On rare occasions, I’ve told someone that I’m an atheist in hopes that the person I confided in would understand, or at the very least would ask intelligent questions and would be willing to support me despite my lack of belief in God. So far, I’ve been dissapointed. Not because they didn’t care about me or because they weren’t sincere in their misunderstanding, but because they truly believed that my life must be hollow and empty because I don’t believe in God. Their rationale? That if I didn’t believe in a God who loved me and judged me and didn’t believe in an after life, I had nothing to live for.
But I don’t feel that way at all! In fact, not believing in an afterlife has actually FREED me from the burden of trying to meet some unattainable ideal of what I must do to reach heaven and avoid hell. Some of my friends said that without God, I wouldn’t have a moral compass; but nothing could feel further from the truth! In fact, once I stopped trying to achieve an unrealistic ideal and stopped worrying about what I had to do to reach a blissful afterlife, I was more able to focus on being a better me in the here and now. It’s a kind of mindfulness that is truly freeing! Some people might call it a form of humanism; I don’t know what others would call my personal journey, but I do know that I now try to DO good and BE good in my current life simply because I want to be a better person and I want to help others have a better life. I don’t have to have a diety to tell me what is right or wrong. I know those things in my heart because I am compassionate and HUMAN.
No, I don’t feel empty without God. In fact, I’ve never felt more alive to my life’s possibilities!