Why I'm not an Atheist
To believe in God is difficult. You have to find reasons. Not believing in God is more difficult. You have to find better reasons. Little wonder, there are an overwhelmingly large number of people in this world who believe in God, the main reason being that they are not able to find better reasons not to believe. However, it is difficult to either be hundred percent firm in belief or disbelief. It is the doubt that is the issue. Often we get reasons to believe and sometimes we find reasons to deny God’s existence. The thing to understand here is the nature of doubt. Why those doubts arise and why they persist at nagging frequency giving a person reasons to disbelieve? One has to realise that the relation between God and a person is a personal and one-to-one relationship. Naturally, it rests on the firm foundation of faith. In fact, this is true for every relationship, even in human beings.
They are all at the personal level, one to one. But even these one-to-one relationships often get the experiences of those moments when doubts creep in. They could be due to expectations of a quid-pro-quo or due to some desires that are not reasonable. Coming to the relationship between God and human beings, the big problem is the image of God that we have created in our minds. We tend to see him as a provider of everything and only the provider, as we don’t expect God to take away anything. Since in our relationship with God we often go overboard in our expectations, our desires are continuously mounting, sometimes bordering on even the impossible. We forget to take ask ourselves if we really deserve what we desire. It is a typical case of psychological phenomenon of ability-aspiration gap. We must first look inwards and carry out a strength-weakness analysis to decide whether our aspirations are genuine or not. The personal God is a relationship that would vary from individual to individual and we would falter in evaluation if we compare with others. Sometimes, we expect God to be an entity that is only for us and our preoccupation with self makes us believe so. If the relationship with personal God has to be strengthened, it requires hundred percent faith and belief.
As goes the first commandment — “Love the Lord, thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with thy mind”. It is important to understand the significance of faith in the relationship with a personal god. This is the reason why it is said that don’t believe so that you may have faith, have faith so that you may believe. If we try to find out reasons for believing we may perhaps end up being perennial doubters. The one to one relationship with God is not a give and take. It is simple and complete faith — like an infant’s dependence on the mother. God is certainly the provider but He knows when to provide and what to provide. It is like the Japanese Management idea of Kanban, the Just-in-Time principle of management. You will get it when you will need it. We all came empty handed and will return so. To quote the Book of Job — “naked did I come hither; naked shall I return thither. God gave and God hath take away. Blessed be the name of Lord’’
Pathak is a professor of management, writer, and an acclaimed public speaker. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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