Friday, November 17, 2006

The Trouble With Being Atheist

In my Survey of Brit Lit class (which I eat, sleep, and breathe), we are studying the Victorian era. One thing that really stands out for me are the conflicts arising due to turmoil in religion during the time. Basically, this era saw a rapid departure from an economy of land ownership (farming) to an economy focused on technology (industry). In all of the buzz, great distinctions in class became very apparent. The rich got richer, the poor moved to London to find work, got poorer, and multiplied in number so quickly that the poor population increased despite a spiraling deathrate.

All of this brought about a schism regarding the place of religion. With pressure from economical and political changes, Communism, Scientific theories, even geology, many departed from their religion, instead focusing on defining ethics and becoming impossibly moral.

Studying this today is one of those timing things that is a bit perplexing. Prior to beginning my readings, I was thinking about my lack of spirituality and how it may be to my detriment, yet it's also not in my composition to believe in a higher power.

It's a bit of a conflict today. I was thinking about how the average person prays for things that they want/ need, or wish for (regardless of whether the wish is personal). When I want/need or wish, I have this instinct to "pray" to a higher power. But I don't believe that a higher power exists, nor do I really want to believe that a higher power exists. So where does the instinct to pray come from?

Is it that I should just accept the possibility of a higher power, to admit that I just don't know? I find this hard to do. My instincts are always to "follow my heart." But I rarely act on my "heart". I need to rationalize. To me, the possibility of a higher power is not a possibility at all.

I wish I could reconcile my instinct to "pray" to be consistent with my beliefs. Praying seems like such a silly concept when thinking of it. A person prays. If what they pray for happens, they thank God. If it doesn't, they say that it wasn't in God's plan. To me the whole concept is ridiculous.

I truly feel that way, think that way. So why the instinct to pray?

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