Wandering because I’m trying to find something else in place of a God.
I remember when we were chest-deep in the dulling boredom of school I tried to convert religion. We were painting clouds in the storeroom and started talking about God and it branched out into a week-long discussion that got me so confused that I reached an internal existential showdown.
At one hand religion has never been majorly present in my life, although when I was younger and easily impressionable I tried to convince myself God exists because so many people said so. Also God was useful when I found myself in unpleasant situations. I prayed to God in my mind occasionally, not really thinking that anything will actually be resolved so simply, but sought comfort in prayer anyway. Back then death was already a recurrent theme of thought, and it was not something I could easily brush off especially in the dead of the night. So I prayed that no one around me should die.
Beyond the God I summoned in emergencies, there was no God in my every day life. As I became more adapt at not getting too emotional over my own thoughts, I did not need God anymore, and so God is lost to me.
That week in school I found myself surrounded by God’s followers. As they described their own personal relationship with God, my atheism was challenged, and I became an agnostic. For one, there is no way to prove there is God, and there is also no way to prove there is no God. I based my beliefs on my own growth, and although I never grew up with God (desperate situations do not count as they are exploitative of popular belief of God’s assumed benevolence), I am okay. I’m not lacking, am I? But what if I was? What if I lacked this ability to ‘see’ and ‘feel’ and ‘understand’ God? What if my whole life has been built with its core element missing? And I just never felt the absence because I have never known its presence.
This doubt was reinforced by the fact that one of God’s advocates was my friend Sarah. She is intelligent and rational and good with reasoning. Surely rational people can’t believe in something irrational? I drew a conclusion: If Sarah is rational and she believes in God, that makes God rational. And that in turn makes me the irrational one.
I always thought followers of religion were people trapped in thought in a sphere of their own, where their Gods exist within, and I am the one outside, free and okay, looking inside and wondering if they knew they were lacking this freedom. But this discussion flipped the sphere around, what if I was the one inside instead, the one that is lacking? And they’re the ones outside, freed through the faith in God? I was desperate to understand, and I tried to convert religion. I think I tried praying and feeling deep in my heart for some faint connection to God, like Sarah so easily illustrated, but I couldn’t. I just can’t believe in God.
Maybe the sphere metaphor is inaccurate. A better one would be a parallel-worlds one, where both believers and non-believers live according to their own beliefs, and none should be shaken so badly as to question their entire beliefs of 16 years. And they live without trying to get the other to come out from their sphere, and they die anyway.
I think if I did successfully convert religion that time I wouldn’t doubt so much on everything. Because God has answers. And there is this thing called faith which I somehow cannot understand. But I think if I did, this thing called faith would save me a lot of times from my sometimes destructive wanders in thought. I would probably still visit those bad places, but this thing called faith would keep me from jumping down cliffs trying to find a life philosophy to stay rooted to.