Sunday, October 5, 2008
by Denise Beck-Clark
It dawns on me that one thing more alienating than being Jewish in this Christian culture is, well, besides being a Muslim, being an Atheist. What poor timing: now, when this country seems to be at an all time high, at least since the 1950's, in its religiosity, what a time to come to the realization that I am, after all is said and done, an Atheist.
Writing these Blogs has caused me to have a revelation: I am, indeed, an Atheist. Prior to now I called myself “Agnostic,” but I understand that this was based on confusion. For, vis a vis the identity of God, I’ve been confused, all my life! I was raised by non-religious Jewish parents, who, when, I asked as a child, “What is God?” answered, “God is all around us. God is in everything.” They didn’t say “there is no God.” Nor did they call themselves Atheists. But I definitely was not raised as a believer in A God.
Because I grew up believing in “God as a Force,” this stopped me from calling myself an Atheist. Now, however, I’ve come to understand that when we talk about “God” we’re talking about the anthropomorphic God. God as the Father of Jesus. God as the Creator, Protector, and All Powerful Being that loves everyone unconditionally. God as the old man with a white beard and long robes, or, in whatever persona people picture this Being.
All my life, until now, I have found it reasonably acceptable to believe in God as a force because to define God as a force allows for stuff like synchronicity, and for believing that there’s energy out there that never dies but instead is re-formatted and re-cycled and provides, at times, a certain unity and logic to things. It’s God as Karma, God as a lesson, God as an explanation. But now I know that this is not the same as the God that people love and pray to.
I have found believing in God as a force to be mildly comforting. But I know that this comfort is nothing compared to the profound solace that is brought by the belief in God as an All Powerful Being who will love me unconditionally and have my best interests at heart at all times. It’s this latter belief that really helps people, and I sorely miss it. Because when the going gets rough, as it so often does, wouldn’t it be wonderful to have this Being to turn to with absolute faith and trust, which would allow me, like a child trusting her all-powerful loving parents, to believe that yes, Denise, everything is going to be just fine. You’re one of God’s children and God is always looking after you. How comforting! No wonder so many people are believers.