Saturday, May 15, 2010

Reluctant Atheist

So what am I? Rather cliched to ask a question like this, but it keeps coming back to me. Perhaps it doesn't even matter, or maybe it does. But the post here isn't about everything that I am, but about an aspect of my existence.

I know I am not a theist by definition, but my interest in religion has been steadfast since the time I can remember. In fact, the first girl that I fell for was a Muslim and I was completely besotted by everything about her - her house, the swimming pool at her place, her dolls, her dad. Her dad was a doctor, and I insisted that we always visit him only for any treatments. Though, things didn't quite work out the way I wanted them to. Back then I was too small to even know what I wanted, but I wanted to know more.

We are a family of non-vegetarians and always participated in the Eid feasts of the Muslim families in the numerous colonies we lived in. I loved kebab and mutton keema the most, especially because amma never made them at home. It was at this stage that I also started learning Urdu with a friend, sadly could never go beyond the alphabets.

At this stage of life, I was a staunch Hindu too. Daily early morning prayers, loads of sholkas, regular fasting and so on. I can't remember exactly if I believed in God as such, but I guess I believed in something up there. Personal tragedies changed all this and I became a complete non-believer thereafter for a long time.

My fascination with religion never ended. Later Buddhism became my passion, and I was even willing to take a break from life and study Buddhism, again something which just remained in my dreams. Someone wanted to know then, if I would convert to another religion if I felt more at home with it? But I do not understand conversion. I wasn't born a Hindu, it became my religion after my birth. In my basic form, I am nothing, just another living being who could be anything. And I really do not have any regrets about being a Hindu, even if I am not an overt Hindu like some of the people I know. I also say a prayer at times, but my God always changes - Ram to Khuda to Issiah.

I find them all fascinating. And It seems I can't have them all, I need to chose one of them, at least officially and to be printed on some paper somewhere. And so I chose no one. And I end up being a reluctant atheist.

I do not know what it means. Some atheists prefer to call themselves humanists, and its a beautiful world, but it also goes so much beyond just religion. Can I call myself that? Its a big term and something very difficult to live up to. I also wonder if there is another category, who are neither theists or atheists. Neither superior or inferior, but something else that also exists.

1 comment:

  1. hmmm...But why does one what to be put into some category...atheist or don't need a category to define the one that cannot be defined. and why something else that also exists....I feel that different religions came into being beacuse people wanted existence. What if you don't want that kind of existance....I relate this to your thought about time in your later post. Time not existing....just some thoughts......


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