Having Faith as an Atheist

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Let’s face it, we don’t do well with the unknown. Uncertainties drive us crazy. Since the dawn of civilization, humans have used religion to answer questions that we can’t answer, to explain things we can’t explain, and to give us something to hold on to when we don’t have anything.

We humans are very small compared to the infinite universe. As much as we want to take control of everything, there are things we can’t control. In the face of tragedy or the unknown in general, we often turn religion for comfort and spiritual guidance.

If you grow up in certain culture, you may have certain set of beliefs. Take me for an example; I grow up in China, so I’m mostly an atheist that is strongly influenced by Buddhism and Daoism. In both teachings, there is no God. I have a statue of Guanyin (Chinese Bodhisattva/ Goddess of Compassion) at home, but I would not confidently identify myself as a Buddhist.

I meditate once a while and I do not really pray. I believe in the universe, the Dao, the energy, or God like some people may call it, but not according to any set of doctrines. My belief system is a mixture of things I learned from different teachings and I’m not sure any of it is 100% true. But I do believe there is something more than humans.

I think many people are like me. Perhaps you grow up in a religious family but later decide to pursue your own spiritual path rather than following a strict doctrine. Perhaps you just grow up as an atheist. Do you ever feel the need to believe in something?

I do. I’m sure I’m not the only person who asks what the purpose of life is. If you are an atheist, how do you go about belief and faith? Because I’m adamant that we still need to have faith as atheists. Having faith in yourself and have faith in the universe that you will be taken care of. There is abundance in the world. You do not need to worry but live the present moment.

I know this is all easy said than done. What is faith? If you need proof to believe it, then it is not faith, is it? But you can’t believe it or relax until you see proof that you are in fact ok and taken care of. Can we have a peace of mind without needing to see everything played to the end? Thus is our human condition. We suffer because we don’t have faith; we suffer because we can’t let go; we suffer because we worry too much.

So my New Year’s resolution is to let go, let the past be the past, let the future be the future, embrace life as it is, do not worry, and have faith that everything is going to work out. I have a feeling that I need to revisit this quite often. I hope this article will serve as a reminder for myself when I lose faith, get impatient or feel anxious.



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