I have no faith. I have had no faith since I was 18 when I started to ask questions and could not find satisfactory answers. Even before then, my faith, such as it was, was based on what I was told not what I truly believed. I spent a huge proportion of my youth in cathedrals and other churches singing praises to God. I find sacred music and the ancient language of the Book of Common Prayer both beautiful and mesmerising and even the pomp and ceremony of the act of worship appeals to me. I am a High Church Atheist. But still an Atheist for all that.
My lack of faith gets me into trouble periodically. I upset people relatively regularly. I don’t mean to but when you cannot see any evidence of a higher being and no one is able to show you what you seek, it is very difficult to display understanding or compassion towards those that do, without appearing patronising or disrespectful. No one can really explain why they believe to me. It is something that they feel. But as I am not them I cannot feel it and so I can’t comprehend.
My position is easier to grasp. I do not believe in God or Heaven or any form of omnipotent being. People can understand that view. They often don’t agree with it but generally they accept it for what it is. In the worst cases, they seem to pity me assuming that my life must be so much less rich than theirs without having a spiritual aspect to it. Occasionally they try to change my view, or worse still, tell me that as I age my opinion will alter and that I will slowly begin to welcome God into my life. To hedge my bets as it were. I suppose it must be comforting to think of those who have died before us happily existing elsewhere, looking down on us and blessing our actions until that time that we are able to join them and be reunited in our love. How lovely it would be to think that.
The only faith that has ever aroused a spark of interest in me is Quakerism. Like minded people quietly going about their business, believing that there is something of God in everybody and that each human being is of unique worth. In their faith, they choose to value all people equally and place great reliance on conscience as the basis of morality. A valuable Code for a worthy life. But a lack of belief in a God has to be a stumbling block to any faith or so it seems to me.
I am fully anticipating that as I grow old I will again question my lack of faith and search for something to make sense of my years on this planet. I cannot conceive of a time when I will welcome a god into my heart. Leopards and spots and all that. But perhaps, as countless thousands of others have done before me, I will crave some kind of spirituality. But if that day ever comes, and I find it hard but not impossible to imagine it, will I keep my new quest to myself for fear of the cries of ” I told you so” and “We knew you’d come round” from those who have always had or never questioned their faith? Maybe. For do they ever truly accept that my lack of faith is as valid and strong as their beliefs and do I ever truly accept that they can structure their life around something for which they have no proof of existence? We shall have to wait and see. For now I am perfectly content with my view. It is part of who I am.