nobody really asks me if i believe in god - the assumption, based on background, social standing, cultural influences and religious environment is that i do. i think this extends to myself, as well. so, i never really stopped to ask myself, up till i entered university (which now seems like such a long time ago!) whether i believe in god, or not. i think, a large part of it had to do with that god never really was this being you could opt not to believe in - just that you could choose to believe in through many different means, or religions. and even in those ways, i never thought that there could be different interpretations of god (or godliness). when i first started questioning this about myself, i was very hasty to divert my attention elsewhere. it was, and still is, quite a taboo thing to question the presence of god, and blasphemy was more than just a label, with familial, social and even economic repercussions in the environment i was brought up in. it is bittersweet that in going to university, i had found a place where none of this applied any more, and through continually questioning, and allowing myself to question (myself!) i soon lost this jaded perception that god was too ultimate, too transcendent, too ideal to question. and i found myself wanting by so much.
this is not to say that education has made me a non-believer (though i would have a hard time denying it). this is not to say maturity has made me lose some part of me that before could believe. but, i think somewhere along and between the comparative religion, the interreligious discourses, the self-doubt, the (repeated) failure to appreciate the fatalism that is intrinsic in so many religions, and the illogicalness of so many aspects of (religion and) how religion deems to work out a multitude, if not all cases (but does not); the leeway i used to have for dismissing 'evidence' against god has worn so thin that i am not sure that it exists anymore. if i were to analogously put myself in a court of justifications, even inherently and purposefully biased towards justifying the existence of god, i find that judge, jury and audience (for lack of executioner) all find the defence laughable (though they are all myself. i think of it as a judge dredd-esque proceeding, where there is no other find but guilt).
in any case, recently (more or so 8 years now, if that can be called recent), i do not feel the urge, responsibility, obligation, or want to hold out for god. i do not wish to suffer his trials, and i do not want for a paradise that is all but promised - not because i am impatient, but because i do not feel that, if i were to be on course, that i should be eligible (and by far unworthy) of such, and if i were not on course, then the purposefulness of such belief is apparent. as much as i would like to analyse the recentmost developments that have encouraged my devotion in such a blasphemous claim, heresy is not what i wish to advocate (as much as i do not wish to sway any liberalist otherwise). indeed, let's not burden ourselves with the semantics and nuances of a single individual's life (of which and whose fallacies and caveats are more likely his or her own, than can be attributable to god), but for simplicity, i would like to touch on the outcome of (any similar) belief:
as any simple statistician (or simple-minded geneticist) will assure you, a 2x2, two-variable square to display results (which, for the geneticist would be a punnett square) is probably the easiest way to do so. and so, let us consider the two variables that:
1) do you believe in god?
2) does god exist?
the dilemma here becomes moral, if god does not exist - would you live an 'ethical' life if you did not believe in god? personal experience, and the way that i would live mine dictates that this is independent of one's beliefs. many non-believers i know live lives more admirable than many pious people i know. just the same way, there are those who don't. and what unsavoury traits or display thereof, i cannot say that i can attribute to any (dis)belief in god. but, for argument's sake, let us say that believing in god makes you a better person, regardless of the existence of god. and what if one does not believe? then not all is lost, for as equal as there will be persons who are good, regardless of motif, there will be good that comes from people in general. i have to say, though, that my inclination is to believe that people will be people: what you believe does not necessarily dictate how this manifests.
and what, perhaps, if god does exist? that if you do not believe, you are on the wrong team to begin with (and let us not forget, that even in the 'believe' camp, there will be many factions, of which only one is supposedly 'right'). then non-belief does not only condemn you to a life of unpalatable decisions, but also to an afterlife of suffering and languish! and, of course, the converse is that being a believer guarantees you a place in eternal paradise (apparently regardless of worldly action, which i have claimed is not reflective of one's belief in the first place! if only because of this, i think, i will choose to believe. for, any authority has long past left me, and cannot convince me otherwise, any empirical evidence i have had to bear by actually makes me disbelieve, and any other knowledge i may purportedly harbour is of no significance, because i cannot deduce the existence of god, as much as can i claim to even possess the knowledge to fathom him. indeed, it may be that the true meaning of faith is seeing past such misgivings, regardless and against the light of otherwise. if such is the case, then i am ashamed to say that i do not have enough faith to secure a place by god's side, and if i even tried, i would find myself ever more so lacking. it would be nice, though, to be able to learn from someone with untamed faith; blind and relentless. such as myself in my youth. but then, times were simpler and tribulations were justifiable. what i feel life has manifest now is unbecoming - unsightly and revolting, such that if i were not to believe, the default is only an abyss of wanting. one that does not sate, and does not sleep, and is scarier than the thought of what comes when god ceases to exist.
perhaps, this, actually is such a terrifying thought, that it is hell manifest. and in not believing, i have condemned myself to such fate, even before death! one can only hope, i suppose.
when tragedy was written, that upon hell's gate is seen 'ye who passes, abandon all hope', it was not said whether such gate would be present for mortal eyes to see, and i can only hope that i am too blind, rather than be blinded in the presence of god.
if he does exist.