Religion or Atheism? Neither, Thank You

Jason Weiland
“Is man merely a mistake of God’s? Or God merely a mistake of man?” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
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For the past eight years, I’ve considered myself a card-carrying atheist. Like many atheists, I had strong feelings about religion, God, and the Bible, and I wasn’t afraid to speak them to whoever would listen.

I’d get upset when someone dared post something religious on my Facebook timeline because, after all, how could anybody believe the fairy tale crap from the bible, and why do I have to be subjected to that level of stupidity?

I started getting the chip on my shoulder that most atheists have and was developing my own brand of mansplaining because it is a skill that most atheists possess.

But, I quickly grew tired of the nonbeliever crowd. I’d spent my life being beaten into submission with a bible, and I couldn’t stomach how atheists used their disbelief to demean others.

And, unlike most atheists, I’ve never been comfortable with the idea that I’m alone in the universe. I’ve struggled with the idea that there is no God or gods, and it’s been the topic of many discussions I’ve had with my wife over the years.

Unusual things I’ve experienced make me believe that there are far greater things than I in the universe. Everything I think and believe has been changing.

What Do I Believe?

I’ve always questioned everything. If someone told me something was an absolute truth, I had to find out for myself. Because of that, there are some things I’m still confused about and others that I am surer of knowing.

I think life would be boring if we knew all the answers, but it still doesn’t hide the truth that I get anxious about what I don’t know.

Not knowing if there is a meaning of life or something profound I should be doing with my 80 years makes me wonder if I have wasted my life looking for answers when I should have been walking a path to some goal.

God

He (or she? Or it?) is something I don’t know. For a while, I was sure we were alone in the universe, and I toed the line of atheism unless I wanted to be man-lectured until I was blue in the face.

But, I believe very strongly in Karma. Many times if a person does good things, they get some reward. If they do evil, all they will receive in return is evil.

Í believe it because I have seen proof of it in my own life. It’s hard to argue against something that affects me every day.

But even my belief in Karma is not a sure thing because I see innocent people who do good things suffer in agony and despair. I also see horrible people get everything they want in life.

Look at the 1% of the wealthiest people in the world.

More questions than answers.

Is it the universe directing these things, or is there a God or gods pulling strings?

Is there an old white guy floating around in the clouds, surrounded by angels, calling all the shots? Maybe there is an elephant god or a bearded misogynist shooting lightning bolts at people on the earth?

I don’t know, and I don’t know if I ever will. Many people have faith that there is a God, but I’ve never seen or heard compelling enough evidence either way.

Blind faith is something I cannot follow.

I do find it hard to believe that everything happens by chance. I see direction in the patterns of the universe, and I can’t unsee it.

The Bible

I think the Bible is a great book, and there are still passages that I use to guide myself morally when I am confused about my life direction.

Do I believe that everything truly happened as it is written in the bible?

No.

Do I think the bible is anything more than a book of fiction and fables pieced together by many men wanting a way to control the masses?

No.

The Bible writers were just that — writers. I don’t believe that the book was divinely inspired. At all. Just because a book has been around for a long time does not make it truthful and evidence of God.

Evolution has been proven a fact, without a doubt, by science, and I can’t believe any story that tells me that the earth has only been around a few thousand years. There are trees alive today that are older than that.

Religion

While I think that religion is not all bad, I’ve seen the damage it can do from personal experience. While it’s true that not all religions take advantage of people, I can’t get behind any organization that seeks to tell people how to live their lives based on a book and the teachings of men.

And while I may have gotten irritated by people posting religious stuff on my Facebook timeline before, I am not at all like that anymore. I like that people have faith in something, and I like that this faith drives them to be better people. Something that does that much good can’t be all bad.

Is Religion For Me?

I will never believe in anything remotely related to Christianity again, but I’m not going to rule out something else in the future.

I may stumble onto teachings I agree with.

One day, my daughter or son may decide they want to be part of religion, and I wouldn’t stop them. I have an open mind, and I would agree with anything that makes her happy.

Changing My Mind About What I Believe

I have many questions left unanswered, and it may be that I will never find a resolution.

Like anyone, I would like to have indisputable proof, but I don’t think I will find answers either way. But, regardless of what I believe in the future, there is one thing I am going to start doing now.

I am going to be more grateful.

I no longer want to feel selfish because I believe that everything that happens in my life is entirely up to me. I want to find out if there is a force controlling the universe or a higher power directing things. Because if there is someone or something I should be thankful for every day, I certainly don’t want to leave them out of my life.

I am happy, and I love my life. If there is someone I should be grateful to, I want to make sure they get my praise.

After all, I’m not a jerk. I am a damn good person.

I’m still trying to figure out what I believe. You would think that by 52 years old, I would be sure about a few things. I guess that I’m just a person who questions everything, and because of that, my beliefs change over time.

I’m not going to kid myself that one day I will have everything figured out. I won’t. But until then, I can be more tolerant of other’s beliefs and do a few things to express my gratitude to whoever is in control of the universe.

If I can do more, I will.

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Writer and advocate interested in mental health, health, family, culture, creativity, and success.

Los Angeles, CA
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