What if God weren’t there?

by Andrea Elizabeth

I have always believed that God could hear my prayers and my thoughts. I’ve always had an audience and company. It’s always mattered if God were pleased or not with what he saw or heard. At least eventually. 

I cannot imagine what it would be like to be an atheist, but I suppose I’ll try. What if he weren’t there listening? There would be no call to prayer or dedication to an other. I would at the same time be unto myself, no one, and everything equally. All would be random acts of coincidental nature. But I don’t know anyone who really believes that. A true atheist would be beholden to no one, not even himself. He may submit to his urges, but he wouldn’t think it mattered. 

Here’s what author John Le Carre said about atheism:

a Mingrelian proverb … : ‘Why do you want light if you’re blind?’

p 53I am not a God man, though I believe society is the better for Him than without Him. I do not reject Him, as Larry does, and then go scurrying after Him to apologise. But I do not accept Him either.

If deep down I believe in some central meaning, some Urgeist, as Larry would call it, my route to it is more likely to be the aesthetic one — the autumnal beauty of the Mendips, say, or Emma playing Liszt for me — than the path of prayer.
p 82-3

– John le Carre’ (David Cornwell), Our Game (Knopf: New York 1995)” from here 

I quote him because of my impressions of the movie, The Constant Gardener, which is based on his book. The bleakness of its humanitarianism makes me believe that atheists, or those who at least ignore God, actually believe themselves to be God. That they are the witnesses of everyone’s thoughts and prayers, and it is they who must be pleased.

This is the pride of life that does not just infect the non religious. But are we not aware of the thoughts of others? Because of communication we are at least somewhat aware. But are we to be pleased. Or to please. 

Obey is a word Le Carre also had a hard time with.  

“When I ask, he says his great distrust of organised religion is a consequence of his detestation of the painful forms of authority forced upon him by various schools.” From here

It seems that to believe in goodness and meaning and obedience, one must be religious. But do we always recognize meaning and goodness and those who enforce/teach it. People believe they do, but that they, meaning I, are/am the only ones/one. This is why a baby cries with so much authority. 

So to be a true atheist, when one is not pleased, one should say, why should I be. And a good deist should wonder the same thing.


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