God is making me an atheist…REALLY???

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by Kenneth Justice

~ “Christmas is just around the corner and some days I feel like God is making me into an atheist” said my friend at coffee last week. My friend was lamenting the commercialization of the holiday and the way in which holidays in the West sometimes lose their luster amidst all the fanfare of money, money, and money. I suspect that quite a few of us feel like Charlie Brown when the holidays come around,

I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel. I just don’t understand Christmas, I guess. I like getting presents and sending Christmas cards, and decorating trees and all that, but I’m still not happy. I always end up feeling depressed”

Statistically, a LOT Of people get depressed during the holidays. Whether it is because their loved ones died and are no longer with them, whether it is because they are simply lonely and not close to anyone, or for a variety of reasons, the holidays tend to lead a lot of people to greater depths of sadness.

I have to confess, as much as I love Christmas Eve mass and all the other trimmings around the holiday, I tend to get a little bit sad myself. The older I get the more attention I give to the meaning of life. My father and two closest uncles all died within the last six years and every time a loved one dies it makes me realize how frail our lives are……we’re only but a breath away from the end of this life.

I can relate to my friend at coffee, sometimes life doesn’t make any sense, sometimes it seems like god is trying to make me into an atheist.

Whether it is all the craziness going on in the Middle East, the child slaves in the Ivory Coast, the Ebola epidemic in Africa, the hostages in Australia, or fill-in-the-blank; there is so much misery around the world and more often than not Western Society masks itself with superficial nonsense so we don’t have to pay much attention to all of the sadness around the world.

I realize we can’t live every moment in constant mourning over the unhappiness that is occurring around the globe, but I’m reminded that Jesus when he walked this earth was referred to as “the man of sorrows”. I suspect as much as he tried to enjoy the feasts and holidays that occurred in his day, it was probably difficult for him to forget all of the hurting people around the world.

Somehow we have to find a balance between celebrating the joy of a holiday, while at the same time not losing perspective of the things that matter most.

Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee this morning,

Kenneth



Categories: Culture & Society

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23 replies

  1. I think it all depends on our viewpoint of what “God” actually is . . . and how one visualizes God(s) seems to be as variable as our fingerprints.

  2. makes me realize how frail our lives are……we’re only but a breath away from the end of this life. . . .

    or the beginning of a far greater adventure!! The only thing scary about dying are the ways we try to keep from doing it. . . .

  3. There is no Ebola epidemic in Africa Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone. From: The Culture MonkSent: Monday 15 December 2014 15:12To: weirdpainterartist@gmail.comReply To: The Culture MonkSubject: [New post] God is making me an atheist…REALLY???

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    culturemonk posted: ”

    by Kenneth Justice

    ~ “Christmas is just around the corner and some days I feel like God is making me into an atheist” said my friend at coffee last week. My friend was lamenting the commercialization of the holiday and the way in which holidays in “

  4. Agree. Balancing is very important.

    >

  5. Hey, maybe that’s why Advent used to be a penitential season. You could grieve for the sins of the world for four weeks (with a break on Guadalete sunday), then welcome joy into your heart when the Babe was smiling at you from the manger. Those crusty medieval types were smarter than we give them credit for. (Granted, the traditions are older, but the traditions were codified in into the calendar in the Middle Ages.)

    ~~ Margot.

  6. Count it joy when you encounter trials, for the testing of your faith produces patient endurance … so that you may be complete, lacking nothing (James 1). We can find joy at Christmas, even in our sadness, knowing it is all working to make us complete persons.

  7. It struck me as a bit odd that the ills of the world should necessarily lead one to atheism. In a simplistic and not so complimentary way it associates a lack of morality with those who don’t believe there is a God. Being an atheist has in fact increased my happiness and made me more able to deal with the ills of the world. I did not arrive at my atheism alone though observing the “evil” in the world, but rather through also the enjoyment of learning and discovery. Through the realization that understanding brings as much spiritual fulfillment as the mystery or in many cases the ignorance of things that we actually know a lot about. The realization that I was an atheist had nothing to do with a feeling of the supernatural guiding me in that direction, but rather the realization that I had arrived there all on my own, and that belief in the supernatural was an unnecessary part of me being good, moral, happy, courageous, etc. Perhaps there are some people who become atheists in a depressive state, but this is certainly not a majority of cases.

    I’ve read enough of your stuff Kenneth to know that’s not what you were implying, but rather it is the quote that initiated this post that sort of bothers me.

    • I wonder if it’s more along the lines of not wanting to be associated with belief in God because so many ills in the world are perpetrated in the name of a higher power. Namely Islamic-based terrorism and the violent bullying and internal incarceration by the USA, a nation supposedly led primarily by Christians.

    • I agree that there are many things that make one question the concept of God being good and all powerful when such horrible acts are perpetrated by mankind, but the belief in the supernatural is not incompatible with the existence of good and evil either. Many people justify such evil as punishment for sins and thus just, some would ascribe the devil as playing a bigger role. I guess I just feel that atheism isn’t just the place you arrive when you are too depressed about all the negative parts of the world. A lack of belief can arise out of inspiration, curiosity, learning. We are all born atheists and I don’t think the world has to beat us down to become that again. 🙂

    • The problem of evil is often the start of people’s journey into atheism because they must ask tough questions. It was for me.

  8. Hi Kenneth,

    Here’s my question: Why do we blame God for all the bad stuff we humans do?

    God didn’t make Christmas all about money, money, money. We did. Perhaps it’s time to grow up and take responsibility for our own lives instead of blaming Daddy for everything that’s going wrong in our world?

  9. Great post Kenneth. I always get depressed when in Canada for Christmas. Usually when I go to the shopping mall with my mom and feel like I have to buy nice gifts for everyone with very little money. Here in Brazil it is sooooo much simpler. Yes, there is tons of commercialism and buying and selling and all that. But it’s so much easier here to just do things simple. I love the Christmas season, but what I love about it is the meeting with family and friends, the coziness and all.
    “every time a loved one dies it makes me realize how frail our lives are……we’re only but a breath away from the end of this life.”
    –Me too. I think about this a lot.
    Hope you’re well.
    🙂

  10. I’m confused as to why your friend is making the claim that god might be making him/her an atheist?

  11. I’ve started enjoying the Christmas season far more since I phased out the gift exchanging portion. Aside from the masses of stressed out drivers on the road. It’s nice to not be one of them though!

  12. Like some others here, I don’t “get” why God gets the blame for the evil and suffering in the world.

    What’s God supposed to do? Force everyone to be nice to each other? We all act on our impulses. When some of act selflessly, and pour our lives out for others, it is remarkably inspiring and healing. Others of us give ourselves over to self-serving impulses, routinely hurting other people. God doesn’t negate our humanity by overriding our will, but neither does He leave us all to ourselves. The point of God sending a Savior for us was to do something about the evil, suffering, pain, violence, injustice, ignorance, and arrogance in the world. He is in the process of making all things new, beginning with spiritual rebirth of the human heart, for anyone willing to accept His invitation.

    Thus He offers salvation and relational restoration without negating free will. Everyone ultimately gets what they want.

  13. Commercialisation is one aspect of it. this is not something that is restricted to the West. It is happening in “spiritual” India as well. However, we are supposed to feel happy during the holidays. All the cards and societal norms point towards that way. Happiness has become a duty…

  14. I get depressed around christmas. I was always this way as far as I can remember. People distract themselves with a bunch of nonsense about santa claus and buying strange things they never would any other time of year. There is no meaning in it for me.

  15. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Merry Christmas Kenneth

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