Living a fulfilled life without God
Coming from someone who sees this life as but a small fraction of their existence, this may seem like a fair question at first glance. I have to admit that this was something I struggled with when I left my faith. I never imagined that this life could be all there was. I had imagined that I would have a reunion with all the people I know that had died. People have hope that they will see their loved ones again. I sincerely do understand the interest in believing in an afterlife.
However, despite the fact that it sounds nice, there’s just no evidence that we survive this life. So as Carl Sagan has said, “For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.” I have to just accept things the way they are. I have to view this as potentially the only life I get which makes this life much richer to me. Since I’ve become an atheist I’ve been more conscientious of my health because I want to live as long as I can. The depression and anxiety that I used to feel and the thoughts that I wanted this life to be over aren’t there anymore. For whatever reason, this life has become so much sweeter to me without the superstition. There’s an element of freedom and liberty involved that keeps me from having to figure out some divine plan. I can just live my life and enjoy it. I used to feel that I knew this life was just some kind of “dressing room for eternity” and often found myself not really caring what happened here since it would all be over soon.
So regarding this life, I actually feel better than I have in a really long time. Regarding the afterlife, I don’t really know what happens when we die, but I’m okay with that. Atheists would have to admit that we just don’t know. As far as we can tell, it’s game over… but we haven’t died yet. Here’s a zen story that I always liked regarding this subject:
The Emperor asked Master Gudo, “What happens to a man of enlightenment after death?”
“How should I know?” replied Gudo.
“Because you are a master,” answered the Emperor.
“Yes sir,” said Gudo, “but not a dead one.”
Like I said, I sincerely understand the desire to want to believe in an afterlife, but I just can’t find solace in believing something without evidence. I aim to live the most fulfilling life I can live and worry about death when it happens. To me, that’s not a hopeless existence.
NOTE: This post is part of a series of posts that were introduced in this blog. The idea is to offer short summaries of responses to some of the more typical questions that come up when someone finds out that I’m a non-believer. These are not intended for scholarly debate, but rather to offer responses in an attempt to help people understand those of us who choose a “godless” life.