DO YOU BELIEVE?
Does not believing in a Supreme Power come easy to people? Is a person born an atheist or does he/she pick up an emotion of non-belief due to circumstances? How reasonable and logical is atheism in today’s world? One would never know unless one was a non-believer himself/herself? Faith is after all a thought, a feeling, a belief be it believing in a Divine Presence or disbelieving in It.
How Justified is Atheism?
Just as people believe in the existence of God, in a Power much higher than the earth, the universe, than the whole of existence itself, there are people who believe that accepting a God who they cannot physically see, touch, hear or feel is to be foolish. An atheist sees life from a different perspective – it is the ‘logic and proof of things’ that govern his/her life. Without logic and without evidence, life or anything else does not exist for him. That’s the way atheists lead their lives too. Every action of theirs is determined by the thought, “I think, I do, so I am” quite unlike the believers who hold on strongly to the thought that as much as they can take the initiative to do something, the consequence of their action is not entirely in their hands. That’s how believers in God survive when things go quite unlike the way they had originally planned.
But, what about the non-believers, the atheists? How do they run their lives without hope, faith and optimism? Surely, a life without even a straw to hold on to could get cynical, frustrating and distressing? An atheist would deny this with his/her reasoning that:
- Believers in God are too rigid or ritualistic in their beliefs to the extent that they become superstitious or fanatic pursuing illogical supernatural beliefs. Atheists are sanely logical, they say.
- How can there be a God when there is so much suffering and inequality in the Universe? If He was really there, wouldn’t He take care of it all? So, it is right to believe that He does not exist.
- Man is the master of his own destiny. There can be no unseen power that can pre-determine his future path. Man controls his fate since there is no God.
While this non-belief in an unseen force that runs the universe could sound terribly logical in today’s world of violence, hurt, agony, racism, greed and prejudice; eliminating God, belief in God or plain faith does not definitely improve matters, does it? Only those who have been truly touched by the grace of God know what it means to believe. And many believers are witness to this grace in their lives although there may have been turbulent times in their lives too when they could have doubted God’s presence – a momentary loss of faith in distress.
Death, fanaticism, ritualism or lack of proof are used as justifications to believe that there is no God but what about the unexplained little mysteries that take place in our lives for which no one, not the believers and not the non-believers have answers to? Still, as in any civilized society both, atheists and believers in God live together in harmony solving the riddles to their lives in their own ways. After all, as Rabindranath Tagore has rightly said:
“I am able to love my God because He has given me the freedom to deny Him.”