite clear!
Writing ones own article in response to another blogger’s is very common — I’ve done it several times myself. You’re also totally not alone wrt thinking of your blog as a personal memoir. A lot of us are doing exactly that!
I think mainly I’ve just been distracted lately — been re-reading some old SF friends from my library. I opened a box of books I haven’t seen since I moved into this place in 2003, and some of the novels therein I haven’t read in much longer than that.
And, like I say, I keep wondering if anyone has spotted my little gag. I’m tempted to not follow through with the next post planned just to see if anyone goes, “Hey, what about ‘A’?” 🙂
There were strong words I might have used because almost all bloggers who wrote about their religious perspectives had been bold in their expression. So I thought I could do that, too. I was also a bit in a hurry to post my delayed promised response and got carried away while writing I forgot to include the fact that I often envy people for their firm beliefs. They feel secured and are so much happier. The above post was what I had been planning to write for a long time. Now I’m thinking I should have procrastinated forever. 🙂
Oh, you are indeed lucky for having the luxury of time to read. I like watching SF movies but reading SF novels has been difficult for me. Here, Collins Classics have recently arrived in the bookstores and they’re cheap (yipee). I started buying one book a week but I’m having the hardest time finishing them all. 😦
I couldn’t comprehend exactly what you mean by the “gag.” Pardon me for being a slow thinker :-). Maybe I should check out your last posts again.
But I sure am looking forward to your next one.
Have a great week, Wyrd. Please take good care.
I hope you’re not saying that in response to anything I’ve said, as I would encourage you to write more posts like this. You know me, Ideas are the highest form of discussion.
Do you have a decent library system there? Can you check books out rather than having to pay for them? (Or can you re-sell them once you’re done with them?) I know you’ve mentioned you’re not into owning possessions. (I saw a YT clip that made me think of you and that ethic!)
Why are they hard to finish? Lack of time or lack of real interest or… ?
I’ll give you a hint towards my “gag”… think alphabetically.
Here’s that YouTube clip… really kind of inspiring; I’m going to make a greater effort to rid myself of some of the junk I’ve been hauling around for decades.
I got it! Ha ha. The title of BB #43 should start with letter A. See, I’m smart, after all. 😀
Ok, so that means your newest entry will be coming out anytime now. Hmm…I wonder what the topic will be. 😉
Well, at least you know what letter the title begins with! 😀
Just published it, so the wait is over.
Thank you very much for the You Tube clip. Yes it’s inspiring (strong British accent he’s got – how i love it) as I’m all for downsizing of stuff to simplify one’s life. Do you know that I get stranger looks from people here if I let them know I don’t care much about possessions anymore than if I tell them of my atheistic leanings or of my strong skepticism on life after death? It’s kind of funny really. 🙂
Oh, the procrastination remark – I was actually kidding. It’s no problem, my friend. I understand religion is quite a delicate issue every one of us feels sensitive in that area and it’s only natural that people defend what they believe in. I don’t wish such topic to tear us apart as good blogfriends, Wyrd. My sole purpose of documenting what goes on in my mind will always have its drawback.
Speaking of which, I’ve got drafts sitting here for months that press on my unsparing stance on the subject of marriage, relationships, and men. I do like men and enjoy their company very much (as I keep on saying) but my no-holds barred posts are based on my romantic life experiences which, on the whole, may not be flattering to the male gender :-). Nevertheless, I feel compelled that they be publicly chronicled on these pages soon. Offending someone or being misunderstood remains a concern still. I am honestly relieved I’ve got one or two male blog pals left these days. 😀
An Indecent library system I’ve got is more like it (just kidding). I don’t mind buying “economical” classic books. It’s the, er, self-help books I’ve outgrown I have a problem disposing. Lack of interest is certainly not it: I’ve grown fond of reading a few novels from the Gothic era. Just finished Madame Bovary last night. Next in line -> ahem, “Middlemarch.” 🙂
No reason it should; I respect any well-considered position. Anything I said here was just an exploration of the topic, nothing more.