I don’t believe in the existence of God, at least not in the form God is portrayed and worshipped in this world. However, I don’t think I follow the exact definition of an atheist.
I was born in a Hindu family which believed in the existence of gods and followed rituals common to Hinduism. My mother is very vocal about her belief in God, about how God watches all our actions and gives us rewards or punishments accordingly. My father was not fond of displaying his beliefs, but he was a believer alright. Thankfully there wasn’t much of the baseless superstitions.
Hence naturally I was also brought up to be religious. I was made to pray regularly and be fearful of God. Notice I’m saying “I was made”, because I remember my then self to be confused about religion and God. I was told to do good deeds to get rewarded, and if I did anything bad I would be punished. As a small kid threatened about an invisible overwhelming presence called God, I obviously never tried to cross the path. And after some time, I had been habituated, and believed in what I was taught. But my suspicions never really left.
When I grew up a little, these suspicions resurfaced. At this point, I used to pray only when I needed something — like good marks in tests or a win for my favourite. And the prayers were always something like this
God, please give me good marks in the exams. I will be a good boy and I will study without any mischief.
I wondered whether I was praying or trying to strike a deal with God. I see devotees offering various stuff — starting from milk, clothes, fruits, valuables to even animal sacrifice in extreme cases — praying for the desired outcome. It was then that I understood that the existing system of religion is just a business model(a quite successful one). My faith started fading. But even then God was part of my support system. I prayed when I was down, barring making offerings.
Then came 11th grade. I was preparing for college, but I was going through a bad phase. I was failing myself, and I was always finding someone to blame. When I had hit rock bottom, I found my Physics and Math tutors by my side. They counselled me, and taught me to look at the world differently.
I understood how I can either spend the days cursing everyone, or making the most of what I have. I realised that whatever happens, I am responsible for it. If something bad happened to me through a different person, there must be something I had done which led to the outcome. Hence, whatever happens with me, is an outcome of my actions. Thus if I want something to go my way, I have the responsibility of making the right choices. In short, I myself am responsible for every detail in my life.
My Math tutor also taught me how the world is governed by the simplest of Math concepts(a story for some other day). I found a completely new perspective, one which is ruled by simple rules of science without any confusion, one which has a logical answer to every why and how.
Thus I didn’t find any more reason to stick to the confusing faith, or have an unexplained belief in God, whose existence itself is not proved.
There is, however, one question whose answer I am yet to find. Every event that occurs on earth, has a million other possible outcomes — for example, the bus I take daily might have an accident. What determines which one of the million possible paths is taken?
Believers like to make God the authority responsible for this decision. Some atheists call this luck, while many devote this to “powers of higher dimensions”. I choose not to jump any conclusions, and hope I will find the answer to this as well while learning more and more.