A recent New Yorker article suggests that 20% of the people have become unbelievers, while there was a time when only 2% of the people seriously considered the idea of a God-free universe. We have had considerable progress in the last two hundred and fifty years when it comes to atheism.
A common question that all atheists face is “why they don’t believe in God.” On our part, we find it really hard to chew the fact that there are people who do not believe in a higher power. There are people who do not believe that somebody keeps a watch over us and protects us from bad and evil. It’s completely justified to feel that way but that does not give us the right to outcast the people who do not have faith in God. A simple Google search would provide you innumerous posts of people being arrested for blasphemy. But shouldn’t we take a step back and try to understand why our brothers and sisters believe what they choose to believe?
It’s time we understand why people travel down the road of atheism. There are as many reasons for being an atheist as there are atheists. The road to atheism is paved by personal and individual views and influenced by specific circumstances of a person’s life, experience and attitude. This means that a particular reason for being an atheist may be the top-notch reason for one but mean nothing to another. Let’s just see through the reasons that most atheists would agree to.
The most common reason is the existence of numerous religions and different Gods for different religions. Nobody is born an atheist or a theist. A child may be brought up in a religious household and made to believe that the religious traditions he follows represent the One True Faith in the One True God. But as he grows, he has friends from other religions who believe their God is the One True God. This makes the concept of religion naïve to the child and as time passes he becomes critical of all the religions and eventually evades his believe on the existence of God.
A possible reason for atheism may originate from bad experiences related to God. A friend of mine believed blindly that a divine power always looked out for us and no harm dare bypass us in its presence. She thought that we are all protected from evil. But one day, her brother met with an accident and was fighting to keep his breath intact. She prayed to God continuously for two whole days but God did not heed her prayers. Finally, her brother lost his life and she, her faith.
Some of us blindly believe the faith our elders incorporate in us. But when we grow up, we face the hypocritical, oppressive and evil side of the religion. This makes us feel that our religion is unworthy of following. This has been the case with me. I am neither a complete atheist nor I have lost faith in God. I just started questioning the tribute, offering and oblation rituals followed in the name of religion. Thousands of buffaloes, goats and birds are slaughtered as sacrifice to appease deities and Gods so that we could lounge in the sea of good luck and prosperity. Do you think that God, who created us and all the wonderful creatures on this planet, would like to have them slaughtered and offered their heads on a plate to him?
Many atheists catch the bus to disbelief via science. Over the centuries, science has overcome religion when it comes to explanations on the aspects of the world which was earlier an exclusive domain of religious institutions. Religion has tried to suppress science with excessive force but somehow science survived the blow. Some people choose the path of atheism as there is no scientific proof for the existence of God. Moreover, people have succeeded in explaining almost all the so-called-miracles on the basis of science. This has made some people to entirely reject the existence of a supreme power, named God.
There is a dispute regarding whether atheism qualifies as blasphemy in a conventional sense or not. Blasphemy, as a sin, is speaking sacrilegiously about God and the Holy Spirit. Most atheists do not speak profanely about God. They just choose to “actively deny” or “ignore” God’s presence. So have they committed the crime of blasphemy?
In my opinion, being an atheist is not big a crime as it is portrayed to be. God cannot force people to follow him and lionize his existence just like a father cannot force his son to follow in his footsteps. The truth is disbelief is by default – no one is born with a belief imbibed in him. Beliefs are acquired through culture, tradition, experience and learning. Hence the atheists should not be bludgeoned with acquisitions and questions to justify their stand. Instead it should be the theists like us who should come and forward and justify why believe in God is reasonable. We should explain to them why believing in an omnipotent presence makes us stronger and helps us to fight the grief in our lives. Your atheist brothers and sisters are not wrong and neither are you right. Instead of confronting each other, you should understand each other’s perspective and live with love and compassion and no evil would dare to cast its spell on you.