Saturday, December 31, 2016

What I lost this year

No. This isn't a post summarizing my year, so you can safely continue reading beyond this point. Also, it isn't a rant about losses I might have faced this year. Safe still.

I have had a complicated, rather hate-filled relationship with religion for many years now, rituals particularly. I am convinced that religious rituals were introduced and improvised upon by greedy pundits to create and sustain a growing revenue stream for themselves and their progeny, so it hasn't been without disdain that I have walked into places of worship and participated in religious ceremonies (mine own wedding included). Also, schooled in an Arya Samaj educational institution made it hard for me to believe in idol worship, for the Samaj was particular about teaching us that there is only one God and (s)he doesn't live in idols and random rituals. So, the hurdle of losing belief in places of worship was crossed very early on in life. What remained beyond that was only belief in God, a supreme being.

And then 2016 happened.

I am not sure what snapped the brain, there was no big event that made me look differently at the concept of God. Perhaps, it was just too much intellectual masturbation with S or trying to see things from different points of view as part of Ze Salon. Things changed over the course of the year, and here I am, at the end of it, having lost my belief in God. Contrary to opinions I may have held in the past, that hasn't made me a happier person.

The belief in a greater God gives a sense of hope, the optimism that things will be alright even when the odds are completely stacked against one's favour. There is that teeny tiny open space beyond logic and rationale that one can fall back on to, because an unknown, abstract larger-than-life figure may potentially influence outcomes. What I have lost isn't the loss of belief in God, but that loss of a sense of irrational optimism, hope and security that I may have possessed before. It has become impossible for me to not over-analyse a situation, sit back and relax, and say "God may still wave his magic wand in my favour". It has become impossible to wonder with joy at events thinking "Miracles are possible". It has become difficult to trust in luck, chance, fate etc. In fact, it has become hard to tread that fine line of believing in random events without believing in someone trying to orchestrate the randomness. Because, the mind isn't able to process how a random event can happen, it isn't able to accept random for randomness' sake. 

This loss of belief in God could have been the worst thing to happen to me in 2016, because it has left me a lot less hopeful and a lot more cynical than I already was. I do wish I never set out on this quest, to begin with. But then there is no reversing the past, there is no way I can go back and convince myself to start believing in God now unless a big miracle happens. Or something like that.

Perhaps, 2017 would throw open a few more answers beyond the "Believe in yourself. You are your own God."

Happy New Year everyone!

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