My bro has posted on his blog why he is an atheist. I used this last night for our discussion night at the pub. People were very moved by what he had written.
Here is what he says:
Here is what he says:
I don’t believe in atheism. What I mean by that is, I don’t believe atheism is a universal truth. I don’t believe atheism has all the answers and the non-existence of god is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I do believe in integrity though, and being true to yourself and what you believe.
I was a Christian and a very passionate Christian at that. I was able to preach to large groups of people about God and how amazing he is. I truly believed god was amazing and could do life changing things. I really felt he had changed my life and I was on a new path, with a new life, with new hopes and new dreams. I thought Jesus was one hell of a bloke and I still look at Jesus and find him a superb example of what it means to be a human being. Jesus is a great example of how to live, but also his anguish at the exploitation of the poor and marginalised is so appropriate for the way society is at the moment.
There is a “but” though.
Over four years of being a Christian I was always left with a niggling doubt. An itch I couldn’t quite scratch. Something like a knot in your stomach that doesn’t quite go away and ends up growing and wrapping itself around you. It was to do with prayer. Why weren’t my prayers answered? It, at first, felt like God was hearing my prayers but maybe answering them differently to what I expected. It then felt like I was making excuses for God’s silence by believing his inaction made a better result. Over time though I just felt like god wasn’t answering and didn’t really care. And then it felt like I was saying these prayers which were drifting up into a vast expanse of emptiness. Ultimately I didn’t see prayer working and it made me wonder if there was even a god there listening to me. If god didn’t care about me, why should I care about him?
For me, I am an atheist because I feel I have no choice. I felt so disillusioned by god’s silence I actually found more peace in thinking that if god isn’t there then I don’t need to pray and get disappointed if he doesn’t answer.
I also found disbelief more of a peaceful route because of how some people within the Church treated me. There were a few who made me feel less of a person and who upset me and hurt me. I felt judged. I spent time away from the Church and met people who loved me for who I was, with all the scars and tears and pain I carry. They loved me unconditionally. An unconditional love I expected from some people within the Church, but never got.
I do believe many in the Church give unconditional love but they don’t have the monopoly on it and it got me thinking that either god shares his love freely throughout all people or maybe people simply have an innate ability to love each other just the way they are.
I chose the second option because I found more peace in it. My girlfriend loves me simply because it’s me. She knows my past pains and present struggles. She understands my future worries and my distant dreams. She loves me because she loves me, no more, no less. I get physical comfort from her when I am low and I get emotional comfort too. I guess god became too abstract, distant and silent. I prayed to him and felt I got no answer, no hug, no tears wiped away from my eyes. Only recently I was upset and asked where he was and silence boomed back.
I don’t think atheism will ever become the dominant belief system in the world because it doesn’t have all the answers. I don’t even know if I agree with a lot of what atheists say! I am an atheist because I feel, through life experience, god doesn’t exist.
I must admit, I’d happily be proved wrong though…