My 35 Year Trip to Non Believer

I call myself a non-believer, but I suppose technically I’m agnostic.  I don’t deny the utter possibility of some universe creator, but have concluded that if one exists its beyond my capacity to understand or interact with it on any meaningful level.  And its interest in me would likely amount to my interest in Amoeba.  So for daily life, I don’t think there is any god.

I wasn’t always in this place.  I was not taught about God by my parents.  My grandma took me to church when I visited her and when she visited us, but beyond that my parents left me to explore the question on my own.

When I was 16 I became a born again Christian.  I accepted Christ because it was such a beautiful idea.  A God who loves me just as I am, who doesn’t care about the fact that I’m messed up.  I read the bible through and through.  I went to bible study and bible camps and joined Campus Crusade when I went to college.

In college my path was a bit erratic.  I was easily enticed to the sinful life of drinking and wild parties and sex.  But ultimately I settled back into a spiritual life, kept the belief and in my senior year I wanted to be a missionary to Russia. (back then Russia was considered Godless because of communism.) I was turned down for a mission trip to Russia with Campus Crusade because I was fat.  Its a silly story, but suffice to say it was a blow that caused me to reconsider.

At that point I looked more closely at organized churches and was sickened by the hypocrisy.  There is an undercurrent of competition to be “holier than thou” in spirit filled churches.  How many people did you bring to Christ?  How many bible studies do you participate in?  How many do  you lead?  What sorts of mission work have you done?  The prayers in church are not for the benefit of god, they are for the benefit of the congregation or the gathered group – to show everyone how pious the person praying out loud is.  I could go on, but it was nauseating for me.

I still believed in God.  I just did not think the church was the best way to have a relationship with him.  I continued to read the bible and pray.  But once away from the church, my mind was free to look more closely at the bible and at what I thought of God. And I found that I really didn’t think the bible was literal.  It really wasn’t possible.  It must be more metaphorical.

Then I met a man who practiced Hinduism.  He explained karma and dharma.  And while reincarnation seemed somewhat odd to me, I couldn’t help but see that at least the concepts of karma were reflective of real world physical laws.  Cause and Effect.  As opposed the eternal life insurance policy sold by Christian churches. I started reading about Buddhism and Taoism.  I was quite enchanted with Taoism, but I never embraced any of them as a practical philosophy or religion.

As time went on, I left behind the bible.  It wasn’t a sudden epiphany.  It was a slow wandering of ideas and thoughts about what we know about God.  It seemed wholly unlikely that God was described by any book created by man.

It seemed more likely that God was reflected in his creation.  And if that was so, it was pretty clear that God was very fond of action leads to consequence.  After all, it was already built into the world we lived in.  So – it was very unlikely that the Christ Insurance Policy was God.

Nor did I think Hell existed.  To what purpose?  I couldn’t find one in anything I saw, so no Hell.  Heaven?  Unlikely for the same reasons.  If anything, reincarnation might be possible, but there certainly wasn’t much reason for that either.

After more thought wandering it became clear that what I believed was of no relevance at all.  Any being who created the universe was a much more complex being than I could possibly fathom on any level.  Such a being would have no interest in whether or not I knew of its existence, much less whether I worshiped it.  No, my belief would be irrelevant.

Since, my belief would be irrelevant, I was able to let go of all the fragile threads that held me to the idea of God.  He either exists or he doesn’t.  There is no evidence that he does.  Since I have already established that its irrelevant whether I believe, I live my life as though God doesn’t exist.

So, now I don’t believe.  In fact I try not to believe anything, which is why I usually identify as a non-believer.  Belief is a thing we have to defend.  Ideas are things we develop and change when new more compelling information is brought forward.  I try to keep myself to ideas.

What of my purpose?  What of my morality?  I think who I am is defined by me.  I think living a life based on critical thinking and on creativity is my path. Knowledge is one of the most worthwhile goals of my life.  Its my thing.  Its not yours.  What you think is how you define you.

My morality is based on my own internal compass.  Its not nearly as strict as religion or government.

  • I don’t think any sexual action that is consensual and non-detrimental to either party is bad.
  • I think hurting anyone, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or financially is bad.
  • I think all people have the right to freedom, happiness and the best health that science can offer.
  • I think people have a right to choose their own death.
  • I think all of the above is oversimplified and should be weighed in the complexity of the individual situation.

Well, I guess I won’t go on, but you will note that while I am sinful as defined by most religions, I am not amoral.  I don’t consider anarchy and murder and hate to be acceptable.  I think compassion and kindness are the most noble things a human can be.

I am not evangelical in my thoughts.  I share them if someone wants to have an open learning discussion, but not if someone wants to try and convert my viewpoint to theirs.  I really don’t care what anyone else thinks or believes.

If you are a religious person, that is fine with me.  I used to be and I remember how much it helped me at that point in my life, how much solace I got from it.

I do, however, have a problem when anyone tries to make their religion into laws, or tries to make it part of public school curriculum, or tries to limit the rights and freedoms of any person.  That I will fight.

 

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13 thoughts on “My 35 Year Trip to Non Believer

  1. I like the points you make here, very rational. I have vibe to a similar conclusion about churches. But I maintain my faith and that spirituality is free for each person to explore without judgement.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really think the same way about any religion even if I have no real world experience with organized religion.

      All religions are just human organizations and subject to human organizational problems. Status mongering, distorting the religion to fit personal goals, greed, power, and encouraging less thought and more agreement.

      If you want an eye opening view of Orthodox Jews the podcast Reply All did a great 2 episodes on it. Its worth listening – The episode is called the “The man who found the internet”.

      But ultimately, no group is defined by the extremes as much as our media tries to do that. I was completely startled by the podcast because it doesn’t relate in any way to all of my jewish friends.

      Judaism isn’t just one uniform group anymore than Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. Everyone slices it up different.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I can identify with all of the points you make. I have a good moral compass that has not been dictated by any of the 4,200 organized religions being practiced around the world today, and it seems you do too. There HAS to be a separation of government from religion. Also, churches in the U.S. enjoy a tax-free existence; if they choose to influence politics, they should be subject to taxes.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Some people are so afraid of death … of death being the final shebang, the body decomposing and nothing left. So many people want to live on and thus, heaven. It’s OK to be dead and be dead permanently — like “the end”. Some people talk about how they will be in heaven with Grandpa Joe, Aunt Sally, even their old horse Betty Lou! It’s OK to be buried or cremated and that was it … one chance, one life … the end … no afterlife companions. I’m also one of those weird people who don’t believe in ghosts, fairies, angels, demons or sprites. Wait … I do believe in Sprite(s), but I believe it’s a soda!

    One of the biggest eye openers for me was the day I realized most churches, regardless of denomination were actually businesses. I’m not sure what I thought they were before … just sweet little places were people hugged and sang the praises of Jesus (or whoever) and had potlucks and the good ol’ minister (or whatever leader) didn’t make much money because he (she) was just a good lovin’ person and did this all out of a calling and a big caring heart to help others.

    Um, but no, it’s really a business, like any other business it has to be profitable to stay afloat and be successful. Selling religion seems strange to me these days.

    It seems like not enough people dig in and explore what else is (or isn’t) out there — like you’ve done! I think people somehow don’t want to spend time exploring the idea that maybe God (or Zeus, or Haru, or Loki, or Pan, et al.) doesn’t really exist … that’a a VERY scary thought for so many people. I think it’s a very scary thought that people DON’T explore!

    I’ve decided it’s OK if there isn’t a god (or goddess or goddesses) … I first stopped believing in Hell and then the idea of there being no Heaven came later. If I die, and I’m cremated and am ash and that’s it, I’m completely accepting of this concept. I’m not going to believe in God “just in case” — not very honest in my opinion.

    Nice post, BTW! Keep ’em coming you blasphemer you! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I used to be very afraid of a lack of me at death. I have now fully wrapped my brain around the idea that I won’t be aware of the lack of me. So. No big for me only for anyone who might miss me.

      I would like to live longer though. Several thousand years seems life sufficient time. I’m very curious about how we (humans) turn out. How we fuck it all up.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I believe that you are beliver. Your have strong longing for creator of this universe.
    You don’t want to go by books, religion or different sets of established rules.

    You want experience godliness at your very personal level.

    Believing in creator is beliving in God. If you monitor nature closely you will find God every where and everything in God.

    Problem with experiencing God is you need you have faith first then you can feel him within you.

    For me God is eternal life force. The energy which keeps me alive or every body on this planet.

    Only life force which is formless. Which cannot be seen. Only can be felt with pure mind.

    You have got beautiful standards for your self. As far as organised religion are concerned there could be 2 possibilities.

    Either they have lost the true essence of religion or we have not understood properly.

    I am find no difference between you and me I strongly believe in God and it’s exsistance and try to feel his exsistance.

    There are few concept if you understood them properly then they are life transforming.

    I have intention to hurt you or preach you but find you like my buddy.

    So just wrote comment. Let me know if I have done anything wrong.

    Like

    1. I think we look at the world through different keyholes. You see God in all nature.

      I see nature and do not see God. I see the complexity of nature and the universe. I see no need to add an unnecessary dimension to the view.

      I do not see any need for faith. I see a need for knowledge and evidence. My life is immeasurably easier because of knowledge and evidence have applicable use. Everything from my cell phone to my car is a result of evidence applied to life.

      There is no need to see what isn’t there. What is there is wondrous and useful.

      I prefer my life as a nonbeliever. The fact that I’m aware of having lost a comfort, doesn’t mean I want the comfort back. I see no value in it.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Did I offend you? It was not my intention, I just wanted to express my view of life. I apologize if I was offensive to you.

    I do not find it wrong that you see God in life. I just don’t.

    I’m looking at life differently. Its the nature of humans that none of us can walk in through life in another person’s head or experiences and so we cannot see life the same way.

    Liked by 1 person

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