Thursday, June 5, 2014

Why I Don't Believe pt. II

It is best to start from part one of this series: Why I Don't Believe pt. I


God and the Meaning of Life


As I stated in the previous post, I do not believe in God for the simple reason that, to do so one needs to, at some point, abandon reason. Since in every other aspect of my life I attempt to act in a way that reflects reason, why would my belief in a deity be any different?

However, the case can be made that the idea of "God" gives man a reason to live. God offers man meaning, and a sense of purpose. God answers life's most challenging questions. One need not ask: "Why am I here?" if he knows God created him for a designated purpose. God gives man the ultimate meaning that can surpass all suffering. God can help man weather any storm since he knows he is being watched and protected. It can help man face the cold reality of death, knowing that soon he will enter a new realm, and that it is not the end. God is a friend to the sick, a shield to the warrior, and a purpose to the philosopher. God is, seemingly, everything.

One can then say, if the idea of God gives man so much, who cares if he really exists? As strange as this claim is, I have heard it many times. Many believers when challenged as to why they believe resort to this answer, which I imagine they think to be profound. It is, however, brutally honest, and there is a lot to respect in honesty.

Many men fear a godless life. I have felt this fear as well. This fear has caused me to hold on to some of the fragments of my faith, even if they are pushed the deep corners of my mind. It is truly comforting to know that maybe, just maybe, there really is a purpose to this relatively tiny planet orbiting a enormous fireball. I imagine, when confronted with great suffering, many staunch atheists, entertain the idea that maybe God really is there, however brief this thought may be.

Since God's existence is quite desirable, perhaps then, I should suspend my reason, if only this once, and indulge in a God-filled existence? Firstly, is this really possible? Can one, at will, begin believing in something simply because it adds something to his life? I posit that one cannot.

As an experiment: Take Santa Claus, for example. Everybody knows there is no such person living in the North Pole who comes to our houses on Christmas eve and delivers presents through our chimney.Though a fun myth to tell kids, this is certainly something of which you do not believe. Now, start believing in it. When I write "believe", I mean that now you know without doubt that Santa exists in all his glory that he does, in fact, visit the homes of the good children and brings them presents. Could you do it? Could you believe at will? I imagine you could not. Belief is not a choice, it is a result of something else. It is not something you do, but something that happens to you.

However, perhaps one can lead himself to the place of belief. For example, if someone attends a church service every week, constantly reads literature on Christianity, and completely immerses in it, there is a good chance that he will become a believer. So perhaps, I should take on this method  and re-establish my belief in God in order to have a ultimately meaningful life?

I can understand why man in times of insurmountable struggling may revert to this method of suspended reason, but is this, even if it is possible to do, a healthy way to confront life?

When a loved one dies perhaps the mourner may begin to believe he hears the deceased whispering to him from his bedroom window, this may help him to cope. We, who are not dwelling in his pain can not judge him, yet on an objective level, would we say that he is in a healthy state of mind? Certainly, we hope that a good friend of his can help him through his misery, and eventually he can rid himself of such delusions.

God, though he certainly offers comfort to the tragedies that befall man, cannot or rather should not, be accepted simply based on this fact.

It is certainly a very difficult task to face life for what we can see it to be, but it seems that all would agree it is the healthiest state of mind.

In addition to this, I do not think that a non-believer can't live a meaningful life. This is certainly not the case. Though, I am aware of the question of Ultimate Meaning: Can there be ultimate meaning in a reality void of God? If so, what is this ultimate meaning? And if not, can there be any real meaning without ultimate meaning. I have yet to answer these questions. It is a challenging question, one my mind is deeply confounded by; but it is not a reason to give up, switch off my mind, and accept God, simply because it is the easiest way to answer these profound inquiries into human life.

As not to come off as arrogant, as always is my fear, I will include here that I know there are many religious people who do not believe simply because it allows them to answer these questions. I know many religious people would not make this their case for God. It is a claim, however, that I hear repeatedly and therefore feel it necessary to write the response to why I do not accept God based on the fact that he gives man a sense of ultimate purpose.

Though God is a comforting friend in times of darkness, I do not see it to be healthy to create delusions that warp my view of reality no matter the result, therefore I do not believe.


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