Dilemma in India

“Belief exists at different levels in different people, and the sooner you plumb your own to find the depth of it, the sooner you can deal with it directly.”

Question from Ron:
Hi,

Just stumbled upon your site, I am from India, and here questioning the existing of god is like painting a red sign on your back here.

I have been an atheist for as long as I can remember (i.e never went to a place of worship), and my immediate family never imposed on me.

However when I was young I always used to thank or curse a faceless entity in my mind for good fortune or misfortune.
Then when I discovered the atheistic ideology and openly told everyone, I started feeling a sense of estrangement from my family. It has been so ever since (since 7 years).

Lately I have been going through many rough pathches and good times, and I sometimes find myself speaking to the above mentioned faceless entity. But then I right myself calling it stupid.

However how do I get rid of this internal conflict?

Answer:
Depends on where it’s coming from, and it’s hard to tell that from over here.

If you really did believe in some such entity as a youth, perhaps you still do on some level. There are religious folks who think all atheists are believers in denial, and of course this is nonsense, but nevertheless there are those whose belief persists despite their sincere intellectual acceptance of the unlikelihood of gods. Maybe you’re one of these unfortunate individuals. If so, it likely surfaces in times of stress or great emotion. So face it head-on: has your entity ever answered? What’s it done for you? Is it even an entity worth talking to? And be patient – expect such a subconscious belief, however light, to fade slowly.

If on the other hand you don’t think you ever really believed, and you started praying after a fashion as an imitation of your religious peers (or out of loneliness or estrangement, like some kids invent an imaginary friend) then it’s basically a habit. It probably does you no harm if you know you’re talking to no one, but if the fact that you do makes you uncomfortable then treat it as any other habit that needs breaking; address the root causes (the occasions which cause you to do it), or just find another thing to do.

Human beings are conflicted creatures at the best of times, so don’t feel alone. Belief exists at different levels in different people, and the sooner you plumb your own to find the depth of it, the sooner you can deal with it directly.

SmartLX

2 thoughts on “Dilemma in India”

  1. LX

    Is there any credibility to the notion that the reason people “praise” or “Curse” some faceless entity is because God has implanted His knowledge inside of us?

    LX ole buddy, I do struggle with a few things that you and other atheists bring up. And one of them is why doesn’t God reveal Himself more?

    Not so much to me mind you, but I pray that God will reveal Himself more to those that need it. When I feel God’s presence it just seems normal. When other people feel it they want to chalk it up to evolution or a societal thing? People should use all their resources to figure things like this out. I’ve talked to many Christians who sound a lot like Ron from India. They struggle and wonder and are seeking God. I say it’s natural and has been placed in us. After all we were created in God’s image and have the ability to communicate with Him.

    Just a few thoughts before dinner. Also I didn’t know about Mak’s wife. It’s been a while since I’ve been over to his crib. But your words to him were thoughtful. You da man. feeno

  2. Well, Feeno, without knowing the course of every single neuron and electrical impulse in a brain it’s impossible to be certain that God hasn’t put knowledge in it, so nobody can touch someone who really wants to believe that. To give it credibility, however, you need to go about firstly demonstrating that knowledge, and secondly ruling out other sources for it.

    On a related note, I’m not surprised that the people you know who sound like Ron are nominally Christians. That means they’ve been brought up with the concept of a being who can manipulate our minds and hearts at will. Whenever they can’t work out the source of a thought or feeling, God is there as a possible explanation. If they fully give themselves over to Christianity, they have a ready explanation for all the unexpected feelings they get, and ways to feel like they’re helping themselves if they don’t like those feelings: prayers and worship. I see the appeal, the satisfaction and the placebo effect inherent in it, whether or not the underlying concept has any basis in reality.

    I honestly didn’t think much about what to say to Makarios. I stopped commenting on his blog when he downright proudly admitted begging questions and using other sophistry to win his arguments and convert people. Regardless, my wife’s just had a successful operation, and merely a shadow of the fear he must be feeling was hard for me at the time. I had to say something.

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