Confession of a New Atheist

Confession of a New Atheist

This morning, I am in urgent need of a God. It would be nice if I could order faith (that I have lost) over at - same-day delivery guaranteed.

I’m feeling helpless and hopeless. I can’t seem to tame myself or my flaws. I yearn to kneel before someone greater than myself and submit, hoping they will fix everything.

I see and understand why the notion of God exists, and why even intellectuals like Dr. Ambedkar, who suffered because of organized religion, emphasized the need for a religion as a foundation for a healthy society. He sought a religion based on ethics, not rituals or rules, one that doesn’t foster hate, discrimination, or violence among brothers.

When I was younger, especially in times of helplessness, I found comfort in sending short prayers to God. I believed in a higher power that was also my friend, an all-loving God open to personal bargains.

But even then, when I believed in God, I continued to live as if God didn’t exist. If I (a theist) believed God existed - whom I believed to be all-loving, a judge of kindness and fairness - then why did that not reflect in my actions? Why was I okay with cheating and lying through my teeth for my personal gain? I, with faith, acted as if I didn’t have any. I was okay if another human being suffered for my greed, was okay if another human being was killed in the name of my religion. I was okay if another human being was denied entry into a place of worship or denied water to drink. My God was full of love - but was I? I would hardly tolerate anyone who was not like me.

In my early/mid-20s, I realized intellectually that we are on our own - there is no God above keeping an eye on us. But I continued to act like there was one above me in the moment of crisis.

In therapy, we discussed “Magical Thinking”. Prayer and personal bargain with God were my Magical Thinking. My actions or inactions have consequences; no amount of magical thinking can help that.

This loss of God results in losing that sense of purpose, that sense of “discipline” I had in doing things - because it was my duty.
That loss of belief in “karma” - Which I believed that if I work hard, and was fair and true, I would eventually be okay.

Where does one go when I cannot control or discipline myself or my evil side, or cannot overcome my flaws? Why would I even work on those things, if I don’t have a guarantee of returns?

Very bad/basic understanding of philosophy ahead

After losing my faith, I used to find solace in Existentialism - that life is inherently meaningless, but you are free to make up your own meaning.
Go do things that make you happy. Build your meaning. But this too does not end well for me; if one does not have “faith” (not necessarily in God) to a certain extent, we are back to square one.

Lately, I’ve been drawn to Absurdism. A video here explains it beautifully.

Absurdism, from what I understand, is a philosophical stance that the Universe and life are meaningless (or we do not have the capability to understand it - hence practically meaningless). But the human desire to find meaning, order, and logic in what is inherently meaningless is what makes life miserable - And Camus calls it “The Absurd”.

Camus proposes three possible responses to Absurdity of Life:

  1. Suicide - The declaration that life is not worth living.
  2. Philosophical Suicide (or leap of faith) - Accepting any other thing that would give you meaning, including religion or ideology (like the promise of Communism).
  3. Rebel in the face of Absurd - Accept and acknowledge the Absurd, and the futility of things, but carry on and live passionately in the face of Absurdity.

Intellectually, it makes sense. However, it doesn’t reflect in my actions.

At the moment, all I can do is pray to the Late God - that this atheist can internalize the Absurd, fight, and live vicariously in the face of Absurdity. Amen.