Hannah brings up a question that I hear asked by those who have been deconverted from their life of religion…
Message: OK, so I suspect you’re right and I hate it. I’ve never exactly believed in god although I have felt a sense of something greater, some sort of karma, and that I have a soul. Now I am told science disproves anything that isn’t material and I can’t bear it. The only things keeping me going through life are that my self-develoment and learning to cope with difficulties means something – which apparently it doesn’t – and that I would meet a certain person after this life one day. Which si also apparently not true. So now all the joy and interest in anything in life has gone for me. Apparently I am here to breed – well, I don’t want children. So what point do I have? I’m not big or important, and I won’t be remembered, all I had was myself and trying to accept certain lessons which would make me stronger for – whatever reincarnation follows – and apparently that doesn’t matter. What am I meant to do? There’s no point to me making all this effort and expending this energy learning things only for myself because it doesn’t matter. I might as well sleep and drink all day. Either option is completely equal in value.
How and why do you even bother to wake up every day? Sincere question. Although perhaps you are just stronger and better people. Should I assume I simply don’t matter as I am weak, and either way it makes no difference as intelligence and individuality is just a cruel quirk of accident rather than each individual meaning something and having some base essence which is, in fact, them, and is worthwhile and eternal and worth developing as it will retain?
I cannot tell you how much I loathe my atheist (ex) friends who have given me these things. They have destroyed my sense of self and my sense of worth and I can’t understand why they bother with life.
This is an excellent question Hannah and thank you for writing. You see, I was at one time exactly where you are now. I had left my faith and felt that I had nothing to cling on to in this world. What was the point if there is no after life? Why do good if there’s no reward? How could I justify personal development if my life was so finite? I struggled with these problems for a while, and when I thought all was lost, the answer came to me. I was reading one of my favorite poets, Walt Whitman and I came upon a poem of his that I had read before, but right at that moment, it struck a chord in me that has carried with me ever since. Here it is…..
O Me! O Life!
BY WALT WHITMANOh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?Answer.That you are here—that life exists and identity,That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.