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.
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.)
|Afghanistan Pakistan Iraq Chechnya Philippines Indonesia Somalia Yemen Palestine Libya||Russia United States India Spain United Kingdom Germany Denmark Philippines Australia|
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.
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.
Sri Lanka's long civil war saw Buddhist terrorists in action, a rare event.
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.
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.