A Plea for Spiritual Harmony
I'm not on Facebook very often, but when I am, I’m surprised to see the numerous postings about God. These posts actually warm my heart because they are a testament to the faith that prevails. What don’t warm my heart are the responses to these postings that denounce the existence of a higher being. I have to ask: If you don’t believe in a greater power, what is the purpose to life?
Three Wise Men?
In my life, I've known only three atheists. One didn’t believe in God simply because his scientific mind wouldn’t allow him to accept religion. He dismissed all notions of creation being anything other than biology. To this end, he believed that death is just that - an end to life, an end to the soul, an end to everything. A person’s time on Earth is all he or she gets.
His beliefs frightened me. I remember thinking that if it’s really that simple, if we don’t have to account for our actions to anyone other than each other, then what’s stopping each of us from going stark, raving mad? From where does the impulse to do good and help others spring? And if doing good doesn’t count for anything anyway, why bother?
After this, I met a man who couldn’t accept God’s presence because it was literally more than his brain could handle. This is a person who frequently cries out at the injustices of the world and can lose night after night of sleep wondering why the world is such an unbearable place. He said that admitting even the possibility of God would have pushed him over the edge. Rather than giving in and believing, he prefers to think the universe is a mystery, and that he will face whatever comes after death once that time is here.
The third person, posed an argument that’s haunted me for many years. He informed me there is a distinct difference between knowing and believing in a higher being. “I know God exists,” he said, “but I don’t believe. God’s presence is with me every day. But I will never believe, because there’s no Godly explanation for why children are murdered, women are raped, and old men are left starving and homeless.”
I thought about this for a long time, trying to understand what he meant by believing versus knowing. I’m still not sure I fully understand, but I think he’s saying that, in his mind, he knows God exists. This existence has made itself known to him in some way, and he’s accepted it as true. But he doesn’t feel this knowledge in his heart, the place from which true belief springs.
Pointing the Finger
After knowing and talking with these three men, I am still surprised by the crude comments people openly make about God. Going back to Facebook, my friend posted a photo that insinuated God sees his people struggling and is going to “fix” two crucial areas in which each of us needs help. While most of the responses were pretty upbeat, several naysayers were quick to ridicule believers. “Why would you credit what you accomplish to a false being?” wrote one person.
Although I don’t understand the non-belief system of atheists, I also do not condemn them for their thoughts. But it’s wrong to criticize those who do believe. My belief is sometimes all that sustains me. It helps me face the day, even when that day is as ugly as can be. It also gives me hope for tomorrow and comfort to think I will someday be reunited with loved ones I have lost. I’m not asking others to accept my beliefs as their own; I’m just asking people to stop condemning the thoughts of others.