As another year comes to an end, I wonder what I have achieved so far. That my relationship with religious faith has, more or less, come to an end is evident. I am still struggling to find God within all that has transpired over the last year.
My wife had a harrowing, child-birth experience from which she is still recovering: physically and psychologically. Throughout this time, I have longed for her pain to be over. I have wished for the existence of a Benevolent and Merciful God, who would respond to the agonizing cries of my wife and alleviate her suffering.
But, from an atheistic perspective, it has always been wishful thinking. “Of course, there is no God! No super-natural power to answer your prayers.” In my head, I often hear similar sentences in the voice of Richard Dawkins.
In times of utter distress and tragedy, man has yearned for something, for someone that may provide solace and comfort.
Putting the thinking cap on, I know that neither the doctors nor my or my wife’s parents or friends or colleagues can be of much help in healing the wounds of my wife. Yet one hopes for Mother Nature to operate in her mysterious ways and create a ‘medical miracle‘ of sorts.
Ah, well, life is indeed weirder than we can imagine. Though we do not see the so-called laws of Nature be broken every now and then, phenomena do occur that lack the so-called scientific explanation. The occurrence of such phenomena does not prove anything except our very own ignorance about the nature of Nature. However, it does prove – to quote Carl Sagan – that ‘the cosmos is full beyond measure of elegant truths; of exquisite interrelationships; of the awesome machinery of nature.’
In circumstances such as these, do I feel the need to pray to someone or something? Perhaps. But, then again, what is a prayer? I don’t have a personal definition but to quote Sir Muhammad Iqbal:
Prayer… is an expression of man’s inner yearning for a response in the awful silence of the universe. It is a unique process of discovery whereby the searching ego affirms itself in the very moment of self-negation, and thus discovers its own worth and justification as a dynamic factor in the life of the universe.
Maybe, that’s all I can suggest to my wife: to be optimistic and hopeful by believing in her own-self as a ‘dynamic factor.’ To see herself as an agent of change and free-will in the cosmos, who is capable of overcoming all the obstacles of life.
Perhaps, then, in the quintessential mystical sense, belief in God is tantamount to belief in one’s own self. I find this to be an extremely spiritually uplifting thought. It gives me (and my wife) hope to carry on living no matter how bad things get. After all, life is the greatest gift of Nature…