Atheism, agnosticism, and faith: My chronological experiences with each one.
Some people do not change when they get older. Others, like myself, do change. Here is one of my stories.
The definition of atheism: The belief that there is no God.
When I was old enough to vote, I decided to be an atheist. I was a proud one too because I had proof God did not exist. I believed men lied about the existence of God. They had to, because if God existed why couldn’t he stop injustice? If he was all-powerful, why couldn’t he change the works of evil? Why was God even a he?
I could not understand how God would allow so much misery in the world and at the same time decide to help a few others. How did he get to pick and choose? This confusion frustrated me and fueled my anger.
To solidify my strong faith in the fact that there was no God, I would remind myself how religion was the cause for many wars, suppression and colonialism.
To me religion was a hypocrisy — man’s creation to control the masses when there were fewer laws and more chaos on earth. It was all about power and control.
Religion was a tool trying to manipulate my mind and it turned me into a rebel.
As a result, I understood life to be spiritless, pushing cogs and bolts of our DNA towards the furthest galaxies. Everything was accidentally working in coexistence to form our animated lives and beyond. Love was conditional, compassion was a biased convenience and everything existed to serve a self-fulfilling purpose.
Then my life began to change and I was slowly turning into an agnostic.
The dictionary defines an agnostic as such: a person who holds that the existence of the ultimate cause, as God, and the essential nature of things are unknown and unknowable, or that human knowledge is limited to experience.
I started questioning my belief in no God. Why? Because my life saw mysterious happenings that raised many questions. Friends and family members bore babies and others died. This led me to ask questions about what existed before my conception and what exists after my death.
Claiming that there was no God was too all-knowing in a world that had so many perplexities.
You see, it was not about religion anymore. It was about the mysteries of life.
I began to understand that I, and billions in the world, could not possibly understand the meaning of everything happening with our limited human experience. Not even geniuses could hold all the information that history discovered and that contemporary science is discovering. I even went as far as realizing that even if all the billions of thinking minds consolidated their knowledge, we still could not find the answers to the meaning and cause of life on earth and in the universe.
As an agnostic I would ask questions like, what if there was more than what the human eye could see? What if there was another level of existence parallel to the one we were experiencing? We could not know for certain that there was one — but, we also could not know for certain that there was not one, either.
I mean, many people have had near death experiences and came back to talk about it.
I kept asking myself what force was driving this seemingly infinite movement called life? And why? What was making my heart beat without my conscience? And if there was nothing behind all of this, why were our bodies created with such incredible complexity and sophistication? Everything keeps working together in balance, growing, evolving and procreating. Even the cells in our brains and in our blood are too numerous to count.
Microcosms and macrocosms were big mysteries to me and they led me to a childlike curiosity that woke me up.
Then I discovered faith.
Faith: confidence or trust in a person or thing. Belief that is not based on proof. Belief in anything as a code of ethics, standard of merit. The obligation of loyalty, to a person, a promise, or engagement. The trust in God and in His promise as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.
Things got very personal.
The longer I lived, the more dramatic my life got. I had to dig deeper.
My dark days of addictions, loneliness and betrayals were the biggest lessons in my life. Luckily with much effort and difficulty I survived them. I could have easily sunk into self-destruction, violence and suicide. I believe something deep within me helped with this. I believe it was faith.
The confidence that I could pull through the dark days became my faith.
Faith is also love. I cannot prove the existence of love but my heart can feel it in its actions. It would be difficult to put love in a box, to give it a color, or a shape. But I believe it is real because I sense it.
Faith to me is the same thing. It is an action. An energy as real as anything on earth. Faith is a personal experience based on my trust and loyalty to the strength I carry within me. This strength is not a separate box. It is connected to a source that links everything called life.
As a result, I came to understand the power of faith. That faith can drive me to go beyond the limits of my existence.
So, to disclose my earlier life’s questions, I came up with these answers.
Religion has many versions and many faces. When it is not used for power, it can be a gateway to the mysteries of life. If it is transparent, it can guide us to solve the riddles of this maze we are living in.
God has been the universal name for a Higher Power.
A Higher Power did not allow injustice to happen, humans were the cause of injustices. The Force is not a magical light that willfully meddles in the lives of people. It is not a separate entity that controls us and everything around us 24/7.
The Higher Force is an energy that I can tap into. I can choose to work with It, or not. And my choice has a consequence. My relationship with it is my faith. Yes, I can have a relationship with myself.
I don’t think my faith makes me naive. I just think that life is more than what we perceive it to be on earth. The entrance and exit doors to and from this world are quite intriguing. I have seen proud atheists turn into vulnerable child-like characters when facing their demise. I saw a sense of their needing to believe in somewhere to go to after their death. Fear changes a person. Or, does it wake them up?
I think the truth of the matter is that no one really knows why life exists. No scientist, priest, psychologist or historian can find the one true answer — not even an atheist.
What I do know is that faith is a choice. It is hope, passion, and pure joy of dreaming and moving towards something.
Is there a Force that embraces us if we choose it? Or is it a figure of our imagination? This question will continue to be my eternal battle.
In the meantime, my temporary answer is very personal.
Life’s mystery advances to peak my curiosity because the enigma of my soul is an uncharted territory. My thirst for learning more about the Spirit of the world will never be quenched before I die. Life is too vast and too unresolved, and I am just a mortal beast.
But that’s OK, faith will drive me to keep seeking. And you know what they say, “If you ask, you will receive. If you will seek, you will find”.
Or better yet, you will get closer to the truth.
Thank you for reading. What are your experiences about atheism or faith?
Until my next story,