Why I still Pray as an Atheist

I used to be a proud atheist.

I was one of those argumentative types. Wanted to be Christopher Hitchens. Sam Harris. Richard Dawkins. All those dorks.

Remember one time I was at a picnic with my then-girlfriend’s family. Some evangelical dude conversationally t-boned me with some “do you believe in God?” bullshit.

Instead of politely ejecting from the conversation I engaged. “Actually, I’m an atheist!” Still cringe thinking about it.

He asked me how I could not believe in God. Brought up examples of God’s creations. Talked about how perfect the human eye was.

I said, “Actually, the human eye can’t even detect infrared light!”

Boom, roasted.

He said without a God, people become their own God. And that’s dangerous.

I said, “Absolutely, dude. I am my own God.” And I meant it.

I was my own moral compass. My personal beliefs were my religion. And God, to me, was a security blanket for under-evolved primates who were still afraid of the dark night of death.

I was so damn pleased with myself.

Symbolically, I had became the very thing I was against:

I hated Christianity, so I became my own God.

{“Battle not with monsters,” gazing into the abyss, and all that.}

But the last two years have changed my views — views I’ve had since I was a kid…

Church Is Lame

I never grew up with Christianity in the home. Or Atheism, for that matter. Was pretty unique:

God and church just weren’t in the conversation. Sundays were for playing in basketball tournaments. Christmas was for gifts and fun, not God. Mom might have us read the nativity story on Christmas Eve, but only if she remembered. Easter was for eating chocolate.

Hell, I might be misremembering this, but I think my dad would go pick up my grandma on Easter day. Drop her off at the church. Then pick her ass up after service and take her to our place for brunch. Dude was like, “Yeah, I’m not gonna go to church with you Mom, see ya at 11.” LOL

Again: Church just wasn’t our thing. And neither was atheism.

Which allowed me to come to my own conclusions.

In my twenties that conclusion was:

“There is no God.”

My certainty was rooted in this fact:

No scientific evidence has ever surfaced to indicate there’s a God.

“No white beard man in sky,” says the intellectual masturbator––

not realizing my whole identity was predicated on a strawman —

I look back at my younger self and say, “No shit there’s no Michelangelo God in the heavens. Nobody believes that.”

If this mfer ain’t in the sky, then God is a lie

It took me a loooong time to see that God isn’t a thing or a guy…

God is a metaphor.

The absence of a literal God has no bearing on God’s existence as a metaphor.

There’s no man in the sky watching my every move. It’s a metaphor telling me everything I do matters.

There’s no literal flood waiting around the corner. But as a human, I’m constantly on the razor’s edge of destruction. It’s an allegory for our status as both predator and prey.

[The Great Flood story is deeply rooted in evolutionary psychology.]

More than that…

The most beautiful eras in human history were imbued with the divine spirit. The Renaissance. Baroque. Neoclassicism.

“No beard man in sky,” said Socrates. “Me only beard man.”

The Atheist mentality is hollow. Devoid of spirit. It can only lead to nihilism. Can only lead to the concrete brutalism of the 20th century.

Atheism gave us postmodernism. Deconstructionism. Communism.

It almost doesn’t matter if Atheism is right or wrong in a technical sense — it simply doesn’t work.

This has never been more obvious than in the last two years.

Follow The Science™

In the early aughts, self-congratulatory atheism became enmeshed with a deification of The Science™. Not actual science, or the scientific method. Nobody cared about posing hypotheses and seeking out information to prove them wrong.

I mean The Science™ as an idea. As nothing more than the thing that proves there is no God.

You’d see it in memes and shit, especially around 2010.

People masturbating over Richard Dawkins shutting down some pastor’s argument for God.

People posting that meme of Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad going “Yeah, Science!” whenever someone proved God wasn’t real.

If only this poor youth had found the church!!!

Over time, The Science™ has become a new religion in our country.

Look at the language we’ve adopted in the last two years:

  • Follow The Science™.
  • Don’t you believe in Science?
  • Trust The Science.

Okay, great. Which scientific journals do you follow, exactly? The New England Journal of Medicine, or what?

When we say these things, what we really mean is “Follow what my computer screen told me.”

Without any substance to back up those assertions, you might as well be saying:

  • Follow God.
  • Don’t you believe in God?
  • Trust God.

Not everyone deifies Science in this way. Some people choose politics. Food. Money. Etc.

Regardless — look where our displaced deification has led us: the spirit of our country is broken. We lack trust. We lack confidence. And dare I say…

We lack faith.

God Has Left America

An America without God cannot stand.

It doesn’t matter if that’s a Christian God. Muslim God. Or, in my case, an atheist God.

God is not real. But we must act as though It is.

And this isn’t some 21st century Pascal’s wager. “Believe in God just in case he’s real!” No.

I pray to God because I know a literal God doesn’t exist. But that doesn’t mean He’s not real inside of me.

To be against God is to be against man. Because every individual is born with a divine spark inside him. To negate that is to negate the part of us that makes us Not An Animal.

That’s not to say I’ve accepted Christ into my life, read the bible, or go to church.

I simply make an effort to act in accordance with a higher spirit. To tie some golden thread running through my body into the earth and up to the heavens.

To give something up to God.

I started this practice a few months ago, after I discovered yoga. At the end of each class, we said Namaste. Thought that was kinda cool.

Asked myself, “How is yoga practice any different from prayer?”

Realized it wasn’t.

Decided to try praying for the first time. I felt awkward and lame, but I liked how it felt. It opened some source of light inside me.

Now I do it a bit more regularly.

When I pray, I pray in gratitude for things I don’t yet have.

I ask for power. For love. For wisdom.

I say “God” but I’m not asking Cloud Man in Sky.

I’m asking myself —

I am praying to the God in me. But not in the way my 25-year-old Atheistic self meant it. When I talked to that evangelical guy at that picnic.

I am not my own God. That’s too complete. Too simple.

Instead, there’s a part of me that is God. A divine spark.

A tap into the universe. The part that I align with when I pray.

And when I pray, it puts me on a new vibration. It improves my mood. Helps ease my anxiety. There’s also scientific evidence that prayer improves focus and mood.

You see that, ya nerds? Scientific evidence. Linked the study and everything.

In my experience, prayer works.

Does that mean there’s a God?

No. It doesn’t

But here’s the thing, slick:

It actually doesn’t matter.

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Author, Yogi, and Lead Crypto Game Writer in Austin, TX. Greg-Larson.com

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Greg Larson

Greg Larson

Author, Yogi, and Lead Crypto Game Writer in Austin, TX. Greg-Larson.com

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