Post 1: From Atheist to Agnostic
I have many questions about religion, faith, and spirituality. I have considered myself an atheist for as long as I can remember, but lately have had certain experiences that I regard as spiritual, and therefore pointing to a world or dimension that is a higher power. The word “higher” does not necessarily mean better — I like to think of it as simply different. With my newfound openness to a spiritual world, I have endless questions about the effect faith has on people. Most of the population of earth associates itself with some sort of established world religion. Considering this, it makes sense to me that an existing god is possible. I ask myself, “Why does it matter? I feel fine without any faith system or belief.” However, based on my conversations with others, faith seems to be having an additional sense. The sense is not necessarily to a content life, but it is a huge help to the individual. This sense includes faith in a higher power, love, and comfort.
I wonder if I can ever reach this point, because I feel like I have had spiritual awakenings in the past few months. I have also been assured by someone I trust that god loves me. I have always been a critical person, which has allowed me to be wary of what people say and not eager to believe anything I am told. However, the out of body feelings I have had were inspiring and led me to think of what spirituality could truly be like. I despise organized religious institutions, which are largely based on power and greed. These institutions, however, provide a great sense of community, stability, and love for individuals who congregate for prayer and the like. Would my individual faith provide a similar sense of love and of not being alone when I am physically by myself? Is organized religion truly more corrupt and less pure than an individual’s journey? Is there even a right answer?
I want to think critically on this topic because it can be the source of new inspiration and a new relationship. I would be open to exploring a world that I previously denied. I also have questions about why I grew up an atheist. It clearly has something to do with my family, as I was raised by an atheist single mother. It could also have something to do with living in Los Angeles, a liberal area where it is often considered “cool” to not believe in god. “I believe in myself,” I would tell people whenever they asked me why I did not believe in god. This is true, because I understand that I have some amount of control in my life. However, I do not have total control of anything in the world, which does point to a higher power. The big bang theory was recently discounted to some degree, but I still trust science with explanations of how life was started.
So all things considered, I want to explore questions of faith in liberal metropolitan areas of the world such as Los Angeles and compare them to how most of the world feels about a higher power. When I ask myself these questions, they unfold and create more and more thoughts and analysis of my experiences in comparison to the rest of the world. I am excited to discover myself through this process, and hopefully learn something about if and why people need faith.