Living Without God

Living Without God

Do you dare? What is life without god?

For me, it's normal, everyday existence. I was raised without a god, an idol, or any supernatural entity involved in my life. I, like most everyone, am moral. We'd agree on most things, just as I do with my religious friends.

So what's god got to do with it, anyhow? Here's my take. Gods are our scapegoats. An excuse for why things happen. An option allowing us not to take responsibility nor to recognize that we are not in control of the world around us. God is an easy way out.

Taking The Easy Way Out

Want something? Pray to god to get it. Don't get it? Blame god. Pray again, asking why you didn't get it. Does this really work? No, of course not. In the best case, you are getting clear in your mind what you want and setting solid goals.

Often, all you are doing is giving your personal power to achieve away to your god. In management terms, you are delegating. God, however, is not your employee. Most religions would argue it's the other way around. I don't know about you, but in my experience, delegating to the boss is a tricky business.

My God Is Better Than Your God

And what about all the different religions, each with its own god or gods? Are you bold enough to suggest that your god or gods are better than everyone else's? Have you got metrics to demonstrate this, or is it something you take on faith? Don't you realize that others think their god or gods are best? Who's right? And what are you going to do about it, fight and murder those who disagree? Yes, god loves it when his children kill each other to prove that he is the real god. Right. You have got to be kidding me.

Yet, this is the state of things. We call our religion 'true' and all others 'false'. We use religion as just one more excuse for defining the outsider. Another separation of brother from brother, sister from sister, human from human, and nature from nature.

Holy War

Historically it's clear that some religions are more violent than others. Looking to tribal religions there is a great deal of violence, whether inter-tribal, or intra-tribal in the form of human sacrifice. In the great religions of the world it is the Abrahamic traditions of the west which are most closely associated with violence. Jews killing the Philistines (Palestinians), Christians killing the Muslims and the Jews, Muslims killing anyone who wouldn't convert to Islam, Sunni and Shia Muslims killing each other, Reformation Christians killing Catholics, and Muslims killing Christians, Jews, and other 'infidels'.

All of these things are still happening today. Jews and Palestinians (Muslims, these days) battle daily in Israel, George W. Bush, a devout Christian, described the unprovoked US invasion of Muslim Iraq as a 'crusade,' Sunni and Shia Muslims battle each other inside Iraq (and, not long ago in the Iran/Iraq war), Protestants and Catholics still fight in Northern Ireland, and Muslims fly planes into the World Trade Center in New York to kill and terrorize the 'infidels.' All this death in the name of God and the same God at that.

Often we cite eastern religions for their peaceful nature. We cannot, however, let all of them off the hook. Hindus in India, one of the oldest religions, have continued to be violent towards Muslims, and, of course, vice versa. (Though there is no Hindu on Hindu violence for religious reasons so perhaps this is more driven by Muslim intolerance than Hindu intolerance. It is probably very hard to say at this late date after many hundreds of years of conflict.)

Religion Motivated Conflicts Today
Widespread fundamentalist Islamic anti-globalization / pro-Islam movements are having a global impact.

Afghanistan Pakistan Iraq Chechnya Philippines Indonesia Somalia Yemen Palestine LibyaRussia United States India Spain United Kingdom Germany Denmark Philippines Australia
Efforts on the part of fundamentalist Christians to 'precipitate the Apocalypse and the second coming of Christ' are active in the United States.

Some argument has been made that the conflict in Iraq is religiously motivated. I believe it is more economically motivated. No oil, no war. You don't see the U.S. invading other troubled countries that have no strategic value.

On-going threats to the Jewish state of Israel from various Islamic sources, primarily related to the displacement of Palestinians previously residing on the land Israel occupies.

The Israeli question is an interesting one as it was the Jewish solution to centuries of religious persecution and genocide.

Perhaps no other conflict so clearly shows the harm that religion can cause when it is used to justify war and murder.

Hindu violence, largely directed against Muslims, was rampant and continues to this day. Of course, the reverse is true. The on-going India / Pakistan war over Kashmir is a primary example, however, violent anti-Muslim protests have taken place in recent years. Protests incited by Hindu fundamentalists.
More a philosophy than religion, Buddhism is largely the most peaceful of all the religions. Strict followers, such as in Tibet, often refrain from all killing. Buddhism is so peaceful that it almost didn't make this list but leave it to humans to find a way to make war and make it about religion.

Sri Lanka's long civil war saw Buddhist terrorists in action, a rare event.

Godless Heathens

For more peaceful religions we need to look still further east, to Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. When we think of these religions we don't think violence. Certainly followers of these traditions have been violent, sometimes brutally so, but that violence was political and greed-based. We don't hear of Buddhist - Taoist battles or Confucian warriors. There is no violent conflict between Theravada Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism.

Why is this? I think there is a simple answer. These religions have no gods. These are atheistic religions. Perhaps philosophies are a better description. In each case the author of the ideas is claimed to simply be a man, an historical figure. The Tao was written by Lao-Tzu, Confucius was Justice Minister to the Duke of Lu, Siddhartha Gautama was a prince who was called Buddha (enlightened one) when he attained that state. Many people have become buddhas - you can too.

Each of these wise men is revered by followers as 'a god' but not as 'the god'. In each case, and you can add Hinduism in here, too, all existence is god. Between you and god there is no separation.

No gods, no separation between you and all existence. That is the secret. It's working well for billions of people. It is working well for me.

Atheists, Buddhists, Taoists, and Confucians all manage to be ethical and whole humans. They are Godless but not godless and they don't kill in the name of their religion.

My atheistic non-god doesn't get angry at other religions. My religion isn't 'the one.' It doesn't kill others who disagree. My ideas are my ideas. I share them but, if you disagree, that's okay.

Do You Have Enough Courage?

What it takes to go without god is courage and responsibility. You are your own god. You must have faith in yourself and have faith in the way things are. You must take the responsibility for yourself which you have placed upon god and bring it into yourself.

You must bring the power to change, to achieve, to succeed which you have given to god and wield that power yourself, with wisdom and intelligence.

Bring your power and responsibility back home, bring all of you fully within yourself. It is a brave path. It is the path of wisdom, success, and happiness.

Clinging To God

If the idea of a godless existence doesn't resonate with you then, by all means, continue your belief in god but believe, too, that god, like most bosses, has plenty to do without you bothering him with your needs. God has delegated authority to you for yourself. Let god know that you're a good employee and you've got the project under control. You can just send him a status report, from time to time, if you like.

Learn More In Our Store


What are your thoughts about this article?


tessmac commented on

This article enlighten every minds that every person has a different religion but molded to pass in a new civilization.

Jim Callahan
Jim Callahan

To me, this article is chock full of wisdom. I was raised Catholic in America but now consider myself converted to Buddhism. I also liked seeing the video on how the various religions spread around the world. I showed it to my Buddhist step-kids and it was an eye-opener for them.

Thanks, Ken!

Kenneth Benjamin
Kenneth Benjamin moderator

@Jim Callahan Hi Jim,

I thought that map was really interesting, too.

If people knew more about where there beliefs came from and how they became whatever religion they are it might be a really big eye opener.

Unfortunately, most people never examine their beliefs in the first place, and when they do, they often don't know that their in-born personality type affects them separately from the layers added by later teachings.

Jim Callahan
Jim Callahan

@Kenneth Benjamin@Jim Callahan Hi Ken,

It looks to me like people's beliefs are mostly due to where they live, according to the video anyway. I am interested in the role of personality types, though. Does being a rational sort of guy make me more inclined to Buddhism? What personality type goes with what religion? Or is that your next article?

Jim Callahan
Jim Callahan

@Kenneth Benjamin@Jim Callahan

That's interesting on how each personality type leans a certain way. I have always thought that most people are conditioned by their environment or experiences to finally believe what they do, but I think you got a point there.

It is interesting that Buddha said attachment to views and opinions is one of the major problems people have, and you wonder as well, why do we believe anything at all?

I'm looking forward to those next articles, Ken...I'm tuned in!

Kenneth Benjamin
Kenneth Benjamin moderator

@Jim Callahan It's about power, the leveraging of people's belief systems to control people so that's an extension of politics. It's either that or there are multiple gods waging regional warfare in a bid for global domination.

To answer your question, I don't think that particular personality types go with particular religions but there is a tendency for certain types, the Guardians, in particular, to tend towards tradition so whatever religion their parents had, they are likely to have - and not to question.

More innovative, less conservative types such as Rationals and Artisans are more likely to seek out new alternatives. Rationals are more likely to think about why.

The Idealists tend to be more mystical and are also seeking but more from a healing, make the world good perspective (both inside and out).

I do have some articles planned dealing with personality type and politics so that will touch on religion. Stay tuned for that.

A more interesting question is why we believe anything at all. Why should we have beliefs rather than simply observing what is? If you haven't already, you should read "Why You Believe...Anything" here:

What do you think about all this?

Read more:
A man with a dissatisfied look on his face pauses from shoveling snow. He stopped when it looked just passably good enough.
Being Good Enough Isn't - What You Need To Succeed