The Comfort of Atheism

2/4/98

I've lately found that atheism is a comforting belief.

Which is kinda the opposite of what I've always supposed. But it's true. For me atheism is easy. It doesn't really require faith, only the observations that everyone shares and the shared consensus of most folks says that reality doesn't have room for dieties that physically do a darned thing in the world. There is no concrete proof that we're here for anything, which makes it easy to not believe in any responsibilities or burdens placed upon humanities shoulders to carry out the will of any particular higher being.

It's a simple faith. Comforting in many ways, to think or believe that at the end of my life I'll be done and that no one and no thing felt that I had to do anything more than I actually did, nor expected anything more from me than I managed to do. No laws to live up to, no dictates to command, and nothing that I'd have to do after I was worn out and ready to die.

It seems kinda crazy that folks would go to religions for comfort when all they do is demand action, demand standards, demand money, and demand work. Most of the major religions of today say that to belong you have to sacrifice something of yourself for the religion to survive, or for the rest of humanity. I have to admit that I agree with a character in a book who found that atheism was very comforting to him and that he'd always found dieists hard to please and much harder on themselves and on others.

So why do I do it?

I am rather ambivilant about the Church as an institution, but I actually am not at all ambivilant about Christianity in theory, as it was first told to others by Jesus the Carpenter. Or, for that matter, the Tao Te Ching is another thing that is mine, that I take and use and believe and measure myself against. I like it, I have it as my own, and even as I doubt, I also believe, and the doubts are part and parcel to the belief. I like having the higher standards, I really need and want to have the rules and laws and ways I think I should be. I need to know my inner voice to know when I'm doing what's right rather than what's wrong according to my principles, to what I know, and what I would have happen around me.

No, those last are not unique to Christianity or even to deists, as the Tao Te Ching itself is fairly clear about; but those traditions have those kinds of things studied, written down and which can be debated from a starting place. They have been worked on, can be worked on in many ways to yield something that please my soul and give me a kind of guidance on how well I'm doing for my own sake.

A lot of work, yes, but a better starting place for that kind of fulfilment than nothing...


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