i don’t believe in god

yes, i don’t believe in god.

“believing in god” makes no sense to me. i don’t know what it means. and it isn’t because english isn’t my mother tongue. i grew up speaking german, and the equivalent sentence – “ich glaube an gott” – seems equally incomprehensible to me.

perhaps i will understand one day. in the meantime, i’ll say this:

i believe – so much that i’m tempted to say i know with absolutely certainty: that there exists goodness in this world, that goodness is desired by all humans, and that all humans have an immense capacity to create goodness.

what i make of this knowledge, how i wrestle with it, live it, think about its implications, that’s up to me.

one thing i have found out, after contemplating the question for a long time, that it is easier for me to live this goodness and celebrate it if i give it a name. like many others, i often use the shorthand “god” for it, and i deeply treasure the thoughts, experiences and fellowship of others who use this shorthand. but i see no reason why such naming should be necessary.

these thoughts were inspired by an article about mother teresa’s doubts regarding her faith, pointed out by one of my favourite atheists, jan.

is it “believing in god” that created so much heartache for mother teresa? would it have been easier for her had she just believed that goodness can grow in this world?

isabella mori
counselling in vancouver 

13 thoughts on “i don’t believe in god

  1. Jan Karlsbjerg

    So you’re (reluctantly) using “god” as a shorthand for the existence of goodness… doesn’t that exactly confuse the underlying issue of belief, faith, mysticism, etc. usually associated with “god”?

    The way I understand “goodness” and its existence in human society it deals with acts of man, it’s a matter of philosophy, psychology, human behavior, etc..

    As an example of this type of “goodness”, see for example the movie “Pay it Forward”, where the idea of helping others is put into a simple, concrete system, so that “goodness” spreads where otherwise it wouldn’t have (because the simple, concrete system effectively replaces an even simpler, but non-concrete Christianity-inspired philosophy of always doing good!).

    You can take the idea of “goodness” very far and still remain in the rational realm: You can believe that there is such a thing as “goodness”, that the concept and its expressions have quality and rightness, you can believe that it works, etc. But it remains an idea, a concept – similar to altruism, capitalism, nudism, socialism, etc… until you take that final step into thin air and assign mystical qualities to it — making it an aware, intangible entity that responds to prayers, applies itself where it’s most needed, etc. etc.

    When you attach the word “god” to any form of “goodness”, you’ve effectively taken this last step, don’t you think?

    By the way, while by the definition of the term I am an atheist, I don’t much like the designation.

    Using the very term lends too much importance to religion: Where’s the word for “person who doesn’t believe in the magical power of wands and spells”, or the word for “person who does not think women should walk on their hands every Wednesday”, etc.? I am not defined by my not thinking that women should walk on their hands every Wednesday, as I’m not defined by my not believing in gods.

  2. isabella mori

    thanks, jan and nancy. the specific link to the provoost article is this

    http://www.pbs.org/moyers/faithandreason/portraits_provoost.html

    regarding what i say in this post – of course it’s preposterous to try and capture one’s spiritual life in such a short article.

    i’ll just comment on this, then, and these comments will, again, be insufficient:

    is the god i’m talking about an aware entity? i really don’t know. “god” may really “just” be a concept – viz all the people who say that “god is love”.

    so on the one hand i can’t say that i have taken that last step that you talk about, jan.

    on the other hand, as i said above, i have discovered that my constitution is such that it is easier for me if at some level i personify that concept.

    quite simply, the little girl in me wants a god to pray to. so i give it to her, always being aware that it is *i* who is doing the personifying.

    maybe similar to saying “the sun goes up” when we all know full well that that’s not the physical reality?

  3. clairem

    i believed in god for 20 odd years then i “dropped” out of belief for another 10 odd years. complete rejection, “what’s all that crap” sort of thing… and in the last 5 years i’ve grown to experience – not believe, experience – goodness within myself, a kind of personal god.
    now i believe in god but s/he’s not to be found in churches, temples, mosques. s/he’s multi-faceted, changes gender, and s/e tends to rip my heart open so hard that it hurts and makes me drop on my knees in awe and gratitude…

    thanks for your sharing,
    clairem

  4. Pingback: change therapy

  5. Abood thoma

    It is intresting what you are talking about here ,and quite beautiful to think about god , but I think niether of you have mentinitoned the definition of god (of course any thing and any one has a definition ) simply god is the one who can do whatever he wants in any time he wants to (otherwise won’t be a real god ) and the one who can help you when you really need him (otherwise we I would pray to a useless someone) it is not about a religion or somethin you stick and kill yourself with, it is about living the life the way it should be lived with, the way that makes you confidant about what you are doing is the right thing no matter what .

    And it is not the word that matters (we are saying thousends of words every single day)
    Does the word god differs from the word go ?
    yes ,there is the D in the end of god that’s all .
    so it is way more bigger than a word or a concept , if I don’t see him infront of me , how I possibly believe in him ?
    other question would be , If I see him every now and then would that make him a real god who deserves my respect , my love and even more,my belief in his superiorty ?
    the answer for all of that is quite simple,
    that is , I got to choose every single detali to do with my life(if I choose to write something, here I am writing for you) and if I don’t know an answer I’ll seek for it because i’m given a brain to think and a hand to do . And to do what makes you feel comfortable , but do you really know what makes you feel happy ? that’s what the most wise one(god) is for .to explain for us things that we don’t know . simply in the holy books that we have , and we get on with our lifes .
    P.S .this holy book must not have any other auther other than the one who sent it .

    thanx .

  6. isabella mori

    thanks for your comments, abooma.

    in order for me to reply, i want to make sure that i understand what you’re saying. i’m paraphrasing here what you said – let me know if it’s correct ok?

    “god is the one who can do whatever he wants any time he wants to.

    god is the one who can help you when you really need him.

    god is about living the life the way it should be lived, the way that makes you confident you are doing the right thing no matter what.

    god is way bigger than a word or a concept. if i don’t see him in front of me, how can i possibly believe in him?

    another question is, if i only see him every now and then would that make him a real god who deserves my respect, my love and even more, my belief in his superiority?

    the answer for all of that is quite simple,

    we got to look at every single detail of our lives and if we don’t know an answer we should seek it because we are given a brain to think with and hands to do things with, and the chance to do what makes us feel comfortable.

    but do you really know what makes you feel comfortable? that’s what the most wise one (god) is for, to explain to us things that we don’t know. this happens in the holy books that we have.”

    i really don’t understand the “p.s. this holy book must not have any other author other than the one who sent it.” explain?

  7. Abood thoma

    Well , thanx for your time to read what I wrote .

    And I will explain the p.s in the end .

    for your paraphrasing it is all correct , simply if you let any body control your future control every thing in your life that would make him your god either you want it or you don’t , that’s why you don’t let that happen ever , unless he has characterstics that nobody could have ever(like forgives you evey time you do something really bad,even your lover can’t do that to you every time ) that’s when you say , yes you are my god and no one can change that . because there is no one can do like you do that’s why you really deserve my respect , my love . because I know you hear me all the time and see me all the time . that’s when you feel the power , that no humen being can ever touch you ,scare you or even control you in any way . that’s when you feel “peace” . when you can really sleep deeply, not afraid of anything because there is an eye watches over you and protects you . that’s what the ideal god should be or lets say must be (otherwise any one can call himself god and play with people’s minds )
    about the P.S earlier . why those books are called holy ? because people have’nt been involved in writing them . and every time when those books are been played with by people,( I mean change it and change their meanings) god sends us a new pure one with someone to tell us about life ( for example , what we should do if someone hits us , we forgive and that is better or we defend or hit back and that is our right , nothing new, it’s a simple logic about life ) but sometimes things can get a littel mixed up on us so we seek the answer in those books and find it do it and get on with our lifes , so easy .
    The latest book now is quran . and if you look to the previous ons you will see more than one virsion that they even contradict each other .
    that what I meant , It is a simple logic . life is easy and so much beautiful , isn’t it !

  8. help

    this is my first time reading anything like this and it is amazing and so helpful. i love the concept of being spiritual without being religious. having faith without commiting to one church and their rules. i have a question and i neeed some help….my father was raised and still is catholic, im in college and live with my parents however i go to a small christine school. I have never really entered too much into the church life…I know a bit, however i dont understand why some people disapprove of catholicism. my feelings are that its jsut a belief and we must respect everyones belief and each individual is entitled to believe whatever works best for them….what do you think?

    help’s last blog post..By: Aliyah

  9. help

    another question-
    my team sport coacbes are quite religious and talk about “accepting christ” and the exact day and some of my peers at the school speak about god talking directly to them. has anyone ever had an experience likes this or have any thoughts on how i might approach asking my coaches if they beleive there beliefs are “right” and if u are not a christian u will go to hell? cause i think this is what they might believe but im not completely sure

    help’s last blog post..By: Aliyah

  10. Asami3

    I BELIEVE IN GOD, THE VIRGIN MARY AND JESUS.

    I DON´T BELONG TO CHURCH, BECAUSE THE CHURCHES JUST LIMIT TO MEN AND WOMEN.
    ALL THE PEOPLE HAVE TO GO TO THE BOTTOM OF THE HEART, BECAUSE IS IN THAT PLACE WHERE YOU CAN LISTEN TO THE VOICE OF GOD, IN THAT SILENCE OF MIND, AND NOISE.

    TO BELIEVE IN GOD IS THE MOST WONDERFUL THING IN THE LIFE.
    TO HAVE IT AS THE CENTER OF THE HEART CHANGES YOUR LIFE.

    HE MAKES ME FEEL IN THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART TO WANT TO BE A BETTER PERSON EACH DAY, TO LOVE ALL THE PEOPLE WHO IS AROUND IN THE LIFE, TO WANT TO LIVE IN THE TRUTH, TO LIVE IN RECTITUDE OF CONSCIENCE, IN HONESTY AND HUMILITY.

    IN THIS WORLD MANY PEOPLE ARE BEING REALLY COLD , THERE IS TOO MUCH CRIME, VIOLENCE AND LESS LOVE, AND UNCONSCIOUSNESS IN MEN AND WOMEN.

    GOD IS LOVE WHO LOVES BELIEVERS AND UNBELIEVERS.
    HE IS ALWAYS WITH ALL THE PEOPLE AND LISTEN TO US AT ALL TIMES.
    TO PRAY TO GOD, THE VIRGIN MARY AND JESUS, GIVE YOU STRENGTH FOR CONFRONTING THE DIFFICULTIES OF THE LIVE AND GIVE YOU A BIG PEACE IN THE HEART.
    THE PRAYER IS TO BE IN CONTACT WITH GOD INSIDE OF YOUR HEART.

  11. Jill

    While humans may have an inherent capacity for goodness, I don’t believe all are capable of, nor do they seek it. For as with every facet of the universe, there must always be two sides. Undoubtedly, there are those who are drawn to, born of, and seek only darkness.

    Interesting post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *