Thank you for everything.
Bless me and help me
To be good
And to do my studies well.
That was our prayer in school, in case you are wondering. We had to utter this every day from the nursery till the 12th. The enormous amount of religious sentiments and observations of religious customs in my family, my relatives and in the society at large started feeling like a burden as I grew up. It hindered my understanding of the world more than it helped.
As the years passed, the school prayer lost its credibility in my eyes. Sure, I had someone to thank. Farmers, the economic system, my father (the provider of my bread). But my belief in ‘God’ had completely worn out by the time I was in my 8th standard. I proudly decided to be an atheist.
You see, as you start questioning and looking out for the truth, the truth will come out. You just need to keep at it. The more you read and question, the more you develop a habit of not taking any one’s words for granted. You start understanding which person is misleading you, what may be their purpose, where you stand with respect to the society.
I studied physics in college. As I advanced my understanding of the way physics has developed over the years, I started understanding and appreciating the scientific method. It’s not something that can be taught in a lecture. It’s something that needs to be learned as a part of the whole procedure.
The scientific method is about looking out for the truth. The good thing about looking out for the truth is that — truth does not lie. It does not try to manipulate you. It does not try to hide. It’s out there for all to see. It doesn’t want you to judge what is right and what is wrong based on your belief system.
You start out with a hypothesis and test it out against data. That data can be anything. Astronomical data, data from physical experiments, experiments in chemistry, biology, or anything that I have failed to name. The key word here is ‘experiment’. Instead of blabbering away at philosophical debates, you question the way the world works via measurable quantities. You test your theory by practice. Instead of believing, you are testing and ruling out one hypothesis against another.
And that’s how I stopped being an atheist. Because to be an atheist, you are still holding on to a belief system — in this case that God doesn’t exist.
This is how modern science poses the question — via the God Hypothesis. It says, let us assume that God exists. It then tries to match the prediction of this hypothesis with astronomical and cosmological data. Turns out, this hypothesis fails badly. Like, real bad. Astronomical bad. Cosmological bad. You get the joke. (Or not.)
That’s it. Whether I believe in the existence of God is a bad question. According to modern science, we know it doesn’t. Simple, isn’t it?
Another good thing about science is that it leaves out a space for uncertainties. It tells you precisely what is known and in case it is not then the degree of uncertainty. Let me tell you one thing — when it comes to ruling out the God Hypothesis, it cannot be any more sure.
Therefore, today I am not a proud atheist anymore. So whoever you are, please stop asking me that damn question about whether I believe in God or not. It’s a bad question! I refuse to bow down to beliefs. Update your understanding of the world by sticking to the truth and nothing but the truth. Update your questions! There are many things about nature that we do not yet know, ask about those. Start living with uncertainties, with doubts. But don’t fear the truth. It will not harm you.
You will find yourself at peace with the world.