a conversation: why do you believe in god?

by - 3/05/2017 04:27:00 am

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  Do you believe in God?
"I believe in a higher power – it's more like a presence. I don't believe in the religious concept of God. I kind of think of God as the universe, in a sense, do you know what I mean?"
"No."
"Yes."

Why do(n't) you believe in God?
"It sounds right. To think we're all part of something bigger. Humans want to believe that there's a reason we exist. That we were created for a purpose. I am here for a reason – for this reason. What – did I choose to believe? In a way, I did choose. I grew up in a Christian family but the older I got ... none of it sat right with me, the way the Church taught things. I became more distrustful of religion. And I learned we can't characterise God."

"When I was little I believed in God. But now it doesn't make sense for me. There's no proof. What else? What do you mean? That's just it. There's no evidence."

"I grew up in a very religious family. As I got older I saw what it did for those who did believe. It gave people answers to problems that they struggled with. I thought if I believed in God - there's no harm it in if I'm wrong. But a lot of the Bible isn't straightforward. Taking it from face value is stupid – it wouldn't make sense. And I think it is a choice. Think about faith – it's through faith that you choose, despite any other reason that might seem to prove you wrong."

___

I asked people I know in real life whether they believed in God. These are some of their replies.

It's unsettling when someone asks you about your religion. Well, unsettling at best, insulting at worst. It's uncomfortable because it's personal, because we believe and yet never really have the chance to explore why.

If you were one of the people I asked, would you have answered differently? We owe our beliefs to specific circumstances or choices but none of these can adequately explain why we are believers or disbelievers. A baby to a highly religious family can grow to question everything. Yes, they were probably exposed to atheism and agnosticism at some point. But what explains how fast they convert, or the chances of them returning to their religious roots? I don't think the answer is isolated events.

Image result for coffee tumblr  Image result for coffee

I don't believe in God. A long time ago, I mentioned that I didn't believe because of my church. But that's not quite right anymore.

There's only one thing that I think really answers my lack thereof. I don't believe because I learned to doubt very much and trust very little. How much of this was encoded into my DNA and how much I learned growing up is beyond me – but I do know all of it counts.

I am a natural doubter. Somewhere along the line I learned to habitual doubt the information I'm given, to doubt intent. On the other hand, my friend might've learned something very different. Faith can pay off. Faith brings great rewards. My friend knows how to adapt without knowing all the facts. She learned to listen to the voice inside her head that asked what if?.

Personal foundations matter – matter more than a religious family or a particularly horrible church. I think if I was a blank slate, the amount of Christian exposure I've experienced would've converted me to heaven and beyond. But we aren't blank slates. We're tainted with life lessons and the burden of our mistakes and our natures. And the result is always more complicated than it seems.

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8 comments

  1. This is a really cool and insightful post. :)

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    1. Thanks Nabila! Apologies if it was a bit long. :')

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  2. This is a good post, written very well. I do believe in God, but don't you just sometimes feel like...I don't deserve this. Why do I have to go through this? How come a lot of people have a way happier life than I do?

    ~ Rukiya

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    1. Thank you so much. I understand that. We can't help but feel that we drew the short straw in life. It makes it difficult to believe in a God when a God could save you from such things. But I think faith in God, if an important aspect of your life, can bring a lot of hope. <3

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  3. Oooh, I read through this but I have a question: have you read Einstein's essays on Science and Religion? We're reading them in class right now, and I thought they may spark your interest. Basically, Einstein says that there are three different levels of religion: fear, morals, and cosmic, and the third one (if I understand this right) is the one that atheists, saints, and scientists use because they don't just accept the doctrines in front of them, but they actually are constantly seeking answers. I think it might interest you a bit. :D

    xoxo Morning

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    1. I'm impressed, how did you get through this massive chunk of text? :') I can already predict people will move on before they finish. I better cut some stuff out...

      Thank you thank you Abby for sharing that!! I'm obsessed with ethics of science and religion. Actually, this reminds me. Have you heard of that quote by Einstein, "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."? I think he was referring to this cosmic religion that you mentioned! Very, very fascinating. <3

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    2. Agh! We got excerpts of it in class, that's why it wasn't as daunting to read. I did find the link where the teachers to go the essay from, which is here. Just read until you reach the Roman Numeral Two heading.

      I don't think I've heard of that quote before, but I'm not sure what it means because the context is foreign to me. Wait, I actually just looked at the link some more-- it's in the the Roman Numeral Two section. I'll need to read through that, although the second half of it makes more sense, saying that if the dogmas of religion are followed but there's no science to hold someone down, they cannot see the truth in the rational tangent of the world. Now I'm really interested to keep reading.

      It's Morning, by the way-- I'm undergoing a name change although I didn't really apply it to my profile until today.

      xoxo Morning

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  4. Do I believe in some sort of energy? Yes. Do I have a particular name to call it anything? No.
    Like you said, it gives people answers to deal with their problems. I think a lot of us need association towards something. We need something to look at that has a name, or face that can help us in times of struggle or to give some sort of support. It's just easier for people to turn towards something that already has those two for an answer than to think about it themselves and look within. I come from a Hindu family and if you know about it, we have a number of Gods in our religion. For me, it's not about the face or name of the God though, it's more of the characteristic that they are supposed to bring out. For example, 'Hanuman'is known for strength or bravery. When I pray though, it's not about the idol worship, it's that I'm praying to the very characteristic. Now, that energy some people would call Hanuman, while for me that energy is strength and bravery.
    I hope you get what I'm trying to say. That's just my opinion though. But then again, it's upto them on how their beliefs are. No sort of disrespect to anyone though.
    This is a great post, very insightful! It's nice to see people talking about something that a lot are not open about.

    -Kathie K
    Half A World Away

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