Believe in Yourself
I studied in a school where Morning Prayer in the assembly was compulsory on the grounds where everyone gathered. All rituals followed, we had to fold our hands in Namaste, bow our heads and indulge in a prayer that basically asked God for strength, courage, kindness—blah, blah, blah. It was all so fake. None of it came from a pure heart or mind, just from a tired-of-baring-this-heat-mind or frustrated-because-the-Principal’s-speech-extended-fifteen-minutes-this-morning-mind.
I never understood this concept of prayer. On regular days, everyone said the prayer as fast as they can and on exam days, the same prayer ran at least fifteen minutes late. Echoes of please God, please God, God, please help me were heard. What the hell God was going to do if our Chemistry ma’am had decided to take her revenge on us for not coming to laboratory on time by setting tough equations on our Chemistry paper?
My realization and acceptation of Atheism was gradually done. I am a daughter of an atheist father and a religious mother. Two starkly different opinions that kept clashing at our home every other day. I have seen my mother fasting, indulging in superstitions such as not wearing black on a happy occasion and much more. Around my school time, I was in a fifty-fifty situation, neither an ardent believer of God nor a complete atheist.
It was during my twelfth grade that I was forced to get out of this confusion. A dear friend of mine was burdened with the most god-awful disease—cancer. Her family started treatments, medications and most of all, prayers. After a struggle of six months, she passed away. But the sad part was that in my friend’s last few minutes her mother wasn’t even present with her—she was praying to God. Praying to that stone instead of being in the last few minutes that her daughter had.
Another instance was, in twelfth grade, we were taken to a study tour in a village. While passing through, I noticed that poverty had stricken badly here. The mud-caked walls and unhygienic roads were in the worst of conditions. After a few minutes, I heard bells ringing. Apparently, they were praying to the big G, instead of cleaning the roads.
Prayers are all about asking God for courage, kindness, strength—but I ask the question why? Aren’t we strong enough to fight for ourselves? Why don’t we trust ourselves enough to be granted success? What is religion? Isn’t religion a particular set of values passed on by the elder generations to the younger ones? Religion is different for everybody—some believe in a sacred animal, some don’t. Even if the religion is the same, it’s our human nature that will not allow our opinions to be same. A person will conjure up a particular image of a particular religion and pass that to his next generation with his two cents added in it, and the next generation will add their ideologies and pass off to their next generations. Religion is not something constant—it keeps changing.
It was then that my atheist side took up a stance. No more of this bull-shit. Instead of believing in God, let’s start working towards a better future. For it is me, who is going to provide food and shelter for my family, and it’s not God. God is just a belief made up by people who were looking for someone to put their blame on. Lost job—blame God. Got into an accident—blame God. Earthquake—blame God. Sometimes it’s the movement of tectonic plates, you fools.
These ardent believers of God will ask for help in sad times, but will not remember God in happy times. The increasing hypocrisy and the unbelievable theories running about God made me realize that there is no God. If there was one, I’m sure he would have stopped all those rumors about himself at least.
God is you, yourself. For no one other than you has the power to ruin or make up your life. I remember my atheist father’s words, why give someone else the power over your life by asking him for strength and courage? Look within yourself, and you will realize that courage, kindness, and strength were only looking for you to be independent. There is no God, so let’s thank Mother Nature instead of praying and only include our gratitude for providing us with shelter and food and no courage/kindness nonsense.
As an atheist, I also found the concept of heaven and hell a little amusing. Good people will go to heaven and bad people will go to hell. But who decides that? Is there a God who calculates all the good and the bad in each person’s life? So what about the bad that is done for something good? God is merely a belief made up of childish superstitions and raised from the human weakness. So let’s believe in our conscience and worship nothing.
Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it—even if I have said it—unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.
Anuja Shinge is an eighteen-year-old budding writer with strong views on Atheism and gender equality.