Oh my GOD

People often ask me if I am a theist or an atheist. Honestly, I’ve been asking this to myself a lot, quite lately. Though I haven’t picked one side, I tell them, “I believe in God” because it is the easiest thing to say. We all say this. Most people want to hear this answer. You give them the exact same answer. Once they get this, they leave you alone. But have you wondered Do you actually believe in God? Why? Why not? And where it all started?

The first thing I was taught about God was, “Kanna, God is the one who created the universe and all of us. He protects us from evil. Pray to him, and he will give you what you ask for.” That part about God ‘giving me what I asked for’ caught my fullest attention. From then, I envisioned him as the wish-granting God, the first form of God that most of us are introduced to. Value education lessons presented me to another form of him, the punishing God who is present everywhere. He teaches good values. The relationship between the Lord and me was smooth. When I wanted something, I prayed. When something went wrong, I prayed. When I was loyal, I prayed just to make sure I was on his list of people who went to heaven. When I did something wrong, I prayed harder for mercy. The junior school me was used to praying. To be specific, I had developed the habit of praying.

This lasted until I was introduced to atheism. Atheists are rationalists. They had an explanation for almost anything. During the middle school debates, the theists always seemed like the weaker side though they were large in number. After participating and losing in an argument, I would often speak with my family questioning their faith. They would tell me about hope, how spirituality works and why faith is the most important thing. I never understood. After fruitless discussions, I will again ask them this redundant question “Do you have proof?”. They would give a big sigh, and I would think I had won. That was when the quest for God began.

To be honest, there was no quest actually. The better word to be used here is doubt. I had doubts. These doubts never posed themselves as barriers when I shamelessly prayed relentlessly before my exams and results. I was grateful for the moments when my results turned out good but reacted real bad when it turned out to be really bad. The intensity of questioning the existence quadrupled. The moments of gratefulness are short-lived. But if something goes wrong, well, your family and friends will never hear the end of it.

Things do get intense at critical movements. There were movements when I genuinely questioned the faith people have. Losing my loved one, my empathy for people who die of hunger, kids with a terminal illness, and the homeless made me question the existence of God. This is when I almost gave up on God and envisioned the rest of my life as an atheist. After being accustomed to praying, it was hard to let go. Over time, I realized I not only prayed to God, but I accused him if something went seriously wrong; I thanked him so much for all my success irrespective of the hard work involved or maybe not, and most importantly, I shared all my thoughts with him like he was my best friend. Turning into an atheist would mean losing my best friend.

When I was in this dilemma, I read the famous saying by Blaise Pascal, “Every rational person should believe in God. If God does exist, you would have everything to gain and nothing to lose.” This statement remains valid unless you believe in voodoo, do nothing and wait for miracles to happen, or hurt yourself to please the Lord.

Imagine being stuck in a situation where there is nothing one can do; we’ve all been there; we could only “hope” for the best to happen. It seemed like the things that made me question the very existence of God could be answered by an entity (that may be changed by hard work and decision making) called “destiny.” That’s what I believe in HOPE and DESTINY. Between theism and atheism, I chose hope and destiny. But I am still telling people, “I believe in God.” For it is the easiest thing to say.

PS: I am not a spiritual Guru or a preacher. This article is definitely not a piece of advice. I am a young adult. I am chill and pretty fun. Don’t be shocked. I tried to cover faith from my perspective. I hope all the young adults have contemplated the same. I hope this article is a reminiscence of your journey.

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