The original saying was “God is in the details”. Why was it so easy to switch God for Devil? Perhaps, the answer is that when you start your spiritual journey looking for and poring at details, i.e.magic confirmations and mystic signs, you can end up, easily, in either of the two camps. So, for an atheist it is better not to start the journey at all, because it never ends in the middle ground. It’s either Paradise or Hell, with the latter being a much bigger continent.
But is there a purpose if you live a life devoid of such a journey?
That’s the point that drove some atheist people – considered very successful by today’s standards – over the board.
They decided there was nothing left worth living for and took the dive.
Art world examples: Alexander McQueen, Francis Bacon.
Luckily, most atheist artists carry on until the very end, believing that they can find a purpose if they keep searching for it:
Rafael (Vasari thought him to be an atheist)
Paradoxically, many people say they feel the religious feeling of grace descending upon them, when they look at the artists’ works. To add insult to injury: I’ve met many atheists who attribute intangible spiritual value to works of art by atheist artists. And they see neither pun nor contradiction in that.
Many atheist artists become religious by the end of their life.
Cezanne gave up at some point and became a devout Catholic.
Why? Certainly not because he found a proof of God’s existence. Fear of Hell?
Fear of Hell is a strong motivator.
A Russian orthodox priest I happen to know very well, when asked once, “Father, if I am a good man, but an atheist, why would I go to Hell?” replied, “I wish you knew how many good men are being tormented in Hell”, and shook his head ruefully.
What made me stop was the present continuous tense. There was so much certainty in it, it made me shudder.
That was probably the first time I thought, “MAYBE”.
Certainty can be infectious.
Certainty about the purpose of life is contagious.
The problem with faith is that the moment you start looking for a proof, a sign, a confirmation, or a miracle – you’ve already lost the right track and cartwheeled to the Devil that is in the details (ref: the very first paragraph).
It was in Mexico a few years ago, when I had the second case of “MAYBE”.
Oh, no, it was not due to my seeing Our Lady of Guadalupe (though the legend is awesome, take a minute to read it, really).
It was due to the conflict of civilizations there that you come to understand if you get a good guide (Get a good guide, that’s important!)
For thousands of years the world was split in two parts.
One had different religions, religious wars, plague, leprosy, cataclysms and, hence, steel, gunpowder, deeply stratified society, sophisticated arts, amazing poetry and music.
The other part of the world had regulated wars (Aztecs could start a war with the sole objective of controlling population), after which the winning side would incorporate the gods of the defeated tribe into their own pantheon. No mass murder, no plague, but also, no steel, no gunpowder, no comparable sophistication in arts. And no fear of death either.
And then the two parts had a nasty reunion, which defined the path our civilization would take from then on.
I say, look at this grand design.
If it was not an experiment on a grand scale set up to see which way is better for the Man, I don’t know what is.
Purely scientific approach.
Were I a god, I’d run it just like that.
Now I am waiting for the third one. There’s a saying in Russia, “God loves Trinity” meaning that when something happens for three times it is definitely a Sign.
Did I just say “a sign”?
Oh, no. I didn’t mean it!
On a lighter note:
– Why did you divorce you husband?
– We had a different POV on religion.
– He didn’t believe I was a goddess.
P.S. Thank you, the daily prompt, for inspiration!
PPS Perhaps, I need to mention Van Gogh, who renounced God – as a revenge on his father and his lost romantic love. That didn’t make him an atheist though )