Monday, December 31, 2012

All-Knowing, All-Powerful, and Ever-Loving God

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One thing I truly struggle with, as an atheist, as a person, as a friend to believers, is that huge gap between what REALLY IS and what believers have to do in order to continue making sense of reality through the eyes of their belief. They must redefine words and phrases again and again. They must find a way to hold "free will" and "God's will" together in one hand and figure out how those concepts can adequately explain things. Somehow they must "explain" the "sins" of the believers of past centuries without devaluing the institution of religion. 

Believers must repeat, like mantra, again and again "God is love."...or else reality would seep in and remind them that bad things happen to believers and non-believers alike. So do good things. There is NO correlation between "loving god" and violent acts against innocent children.

It's not just that I am still feeling raw and grieving after the massacre of twenty-something tiny school children and adults. It's not just that I am "so sensitive" to the pain of others.

It's ongoing.  It is an awareness that I have the freedom and the delight to embrace the clarity that comes from being an atheist.

There is no god who is going to deliver us from this earth. There is nothing to save us from the loss of our own lives. There is no one between what is "evil" and where we are. There is no one and nothing protecting us from the reality of our own smallness in this amazing and vast universe. And there is no one coming to save us from our humanity.

When a person is willing to go to any lengths to maintain their belief system in the face of a total dearth of evidence, proof, or clear action of any supernatural being, that person has chosen to stay from truth, light, life, love, and the absolute necessity of humans to do for themselves. I wish I could help my friends to see this. But I understand their disinclination to even consider letting go of the binds of the belief.

I remember that feeling that holds them. That feeling, as a child hungers for their parent, that feeling of believing that there was a father-like god who was watching out for me, knowing my every thought, loving and caring for me, holding me in the palm of his hand. I know the gush of warm feelings inside from this belief. I know the communal feeling of a mass. I know the certainty of those eternal beliefs. And I understand the strong desire for it all to be true. The circuitous mind games and labyrinthine maze games one has to play to keep believing.

Far better, in our aloneness, as Carl Sagan would say, to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.

Instead, I wish all people would see that We are who we have. We have only ourselves to go to for connection, for support, for love. It is the connection between each of us and our beloveds that makes this world tolerable, joyful, even transcendent.

Clarity.  I am grateful every day for the clarity of atheism.



  1. It IS very frustrating Karen. It's a daily struggle to understand and remember that I use to believe as well & not to get mean or snotty about how I feel that the wool is over their eyes. It's too easy to make fun & instead to focus of me and moving forward.

    I also wanted to note that I like your correlation between atheism and human connectedness. For me, being an atheist mean that I put that much more emphasis on our community, making changes in our lives/government/city etc ... I don't spend my evenings praying that these things will unfold. I spend them planning, creating, revising, and revisiting my thoughts. Instead of faith I use action.

    It honestly helps me feel more compassion & humanity than any mass every gave me.

  2. Hi Karen~

    Thank you for this post. Much of it perfectly sums up what I have come to believe over the years. I was raised as a Catholic; but I was also one of those kids who was a constant thorn in the Catechism teachers' sides because I was always questioning everything they told us--about dogma, about sins, about pretty much all aspects of the religion. (I was frequently threatened with "I'll have to call your mother and tell her about your behavior!" To which, I usually replied "Really? Go ahead. And please tell her I said 'Hi'")

    My biggest problems with this supposedly "all-Knowing, all-Powerful, and ever-loving God" are these:
    1) If 'God' is all love and forgiveness, then why would there be a 'hell'?

    (and my most substantial reason for not believing the hype...)

    2) If 'God" is all knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving, why is there war and disease and suffering? If I were all those things that "God" supposedly is, I wouldn't allow those things to happen.

    Which brings us to the phrases "God's will" and "God's plan"--
    I don't use this word often, but I *hate* those phrases. They are a sham, a pat-answer to questions that have no answer, no reason. What all-loving, blah, blah, blah "God" would "will" someone to die? ...would "plan" for someone to be sick with a life-threatening condition? ...would "will" for anyone to suffer violence or poverty? Only a sadistic being would plan or will those conditions on others.

    Nowadays, my beliefs revolve around Love, Family, and Nature. I believe that Love is the most powerful force in the universe. I believe that Family is a gift and is meant to be a tangible manifestation of Love in our lives. I believe that Nature encompasses the trees and sky, waters and earth, you and me, our other animal friends, the universe, etc. I believe that everything and all of us are connected and we can best affect our surroundings by fostering love, acceptance, forgiveness, and equality.

    It's not lost on me that "religion" isn't real big on those things, if you look beneath the veneer and past all the propaganda. Oh, if my Catechism teachers could see me now!

    1. If your catechism teachers could see you now they would be in shock!

      I, on the other hand, feel a kindred spirit!
      Always nice to "see" you here, Mama Bean.

      But this brings me to a question that I have been wondering...a thing that has been bugging me lately. The belief, the assumption that things are "meant to be", like when people say "It till happen when it is MEANT to happen" as though there is a plan out there... I know I am particular about word usage, it's the thinker in me. LOL But that type of expression, in particular, seems to propagate a belief in a supernatural being with a plan.

      Well, all I can do is continue to love, accept, and hope.

      OH, and be honest and outright about my atheism. *grin*


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