I promised myself I wouldn’t blog about religion or God, but damn it, I can’t sleep and I’m having some existential issues. My road to Atheism has been rocky. I was born a Hindu. For a long time, I was agnostic. I despised religion; it frustrated me to no end. But I accepted that there is a supreme power that was responsible for everything; I acknowledged that the complexity of the universe begged for a higher power to be responsible for it.
Over time, even that stopped making sense to me. Atheism is treated like a swear word by most people. When I tell people I’m an atheist, they stare at me like I just told them I’m a rapist. For a long time, I wondered what about these religious scriptures made sense to others. I read the Bible, the Koran and the Bhagvad Gita, and they were filled with convoluted logic.
To be good is to follow the path of God; to heed his commands. Only then can one achieve Nirvana.
The above is a common thread across most religions; and lacks an incredible amount of logic. I will acknowledge that some people need a bigger reason than themselves to lead their lives and God offers that. In many cases, God has allowed people to be good, help others, and create structure within society. But God is just that: another political or social structure put in place to contain the anarchy of human psychology.
God is the largest symbol of humanity’s self-appointed self-importance. We need to give meaning to our life, need to believe that there is something bigger than ourselves. Otherwise our shitty lives will be insignificant and meaningless. But, wait, God is there. He made the waterfalls, and the mountains and the world around us! If we’re good, we can become angels or can be reborn to a higher life or even achieve nirvana!
“Awesome!”, my mind would reply. “What about animals? Do they achieve nirvana too?!”
“Uh, maybe. Christians sometimes talk about a doggy heaven. “
“Ah, so separate but equal?”
“Something like that. In the Western world, humans are more important than the rest of the animal world. We don’t believe in evolution (Us come from monkeys? Preposterous!) And our pro-life beliefs stop at humans. Animals can go to hell.”
“Ah, but isn’t the Eastern world kinder to animals? Can’t animals be reborn as humans and achieve nirvana?”
“Yes, our souls can travel between various bodies. It could take an ant’s form or a human’s form.”
“That must be comforting to know.”
I will say that the downside of not believing in a God is that it is incredibly lonely. Oh, how I would like to believe that I will die and go to a better place, and be able to meet all my loved ones and live happily ever after. I have stayed up nights wondering if I will ever meet my granddad again or see Neil again and be able to talk to them. How lovely it would feel, how incredible it would feel to know that there is something beyond what I feel and see right now.
But no matter how good it feels, I can never convince myself to believe it. All we have is the here and now. I don’t know how much more time I have, but I’m going to be the best I can be during this remaining time. I don’t need God as motivation to do that and neither do you.