For most of my life I not only believed in God, I believed in a very specific, kind of embarrassing God. I believed that there was this beneficent old man (ack!) who looked upon the things I did either approvingly or with rueful, mute recrimination. I believed in a very paternalistic God, since I was raised Catholic and that's how we roll.
So, there's that.
And then there's this: when I look back at my life, I am overwhelmed by the largesse. I was raised by two people who loved me and took good care of me. I've been educated. I'm healthy. I'm married to a good man and have a daughter who is made of awesome. I have a home and a job and an adorable dog and a cat for whom the rules of longevity do not seem to apply. I live exactly where I want to live and have some awesome friends.
There are some who'd say I've been blessed.
But, there has to be a corollary. Why would I have all this and this other person dies of dysentary at 4 and this other person loses a child to cancer and this other person is swallowed up in a tsunami?
My beneficent God, it seems, is just horrible to other people. He's like a father that buys me pretty dresses and ice cream and a canopy bed while he locks his other kid , naked, in the attic and feeds her every fourth day or something. It just doesn't make sense.
And if it sounds like I'm railing against God, I'm not. Because I don't believe in God. It offends my sense of logic too profoundly. Not the part about there being some cosmic architect. The part about him being so arbitrary. It makes no sense to me. And, so I don't believe in God.
For a lot of people of faith, as I believe they're called nowadays, the concept of atheism is anathema. It seems like an absence of something, like something is missing. But, I don't see it that way at all. I don't need God. I don't miss God. Because, I'm not alone. As my boyfriend Eddie Vedder says, I can count on two hands the ones I love. And I live in this world with a billion other people, all of whom are in this with me.
My life is as rich as ever, having evicted the beneficent old man from his perch in my brain. I'm too busy trying to live a life that I approve of, too busy scolding myself when I'm mean or small or greedy or impatient, too busy with the business of being alive to worry about what happens when I'm dead.