Michael - Kew Gardens, New York
Entered on November 29, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
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Why I am no longer an atheist…

The problem with words is that they are abstractions. They stand in for the objects or ideas they represent. We use them to communicate. Someone asks you to “please hand me that red cup”, you understand what they want because you both know what “red” and “cup” represent.

When words describe subjective experience, they fall shorter and shorter of the mark. If I tell you I have a stomach ache, you can relate because you’ve had stomach aches also, but you don’t know the character and intensity of the pain.

Now, there is a very real Phenomenon in the Universe that can only be understood or known by direct experience. And there are no words that accurately or completely describe It. Further, the moment you start to articulate the experience of It to yourself or to someone else, you are, by definition, no longer experiencing It.

There are infinite paths to an experience of It; music, sex, art, or anything done with love and devotion. Throughout time, there have been people who are particularly good at accessing the Phenomenon and articulating the experience to others, and religions have grown up around the words of these “prophets”. The words they used helped others experience the Phenomenon, which they experienced as “Truth”, but people mistook the words leading them to the “Truth” as the Truth Itself. Then, they started killing each other over their different versions of “Truth”.

The word “God” is a stand-in for this Phenomenon, but even if we are able to access this Phenomenon, our perspective will be slightly different than everyone else’s. Yes, the Phenomenon is like a loving parent. Yes, It is majestic in Its manifestation as Nature. Yes, it is “the Alpha and the Omega” .And most of us never or rarely and dimly experience It. So we are using this word with almost no possibility of accurately communicating with each other.

I think the word “God” should be abolished from the language. I grew up as a staunch atheist because I thought that the God people believed in was a white male in the sky with a beard letting one team or country prevail over another. How many years of wonder and awe I missed because I wasn’t looking at the Phenomenon!