When I first came to England I had never spent any time thinking about the concept of atheism. In fact, having never met an atheist I thought the term was a dictionary concept rather than anything that actually happened in practice.
The first time someone told me that they didn’t believe in God I recall being appalled. I went from having a mild crush on the guy to thinking: I don’t really like you, for if you don’t believe in God you have got to be satanic. That moment was a turning point in my friendship with this guy because I don’t think I put very much into being friends with him after that. When he told me that he suffers from depression, I remember thinking that it was probably linked to his non-belief of a higher power!
Being at the University of Cambridge, that was just the first of many encounters. Cambridge is a breeding ground for thinkers, people that question everything and from that moment on I met many atheists with the end result that I now understand and respect their view.
I think it takes a lot more effort to not believe than it does to believe. Most of us were born within a certain religion. We were indoctrinated with it from a young age and have never thought to question it.
A lot of introspection resulted from my meeting and questioning so many atheists. Every single atheist I know has a very sound moral code. In fact many behave better than some of my fellow Christians, I know that if I misbehave I can just go to confession and God will forgive. An atheist has to live with it in their conscience, they can’t pass the buck on to God.
Upon looking at myself I accepted that:
I have never known hunger. I have never known cold. I grew up in a two-parent home where I was loved and cared for. I have never known any real want. Mine has been a safe and sheltered existence and that in itself means I cannot judge those that have suffered in ways I can only imagine:
Many people out there are going to bed without any food tonight. If such a person told me they didn’t believe in a God, how could I even begin to judge them negatively?
There are many little boys and girls out there tonight being abused by the people that are supposed to protect them.
A girl out there is zealous and enthusiastic about a trip she has been promised to a developed country where she can better herself – little does she know that she has just become someone’s drug mule or sex slave.
I watched a program a couple of weeks ago where a woman was being forced by her husband to sleep with other men for money; he beat her if she refused. Some punters came to her house at lunch time, her husband made her cook lunch for all of them, he then accepted some money and she had to a go to a room to let the man do his business. She described herself as being “the unluckiest woman in the world”.
“What could be worse than this?” she asked the journalist. Indeed, what could? I for one could only weep as I watched the injustice unfold.
Sometimes events call one to question whether God does truly exist and today was one such day for me. My sister’s Facebook status update in the morning said something about God always knowing what was going to happen in advance of its occurrence and as such we should trust him.
Cynically, I thought, “Does he know in advance when a helpless five year old child is going to be molested by those that should be trusted?” Watch enough episodes of Law and Order: SVU and you too will think in these mysterious ways. Anyway, the very thought made me begin to question God’s existence.
When I got home from work I decided to do a patch of housework, I very rarely do housework during the week, I save it for the weekend. I would say this event occurs but once a month, if that (my husband says once a year!)
As I was cleaning I decided to clean out a compartment of my tumble dryer that’s supposed to be cleaned once every three to six months – it hadn’t been cleared in at least a year.
On the second scoop out of the gunk, I found a ring that belongs to neither me nor my husband; a guest must have forgotten it. It reads: Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding Pr 3:5. I was spooked! Can a question be more directly answered?
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