I am a god believing atheist. Sounds confusing? Of course it would sound confusing. But it should rather not sound confusing just because I have used an oxymoron but primarily because of the ambiguity involved in what it actually means to believe in God. It is something really hard to define.
People are often unreasonable and self-centered, forgive them anyways!
If you are honest, people may cheat you, be honest anyways!
If you find happiness, people may be jealous, be happy anyways!
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow, do good anyways!
The people you care for may not appreciate your affection, love them anyways!
Give the world the best in you and it may not be enough, give your best anyways!
Because, in the end it’s between you and god, it was never between you and them anyways!
Through this post I would like to comment on what it is for me to “believe in god” and why I would still come under the conventional definition of atheist going by the general norms. What would the philosophical theory of existentialism consider my way and meaning of believing in god is also I would want to throw some light on.
In the most appropriate manner, I would call myself a deist. It is in a way the rational middle path of theism and atheism.
“Deism is a natural religion. Deists believe in the existence of God, on purely rational grounds, without any reliance on revealed religion or religious authority or holy text. Because of this, Deism is quite different from religions like Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The latter are based on revelations from God to prophet(s) who then taught it to humans. We like to call natural religions by the title “bottom-up” faiths and revealed religions as “top-down.”
I don’t believe in a god in some specific form or as a being. I don’t really follow the conventional definition of religion as well. Religion for me is the way of life, to each its own. A unique and different version for all. Everyone is free to create or discover their own meaning of religion, if at all they want. And I don’t believe in the god related to any religion but believe in the higher power. Call it anything. Calling it god just makes things convenient and easier (not for me, but for others). I don’t mind associating it with either the scientific theory or just a supreme natural power called god. Both are just unverifiable claims based on faith. I just believe in an undefined and mysterious higher power.
So now the important underlying question would be why is it even important for me to believe in a higher power?
Albert Camus says believing in god creates a meaningful world. It justifies the general order of the world. A godless world would be meaningless mess and there would be general disorder.
But what I would like to question is that won’t that only happen if actually everyone believes in god. However authentic the claim might be, the justification comes with a condition that everyone in general believes or disbelieves in god. This is something no one can ever be sure of. Theories that are based on the thought process of a group of people are hard to authenticate.
However I personally see it more from an individualistic approach. I believe in a higher power so that only I myself (irrespective of others) can feel that there is a higher power which created the complicated and complex world we live in. Something is there to take care of the goods and bads, something that gives justice and is appreciative of the good. It works as an incentive and a source of unconditioned strength. Virtues like trust, faith and patience make more sense when there is a belief for a higher power. Also, it acts as a check on me from somewhere. Which I can neither ignore nor fool nor lie to. It is a driving force. Gives me a sense of belonging. It doesn’t tell me what’s right or wrong, or how things should be, but gives me the power to search for true meaning of my own. That’s my god. And because I am going by the individualistic approach, in no way I expect others to follow the same set of beliefs. I am very much accepting to the opinions and beliefs of others.
The existentialism philosophy in general doesn’t really approve of a godly figure. But there is a strong reason behind it. It is that the conventional godly figure comes with the definition of how things are supposed to be. It’s preachy. There is a set meaning of the world god inculcates on us; and that is something which the existentialist wouldn’t approve of. An existentialist would want us to find our own meaning. But as my definition of a higher power doesn’t come with a set general order and it just is a strengthening mechanism to eventually encourage me to find my own meaning, it would fit with the existentialist claims.