• Weighing the pros and cons of being a Theist versus being an Atheist

    by Carolyn Wyler

    “You know if you just prayed, God would help you solve your problems,” my religious and well-meaning friend told me the other day. “Hmmmmkay, but I would think that you would generally have to believe in God’s existence for that to work. Just a guess,” I replied, to which she responded, “So why don’t you just start believing in God then?”

    To be honest there are some days I really wish it was that easy. I get why people believe in a God, I really do. The benefits and promises offered really are quite appealing:

    1. An afterlife full of happiness, contentment, peace, love and union with your family and loved ones forever.
    2. Someone to pray to and ask for help with school tests, money problems, relationships, sickness, death, and winning the lottery.
    3. Knowing that when everyone else around you thinks you’re an incompetent, arrogant, obnoxious, dumbass, there is one person (God) who will always love you and think you are AWESOME.
    4. Loving your neighbor as you would yourself.
    5. Always having a “friend” you can talk to and to discuss your problems with and help you make important decisions.
    6. Knowing that no matter what life deals you, God is there to help pull you through it. You are not alone. He believes in you.
    7. Finding peace, love and comfort in God and in life.

    It’s not like I’m a stranger to God and prayer. If I were to make a rough guesstimate I would say that by the age of 25 I had probably said approximately 27,375 prayers. That’s figuring at least three prayers a day, everyday, and that’s not even counting Sundays, during which you would have to tack on another four to five for every church attendance.

    Out of those thousands of prayers I think I can remember one or two of them that may have been answered. When I asked God to get the cute blue-eyed guy in my high school English class to notice me, it may have had less to do with God’s intervention and more to do with me tripping when I entered the class late and the loud clatter as my books scattered about the floor.

    Everyone, including the blue-eyed boy, turned and stared. (God does work in mysterious ways).

    I’m not sure how my friend thought I would be able to get through to God’s personal extension as he probably wouldn’t recognize my caller I.D. That, and why would a doubter/unbeliever take this issue up with God in the first place? (“Uhm, dear God, I’m really not buying this whole idea that you actually exist and I’m going to take this opportunity to announce to friends and family that I don’t believe in you. What do you think of that?”)

    But it’s probably time I make a commitment, as this agnostic fence in the middle ground of God and atheism is starting to tilt.

    Unfortunately, due to my questioning and somewhat distrusting nature, believing in a God I can not see, who is all powerful, is everywhere, who answers prayers and promises an eternity of happiness, unconditional love and warm furry puppies, sounds amazing, but quite frankly is difficult for me to swallow. So, time to get down off that fence.

    Now before I go and offend all my theist friends let me just say this: I’m not saying that believing in God is wrong, nor am I here to attack your beliefs. I’m just saying it doesn’t work for me. I’ve spent several years reading, analyzing, discarding, reviewing, dumping, therapy-izing (is that a word?) and finally concluding that God doesn’t fit in my life. And this means:

    1. I have ostracized myself from a lot of people and I am now on a many peoples’ prayer lists.
    2. I don’t have the security and comfort of knowing what will happen after this life. The fear of death and dying and the loss of loved ones through death can be quite intense.
    3. I invoke a lot of unwanted sympathy.
    4. I don’t have all the answers.
    5. I decide what is right and wrong.
    6. I am my own Goddess.
    7. I decide what guilt trips I take.
    8. I have a sense of peace and happiness from choices and decisions I make in my life.
    9. I know that I can rise above challenges because of who I am. I believe in me.
    10. I find the good in people for who they are.
    11. If I’m wrong I will be going to hell, but I can live with that.

    “Two roads diverged into the woods and I, I took the one less traveled by. And {for me} that has made all the difference.”

    For those friends and family that are concerned and worried about me, let me say this. I love you. Thank you for your concern. I am happy with my life and I am at peace.

    • I agree as I am just like you without all the research. I stopped believing around 15 and never looked back. It is find for others and sometimes I even wish I had faith, but I don’t. So be it.

      • Judy N

      • July 22, 2012 at 10:59 am
      • Reply

      I found a lot of comfort in Sartre and in the idea that you choose the meaning of your life. That seems, very wisely, to be what you are doing.

      • Karen Wyler Lacy

      • September 12, 2012 at 5:19 am
      • Reply

      Free choice, such a marvelous thing. We are not forced to believe anything. I will always stay a believer, you can of course choose not to believe, and you will still be my favorite sister! (ok maybe even if you weren’t my only sister.)

      You’re a great writer. Love, Karen

        • Andrew

        • April 21, 2015 at 8:10 am
        • Reply

        Atheism is great. This article helped me write my school paper

      • Carolyn Wyler

      • April 21, 2015 at 4:58 pm
      • Reply

      I would love to see your paper Andrew!

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