First An Atheist, Then An Agnostic And Now A Believer
by: David G. Hallstrom, Sr.
I have always been an enthusiastic reader. When I was very young I got caught up in reading books about religion, mythology, etc.. By the time I was seven (7) I had read both the old and new testaments of the bible, dozens of books about Hinduism, Buddhism, Islamism and numerous books about ancient mythology. Being very young I knew nothing about shades of grey and saw everything in black and white. Therefore, I decided that everything religious was myth and that there could be no god. There was no way the earth could have been formed in six (6) of our days, there was no way that Noah could have loaded two (2) of every animal, ect. onto the Ark, there was no way that any god could be so cruel and unjust as the god of the bible and the gods of mythology were said to be. The more I read the less I believed in god and the more I believed in Atheisim..
As I grew older I started to realize that things should not necessarily be taken literally, that there were shades of grey and that all writings were done by humans and therefore subject to interpretation. I then decided that I did not have enough knowledge and understanding to admit there was or deny there was a god. I further decided that I did not care if there was or wasn’t a god. I felt that I was a fairly good person and if there was I god I would be ok and if there wasn’t a god then it didn’t matter. I was about twelve (12) when I made these decisions. I then started saying that I was an Agnostic.
Now, I’m a beliver. As I grew older I started to believe more and more that there is a god, not because I had found proof but because I wanted there to be a god. I wanted there to be a god because I wanted there to be an afterlife. This life was too full of sorrow and suffering, too full of death and distruction, too full of evil. There needs to be something more. There needs to be something to hope for.
I believe in god, but not a god of vengeance, not a god who punishes us. There are too many cruel and evil people in this world that appear to live long and relatively happy lives and too many good people who die young or appear to live very unhappy lives. There are too many good people who suffer greatly. Additionally, I don’t want there to be a god who would, because people don’t follow the rules, punish them by turning them into pillars of salt or have innocent loved ones die or suffer as punishment. I do not want to believe in a god that would rain pestilence down on us.
Nor do I believe in a loving god who watches over us, takes care of us and answers our prayers. That god would not allow hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, starvation, the holocaust and all the other horrible things that happen on this earth. Don’t tell me about the war between god and the devil. If the devil is powerful enough to cause these things to happen to god’s children then god is not the all powerful being that he, she or it is supposed to be. Or god doesn’t care that much about us.
I believe in a god who created us, gave us the ability to think for ourselves and then left us to find our own way without intervention or interference. I believe that those of us who lead good lives, not necessarily exemplary lives, will when we die be led to a better existance and that those of us that lead bad lives will find their existance at an end.
There are, of course, problems with my theory. Since I have never seen or spoken with god I don’t really know what would constitute a good life and I can’t be sure that my theory is correct. I only know that I have lost, during my lifetime, several loved ones, including my father, my sister, my youngest son and others that I sincerely care about. All of these people were what I consider to be good people and I want to, no have to, believe that they went on to a far better existance. If there is no god then there is no hope and without hope there is nothing.