Do I believe in God? It has been some time since I have actively thought about this question. If you’d known me 8 years ago, you’d know that I was what can only be described as a fanatic atheist. I was a rationalist, on my way to be a scientist. I felt that science disposed off the need for an omnipotent omniscient creator and I was ready to debate this out with anyone who’d care to listen to a hot-headed teenager who read a lot of popular-science books.
But in the years since then, I went from being an Ayn Rand egoist-atheist, to having existential angst, then washing up on the shores of my limited but seemingly important life experiences, part nihilist and part an Orwellian pessimist, a believer in human folly, to finally end up as an Asimovian romantic.
Since mentioning how this series of transformations was affected by my surroundings, conversations I had with important people in my life, and events that shaped the path I chose to tread on will no doubt be more an exercise in psychoanalysis than a simple blog post, I will stick to simply penning down my current thoughts and ideas on the issue, lest I change my mind again about my notions of a deity.
Do I believe that God exists? The answer is no, if by God you refer to the idea of the kind of creator that organized religion would have us believe in. I do have a concept of God, but His superpowers in my ideology are slightly different. For one, my God does not concern himself with violating the laws of physics, giving blind people eyesight, performing miracles, killing demons, or punishing sinners. My God is not concerned with what I do or how I do it. He is simply indifferent to our world. He is neither omnipotent, nor omniscient, nor benevolent. He is apathetic.
What is the use of such a God you might ask? I tend not to use Him for any of His advertised benefits. I don’t use him for explaining natural phenomena that I don’t understand, I look towards science for answering those. I don’t need Him as an excuse to not harm fellow humans, Darwinian evolution is enough to teach me that. I don’t look to Him to scare me away from stealing, a rudimentary moral code guided by societal norms is sufficient for that. I don’t need Him for finding solace in the face of difficulties — my friends and family do that. I don’t ask Him for luck because I have made my peace with both probability and causality.
What is He to me then? He is an idea, a fantasy I’d like it to be true. He is a construct of my mind to placate me when I am lonely and desperate. To distract me sometimes when I would rather internalize my thoughts than look at the world around me (yes, I need to do that some times). He is my placebo. I don’t ask Him for luck but He can make me temporarily feel lucky. I like to believe that He holds the answers to my problems because then I can trick myself into feeling more confident. Best of all, He doesn’t get offended by what someone with a different faith might say. Why not? Because He’s not real. I know it, and He knows it. Yes, I realize that the God I believe in is no different from an imaginary friend and much like a child, my imaginary friend makes me feel happy and secure.