Living a fulfilled life without God
As a godless individual, I still have wonder. I’m still in awe of our existence and the mystery of consciousness. I still wonder if there’s more to all of this than meets the eye. However, none of this leads me to accept religious beliefs created by men or an idea that there is a supreme being behind all of this. I sometimes wonder if I’m different from a lot of atheists in this respect. I think there is a certain portion of atheists that feel pretty certain that there is absolutely nothing more than what one can see. While I agree that we shouldn’t cling to beliefs about things without proof, I don’t necessarily assume that just because I can’t see something that nothing else exists. As an example, I recently heard a statistic that only 4% of our universe is made up of matter… the subject of much of our scientific knowledge. The rest of the universe is made up of dark matter, dark energy, etc. of which we know very little. There’s just so much we still don’t know about our universe. I think this sense of wonder contributed to the formation of many of our religious beliefs, but it doesn’t do that for me. Rather than trying to explain it in terms of religious belief, I just let it be what it is… wonder… awe… mystery. I’m perfectly content without making it more than what it is.
I’m finding that this isn’t something many atheists talk about since it seems to speak about things we don’t know. I think what often goes unsaid in atheism is what we don’t know. Our focus is usually around showing everyone why we think their religion is false and all that we do know. It may be an easier message for people if we’re quicker to admit that there are still many things unknown and much mystery around our existence… we just don’t think the religions do a very good job at explaining this.
Am I alone in these thoughts or can any of you reading this relate? I still find myself enjoying things like meditation, mindfulness, and other things some people would call spiritual (even though I don’t call it that). There’s a part of me that is still somewhat of a mystic. I still enjoy some practices and teachings of eastern religions. The difference between me and a religious person is that I don’t make claims of things I don’t know. As an example if during meditation I’m overwhelmed by a sense of peace, I just say, “I was overwhelmed by a sense of peace” rather than “God gave me a sense of peace.” Does that make sense? I just say what it is without adding to it. I don’t imagine that many atheists find themselves here, but part of who I am and who I have always been includes this deep-thinking, somewhat mystical aspect of myself that really hasn’t gone away. I don’t see where this really conflicts with atheism. I still don’t hold a belief in a God… I just still often find myself with a large sense of wonder. Can anyone else relate to this?
After writing this, I found this link where Sam Harris discusses what he refers to as “rational mysticism”. Here’s the link: http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?page=harris_25_6§ion=library