How do I overcome adversity without god?

Barclay asks: God has helped me get through some terrible times in my life. I’ve lost both of my parents when I was young, beat cancer into remission, and I win over alcoholism daily. I couldn’t have done any of these things on my own or without the help of my lord and savior. Why would you want to try and take this source of strength away from me or anyone else?

Jake answers: Welcome Barclay. You’ve touched on a very dear topic to me, one that I have written about before on another website. So instead of writing a new post, I’m going to repost my article here and hope that it adequately answers your question.

You are stronger then you think.

One of the things I hate the most about religion, and theism in general, is this idea that without a god to help us along, we would fail. You see this attitude with people going through addiction rehab. They claim that if not for their god, they wouldn’t have been able to get off of whatever substance that they were abusing. They ignore the doctors, the medicine, the support system, their own inner will, and give the glory to their god.

Imagine for a moment that you have a child who has just made an achievement in their life. It doesn’t matter what it’s for, graduating, winning a race, top of their class, whichever. Now imagine that your kid, when asked how he or she achieved this goal, ignored all of the hard work and effort that they just put in, and claimed that Spiderman helped them ? That if it wasn’t for Spiderman, they wouldn’t have been able to do it. It would be a gigantic ” WTF? ” moment wouldn’t it ? You and most people out there would think your kid was either crazy or at the least delusional. Yet replace “Spiderman” with “God” and practicaly no one blinks an eye.

Now, the obvious thing here is to point out that just like Spiderman, god isn’t real. That’s not what I want to get at though. What I want to write about today is the underlying message about how a person thinks of themselves. A persons sense of value. In the case above, the person who gives all of the credit to their god is essentially saying that they don’t believe in themselves. This is what bugs me. People not believing in themselves.

Here is the truth, of your existence as well as my own. The truth is that so far through out your life, you have found ways over, under, around, through, between, out of, every single problem that you have ever had, and that there is no reason to believe that you wont continue to do this in the future, Did you get that ? Read it again. Read it a third, a fourth, and a fifth time. Read it until you memorize it. This is your true strength. Not a god. It’s you. You are stronger than you give yourself credit for. You have more will power than you allow yourself to believe. You can over come any and all adversity. The great thing is, you don’t have to do it alone. There are people out there who have trained for years to help you. If you are strong on your own, imagine how much stronger you would be with people who have trained to help you understand just how strong you can be ? These people are scientists, doctors, nurses, therapists, psychiatrists, social workers, etc. These people are standing by right now to help you. Don’t allow anyone to tell you that you can’t over come your problems. Don’t allow anyone to tell you that you are weak, and that without a god your are helpless. That’s a lie. Theism cheats people of their true strength. It robs them of their own sense of will.

You aren’t weak. You aren’t a sinner. You aren’t unworthy. You are stronger than they want you to believe. Let go of that crutch and walk on your own. Use the tools available to you and learn to believe in yourself. Imagine how much better the world would be if all of the time and energy put in to praying for help, was instead used to help ourselves ? You can do it. You are stronger than you think.

I hope that answers your question.

4 thoughts on “How do I overcome adversity without god?”

  1. Exactly as Jake says … you are stronger than you think.

    Its almost like learning how to ride a bike. First you try it with the small support wheels when you are a kid and just learning. Then you let go of that safety when you get good enough. After a point of time the safety actually impedes your progress.

    I feel pretty much the same of the god safety crutch as I think of the extra small support wheels on a kid’s bike.
    You need to let it go to progress and to be able to take life head on / deal with the (sometimes severe) ups and downs.

    Suppose a temporarily handicapped person (say with a broken leg bone) has a crutch and climbs a mountain with a lot of difficulty …with a lot of help from the crutch of-course. Does it mean that the crutch is anything more than a crutch? Should the crutch be worshipped? Depended on for everything? Should this person not realize that he/ she is just temporarily depending on the crutch? Wouldn’t climbing the mountain without the crutch when he/she is not handicapped any more be much interesting?

    1. Yes! You can overcome this and be very pleased with yourself. I finally dumped religion in my fifties and never felt better! Good luck!

  2. I appreciate this perspective that you offer. I have a question…
    If you are solely responsible for the strength that you possess in your life are you then also responsible for the breath you breath in your sleep while not conscious?
    Did you create yourself? Where does your personal will and strength end and your giving up to “something greater than I” begin? (Not necessarily a Christian God but just something at all that is responsible for your existence and upholding of life in your body moment to moment)

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