The ‘God’ post

I don’t believe in any God. It’s maybe for the best, I don’t think we would get on very well.

I did believe when I was young. I was brought up a Christian and religion was a significant aspect of family life. I went to church every week and I can still remember the weekend I decided to ‘give myself to God’. I was maybe 11 or 12 years old and I had no reason to doubt what I had been told at home, at school and at church by adults I trusted.

As I reached my teenage years I was less influenced by my family, more influenced by my peers, went to church less frequently and my education encouraged more free thinking.

Whatever the reason, I grew so distant from God that I could no longer see him.

I found science and facts more persuasive than blind faith. Put something on a bit of paper with an equation or formula and I will study it. If the facts are correct then I will believe it. There it is, right in front of me. Something that religion could not offer.

Although I don’t have any faith in God, I do believe that the bible teaches us many valuable lessons. I believe in the principles and the fundamental ethics. The bible is a great guide to follow however I don’t need to believe in a God to learn from it. I don’t need a God to understand right from wrong. I don’t need a God to appreciate the gift of life. I just don’t need a God to be a good person.

That is good enough for me but I can understand why so many turn to religion.
A God who will ALWAYS love you, even when you feel nobody else does. The promise of eternal life in heaven regardless of your actions. Show genuine remorse, ask for God’s forgiveness and you’re back in the queue to enter heaven. WHAT A GREAT IDEA!
Of course whenever there is a carrot there is a stick. Ignore God and live a life without faith and you will be condemned to hell. Spend eternity in suffering. A good threat to keep you in line.

Okay, I am simplifying somewhat but I do get the appeal of Christianity and why it attracts so many. Unconditional love and spending eternity in heaven with your loved ones. That’s some payoff, it sounds perfect. I just wish I could believe it was the truth.

I’m not suggesting that following God is an easy undertaking. I know many, including family members, who struggle against temptation and can find themselves questioning their faith. It may be appealing but it is not without its challenges.

Throughout my time being in and out of hospital I have met many Christians who still have faith in God. I respect their conviction, to still love their God after being dealt such punishing blows. It is beyond me. These good people struggle through unimaginable difficulty while the filth of humanity can enjoy charmed lives. If God does exist then he does not believe in justice and rectitude.

To be completely honest, the biggest barrier separating me from God is that I would not be able to forgive. If I was to be convinced, without doubt, that God does exist I could not find any love. Not for a God that I see as cruel and unjust.

I am a good person. I have my flaws but don’t we all? Surely God would understand that. Surely I should be allowed to live with some semblance of normality, without so much pain and suffering.

I cannot accept that my circumstances came to pass under the watch of a loving God. Worse case scenario would be that God planned my accident. Best case scenario would be that He watched on and allowed it to happen. Either way, I don’t want a relationship with that God.

I know the argument. ‘God gave us free choice’. I understand that. If I decided to commit murder then God gave me that choice. I would pay the price in this life and the next.

I only jumped into a swimming pool.

My neck is broken, I’m paralysed from the head down, I am on a ventilator, my family’s lives have been turned upside down and I suffer in pain every day.

Yes, I probably am bitter but why would a fair and loving God allow that to happen? I didn’t choose to break my neck, I chose to jump in a swimming pool. It seems that God has punished me for some unknown reason. Whatever my sin, the consequences are clearly out of proportion. Or maybe there is no God and life is just a game of chance.

The question ‘why do bad things happen to good people?’ will never be answered. I have certainly never came across a convincing explanation. A few have tried but fell wide of the mark. Quoting scripture is not quoting fact. Having faith is not having facts. Without factual evidence I just can’t believe. It seems we have reached a dead end.

I think an answer to that that would be the first step of a journey to move closer to God. Maybe someday.

I apologise if any offence has been caused. I am not belittling anybody’s personal faith. Far from it, I envy the conviction. My lack of faith is not a criticism aimed at those who do have faith.

@Stevenceltic81

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38 Comments

  1. Good post, Steven; very honest etc. Christians (like me) can learn a lot from people like you.

    • It was our initial conversation that got me thinking about this post so thank you for the inspiration and not being judgemental. I appreciate it.

      • Who am I to judge you? Even as a 30+ year Christian, I still have many doubts and questions. Regardless of what we believe, we’re all on a journey to resolve our doubts and find answers to our questions.
        Have a good weekend, my friend.

      • Thank you, the same to yourself.

      • “…Regardless of what we believe, we’re all on a journey to resolve our doubts and find answers to our questions….” This is an amazing answer. We are on a journey to either ask questions,answer questions, experience, and enjoy the game called LIFE.

      • I agree, it was a great response.

        I am certainly asking more questions than I am answering for now. I suppose we never find out the answer if we don’t ask the question in the first place.

        So are you saying that you think life is a game of chance or do you think that it is ‘controlled’ by a higher power?

      • So are you saying that you think life is a game of chance or do you think that it is ‘controlled’ by a higher power?

        Wow; that’s a good question – maybe the ultimate question!
        Personally I don’t believe it’s either or; maybe some of both. I believe that God gives us freewill and that accounts for a lot of what we attribute to chance. Obviously it’s not blind chance if a long-time smoker gets cancer or a grossly obese person has a heart attack. Your situation and my situation looks like blind chance; I am sure others dove in the spot you were injured without any problems. As far as research has shown, nothing I was doing caused me to get ALS. So no one can blame us for being in our difficult situations. But something inside me tells me it’s all part of a bigger plan – an eternal plan. As the Apostle Paul said; “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”
        I’ll be honest, Steven, I would be a “miserable” person if I didn’t have eternal hope and believe that God had a bigger plan.

      • This is where my questioning leads to and then I always find that brick wall hiding the answers.

        So ‘freewill accounts for a lot of what we attributed chance’. In general, I am in agreement with that opinion….. Then I bring comparisons into the equation and I question why two people making the same choice find themselves in completely different situations.

        Using your smoking example, if someone chooses to smoke 60 cigarettes a day then it would be no surprise, and they could have no complaint, if they ended up with cancer. Let’s say that person’s friend also chooses to smoke 60 cigarettes a day but lives in health cancer free.
        There is something more complex than freewill at work.

        I find this highlights the ‘big question’. What/who decides the fate of those two friends? Chance or God?

        It is more of a rhetorical question, I don’t expect anybody to answer that for me. Still, it gets me thinking!

        I’m glad you have the comfort of that hope and belief in a bigger plan. Truthfully, I am jealous.

      • I find this highlights the ‘big question’. What/who decides the fate of those two friends? Chance or God?

        In the case of health problems caused by behavior (smoking, obesity etc) genetics probably play a big role too. For example, my dad smoked most of his adult life and died of cancer when he was 62. My mother-in-law smoked most of her adult life and she’s still relatively healthy at the age of 80 (she did quit smoking a few years ago).
        There are so many variables though.
        Do doctors give you any chance of recovering movement?

      • No. It was a complete break at the very top of my neck so no movement or sensation will return.

        In a strange way I am glad. I don’t think I would like to constantly wonder if anything was going to change, only to be disappointed when I wake up every morning. I know that’s how I would be. I think it easier to move on and accept my situation knowing that it won’t change.

      • Do you type using voice-to-text software?
        I am completely paralyzed and unable to speak so I type using an eye-tracking system. It’s slow and frustrating, but beats not being able to type at all:-)

      • I use Dragon Voice Recognition software and I am very thankful for it. I did try the eye-tracking system so I understand your frustration, it can be very tiresome. As you say though, it is better than nothing.

        Is your speech badly impaired or do you have no speech whatsoever?

      • i am saying that Life is a journey. There is no right or wrong, there is no good or bad- things just are.

        There is only one truth that we know exists – we are born and we are going to die. What happens in between is – living your life and experiencing everything that comes.

        Once you stop comparing everything to a scale of good vs bad,you see that most of the people are living a lie – they use beliefs and convictions that were taught to them by their parents, who were taught by their parents and so on.

        There is no such a thing as purpose of life as that is already answered – LIVING.
        Of all the people, my friend, I think you might be able understand that better than anybody else. Once you stop blaming everything and everybody, once you stop asking why, you see life for what it is and understand that we don’t actually have a control over anything.

        The question to answer is not WHY, the question to answer is what you do with what you got and how to get the maximum enjoyment, so at the end you can say – that was a hell of a ride.

      • I agree, many people are living a lie. It may be subconscious as they have just never questioned those beliefs and convictions passed on to them.

        There does come a point in life when, as you say, we must stop blaming others and get on with what we can control.
        The only ‘WHY?’ I still find intriguing is why do some people get an easier ride than others?

        Again, it’s a question that cannot be answered but that doesn’t stop me asking! 🙂

      • “…I still find intriguing is why do some people get an easier ride than others?..”

        I think it is an illusion. What is easier or harder? if you are referring to physical disability as harder or starving as worse and comparing to somebody with money as easier, than I think it is an illusion.

        You can be rich and you can have all the power in the world but you might have cancer or a mental disease.

        You might be well off but go home to no one – no family, no friends and everybody who is around you are not there because they love you. They are there because they love money.

        Being homeless or mentally challenged is not worse than living in LA and owning a property. It is still a journey.

        If you judge pain as being bad, then you can compare. But if you take pain as part of your journey, then it is there as it is supposed to be

        No, some people do not have easier than others. They have it different. Of course, one can say that only somebody who can move, work, has not been raped , has a job and a house can say that. But having all that doesn’t make my life easier. It is as painful and emotionally hard as everyone elses. It is just different. It is not easier or better…just different.

      • Taking myself of the equation to avoid personal circumstances clouding my judgement, I still disagree.

        I think the comfort and pleasure of some people’s lives CAN be an illusion. The examples that you provided COULD be valid but it’s not reasonable to ignore circumstances, like you are, and try to suggest that every journey is equal in terms of quality of life.

        Yes, some people with great jobs and plenty of money may not be as happy as we would imagine. They could be fighting inner demons behind closed doors.

        However, some people do have an easier ride than others. That was my point, and unless you are suggesting that everyone in the world faces the same level of adversity then the point stands.

        To say that ‘Some people do not have it easier than others, they have it different’ is saying that Beyonce (first name that popped in my head) does not have it easier than a young child starving to death in an African shanty town. That seems wildly unrealistic to me.

        No doubt Beyonce has her problems, more than most could imagine but there is no comparison to be made.

        I do agree with your view that one life being easier or harder than another can be an illusion. Sometimes. That does not hold any argument over the fact that some people have an easier ride than others. They do.

        If you remove personal circumstances it seems clear, to me anyway.

        Good debate

  2. Shambolic

    This might sound a bit trite (shite) but your blogs are helping others in difficult situations. I know not as hard as yours but your fortitude and downright stubborn bastardness is mibbee helping some poor other guy who couldn’t have coped with the same injury.
    I’m not saying that is all part of “his master plan”. But you have inspired a fat no use lump like me to get my shit together.
    You are truly an inspiration to me and others and if that is the big mans work, or in fact yours then either way I’m totally impressed.
    Ps look up Jim Taylor, Glasgow warriors rugby. Guy me and Stephen Woods know who broke his spine playing rugby.
    Great guy having a massive influence on raising support for spinal injuries.

    • Thank you, very much indeed!

      If someone somewhere is benefiting from this then at least I can see a silver lining. Not sure who gets the credit for that 🙂

      I’ve had a read on a few websites about Jim and just looked him up on twitter so I will be getting in touch with him. Thanks for that and thank you again for the great comments.

  3. Thank you Steven, for your openness and honesty. I once heard, not too long ago, something that made total sense. And of course I am going to botch the paraphrasing… a man who does not believe in “God” but lives a life of devotion to his fellow man, performing acts of charity and kindness for his fellow man, and lives an altruistic life…is (and here I forget the important word so I will keep it simple) truly good. When there are those who do the right thing as a pay off to their future in eternity….. Someone who is good and honest and giving believing their only life is this one on earth, is truly a good person. Because they are not doing it for ulterior motives.

    Okay, I did botch that but I hope you get the idea. And I take no offense from someone who expresses their beliefs and does so without criticizing others. A sign of great character Steven.

    • I don’t care if it was botched, it was perfect for me.

      I would like to believe that applies. I have always asked “is it possible to be acceptable in the eyes of God without believing in him?” I have always been told “no, they must come together”. My reply has always been along the same lines as you have quoted, but not as well worded.

      If God does exist then maybe he is a bit flexible, I suppose I better hope so!

      Brilliant comment, thank you so much

      • Of course I can’t speak for God (though many try to) but I do have my own quirky beliefs. And they include believing God is much greater than “we” know. I never try to convince others of my beliefs because I can’t always explain them, they’re just….there. I always appreciate other’s openness about their beliefs. Especially when they express them so well.

        We may not believe in God together but I think we both believe in goodness, character and love. 🙂

      • Absolutely and I’d rather have the three latter beliefs than try pretending to believe in the first. Maybe someday I will tick all four boxes.

        I firmly believe that it’s what we do not what we believe that defines us.

        I hope you have a great weekend Colleen

      • You too Steven. I appreciate these conversations. 🙂

  4. I was raised Catholic and at 15 slowly distanced myself from practising my faith. However I remember telling a former boyfriend who was of Jewish faith that the expression “the christian thing to do” has nothing to do with faith…it is a botched up way of referring to the “Golden Rule” and that is for all faiths…and I believe in that…I try my darnest to just be a good person; volunteer because I enjoy it…not to get brownie points; went back to school to get the paper society insists on to be a youth counsellor…but I do it because I love it…hey, it pays less than when I worked in sales but boy do I feel good at the end of my work day. I am far from perfect…I have my faults like anyone…I really appreciate your post…it is genuine and very respectful as well. Thank you. cl

    • That’s a very valid point. When someone chooses to help others simply because they believe in doing good it is truly admirable. Those who choose to help others simply because the Bible tells them to can often be less ‘Christian like’.

      Thank you for commenting and for understanding exactly where I was going with the post.

      Steven

  5. I believe in God, but I’m not offended by this post, so no worries there. Thanks for being honest. Your candor is such a gift.

    • Thank you. I think it’s important for Christians and non-Christians to keep an open mind. As I said, I envy your conviction but I can’t accept theories without proof. I lack that ability to have faith in the absence of clear answers but I’m glad you can.

      Thanks for commenting

  6. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    I agree that question will never be answered. God knows…

  7. Steven, I admire your honest questions and doubts. You did not offend me with either. I think those of us who do believe have a long list of questions, despite our faith.

    The ultimate question you ask “why do bad things happen to good people” is a fair one.
    I also ask “why do good things happen to bad people?”

    Alas, I have more questions than answers, too. Still, for some reason I cannot explain, I know – in the deepest, most precious part of my heart – Jesus walks with me through every trial and every triumph. It’s a peaceful assurance I wish for you as well.

    As always, your courage and vulnerability are magnetic.

    • Thank you Denise.

      I am glad that your faith provides you with so much support. I wouldn’t mind some more of that myself but I can’t practice what I simply don’t believe. As I always say, things may change at some point but for now I will need to make do with more ‘tangible’ sources of support.

      Good to hear from you as always

  8. They say that if you have lots of problems in this life you must have been bad in the last one, I must have been a mass murderer. Knee pain nearly all my life, multiple surgery, above knee amputation and with a half knee replacement already the surgery won’t stop there. I’m an atheist although if I were to follow anything it would be Buddhism, Zen Buddhism or Daoism. Not so much religions but a good way of living, no one God as there have been more. This is because its said Buddha has been more than one person who had become truly enlightened. I struggle with the karma side of this though as that means there is a before and after life and I’m not sure I believe there is. I can understand how so many people do follow a religion though as I think it helps people have a purpose and a reason for the life we have. It could also be looked upon as another means of controlling people and unfortunately is the cause of more conflicts than anything else, yet they preach peace and kindness. If people find that it helps them in life or is something they believe then I have no issues with anyone from any religion.

    Are our lives pre-planned? Do we have choices? Does our actions here determine how our next life will be? Do we get punished? Are things done to test us? These are all just unanswerable questions but the only thing we do know is we will never know. Science is more credible to me and can answer more questions than religion can. The way I see it is we can only do the best with what we have and we have to improvise adapt and overcome to move on. If something good can come from the disability or abilities I have then that’s great in my book. I try to treat others as I wish to be treated and as long as I live the best way I feel I can then it will be a good life. We don’t even know how long our lives will last so we just have to make the most of what we have. I actually believe that life is more a reflection of the structure of a book. There’s a beginning, middle and an end and we meet new characters as we go through different chapters of our lives. Maybe that’s where the saying ‘there’s a book in all of us’ comes from.

    Steven your key, as was mine, was acceptance, which opened the door for you to improvise, adapt and overcome, just as those around you did the same. There were dark times in the beginning but you got through them, which was a phenomenal challenge that you worked through. You have achieved so much and probably been through the biggest test of you life, you have got through that you can get through anything. You are now using the abilities you have to help others and making the most of what you have. You could even see yourself as a mini God, you tell your life story to others in writing (could compare that too preaching and the bible), you have followers from around the world and you help people. Whatever we believe all we can really do is make the most of the life we have while we have it.

    • It seems we share very similar opinions here.

      When I was in hospital I spent a long time reading about Buddhism. A fascinating moral compass (rather than religion as you say) on how to treat others with respect. We don’t need to be Buddhist to appreciate many of the teachings.

      Like you, I don’t necessarily believe in an afterlife. However I do struggle to completely disregard the concept. Too many unanswered questions to be certain but I am content in my belief that I am a good person, that’s good enough for me.

      I love your analogy of life being like a book (and the one about me being like a mini God haha), I will probably steal that in the future!

      Thanks for taking the time to post this comment, I appreciate you sharing your opinion in so much detail.

      Steven

  9. I too do not believe in a god but I do believe in my Dad. Therefore I must believe in afterlife of sorts even though if you were to ask me I would say I don’t. I did a post http://mythoughtsonapage.com/2013/05/03/miracle-or-coincidence/ which to this day still makes me wonder. However in my heart I believe coincidence. If I had had your experience and had so much time to think…… I would be even more confused. I am really enjoying your writing.

    • I completely agree with your views, I feel I could have written that myself.

      There are some things I cannot explain, I don’t dispute that. But as you say, no amount of wishing can make me believe it is the work of God. Religion is a lovely idea, I just don’t believe it’s true.

      Thank you for sharing that post with me, brilliant writing.

  10. Great post Steven, I think you have been able to vocalise all I feel about God too but never been able to verbalise it correctly. It takes a lot of guts to write about religion too. Thanks very much.

    • My parents are very religious so I am used to having open and civilised debates about God, I enjoy it. Very firm in my views but will never close the door on them being changed, you just never know. Thank you, again

  11. I would also like to add that I too admire others with Christian beliefs and enjoy a good discussion too.

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