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The Third of Five Epiphanies
Epiphany #3 will not apply to everyone, because it's mine. Some people find strength in their faith, whichever faith they have chosen. That is wonderful, and I find it incredibly awe-inspiring at times. A person's faith is a beautiful thing, and should never be ridiculed or treated with disrespect, whatever that faith allows or causes them to believe. I have my own faith. You have yours. I think we're allowed to still be friends.
I draw my strength from my atheism. Now this is not to turn into a religious debate: if you hate this bit of me, disregard it, apply your own beliefs, go and make a cup of tea, do whatever it was your were doing before you clicked the link that brought you here. Or stay if you'd like to.
What atheism has always given me is a strong sense of my own mortality, of the fact that this is it, life, this is all there is, all I get, a brief flash of time on Earth before I'm gone, dead, for a very long time. And that, to me, is beautiful. It can be painful, but it's beautiful, wonderful. I'm so lucky that history and chance have worked in such a way that I was able to be born at all. We are all here because of the past, of course, and if any events had worked out differently many of us would not have been born (goes without saying really - maybe events already did play out differently, and other people didn't get born! Oh dear, I've entered the headache realms of science fiction already, apologies). So brilliant. We're all here by happy chance. To me that says: make it a good life, because you're lucky to have it. So I do. It might not be anything remarkable, my life, but it's a good life, it's a happy life, it's a full one. I get things wrong, I'm not perfect (well, I almost am!), but no one is and that's just fine. We all do our best, I'm sure.
And what atheism gives me is responsibility. I am my own boss, and I have myself to answer to. I suppose you might call it a conscience, the thing that keeps me in check, that comes from somewhere inside my own self. I can't lie to myself, because I know that I'm lying, and I feel awful about it. That's not God making me feel bad, it's just me.
My atheism helps me find beauty absolutely everywhere. To some, the Earth, and everything on it, are beautiful because God made them. To me, the Earth, and everything on it is beautiful because it made itself, by happy accident. Cells! Cells are incredible, they have jobs to do and they do them. I can see how it's a leap of faith really to believe that living things work on a cellular level simply because that's the way they have evolved, all by themselves, with no help from the Super Being. I can see that it would make sense for everything to have been designed and programmed by God - it just doesn't make sense to me, and to me, it's not nearly as exciting or beautiful as life just finding the way. Now that's awe-inspiring.
Now, this epiphany about the lack of God is not so much an epiphany, really, as a conclusion that I came to over a period of time, and which I remember all the time because I've given it so much thought.