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Atheism as a step on the path

Some see atheism as turning away from God. I say, atheism can be just another stop on the path to God. How? God’s essence, that Divine, resides in each of us. That’s why expressing our selves is so important.

Formal religious doctrine preached in our institutions may well stifle that Divine spark. It is not enough to kowtow to what others tell us. That is like hearing an echo off a far away ceiling. It is not your authentic voice within. Much better then, for some, to turn away from external doctrine that may inhibit connection with your self and voice. Its the living that is the important practice; experience your aliveness. Even better is experiencing the connection with the source of that self. But experiencing your self is a very good step, perhaps the most important (and only?) step. If along the way, you denounce God, God doesn’t mind, because you are only denouncing what you have been taught about God. You haven’t denounced your own experience with God. God is Infinite like that.

Alice Walker captures this well in her book, The Color Purple. I am pulling from page 199 in my version (copyright 1982):

Celie: “You telling me God love you, and you ain’t never done nothing for him? I mean not go to church, sing in the choir, and feed the preacher and all like that?”

Shug: “But if God love me, Celie, I don’t have to do all that. Unless I want to. There’s a lot of other things I can do that I speck God likes.”

Like what? I ast. “Oh,” she say. “I can lay back and just admire stuff. Be happy. Have a good time.” Well, this sound like blasphemy sure nuff.

Shug: God ain’t a he or she , but a It….It ain’t a picture show. It ain’t something you can look at apart from anything else, including yourself. I believe God is everything, say Shug. Everything that is or ever was or ever will be. And when you can feel that, and be happy to feel that, you’ve found It.

Shug a beautiful something, let me tell you. She frown a little, look out cross the yard, lean back in her chair, look like a big rose.

She say, My first step from the old white man was trees. Then air. Then birds. Then other people. But one day when i was sitting quiet and feeling like a motherless child, it come to me: that feeling of being part of everything, not separate at all. I knew that if I cut a tree, my arm would bleed. And I laughed and cried and run all around the house. I knew just what it was. In fact, when it happen, you can’t miss it. …

Listen. God love everything you love, and a mess of stuff you don’t. ….I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.

…People think pleasing God is all God care about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.

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