If not God, then what?

I’m reading Jerry Pinto’s “Em and The Big Hoom”. Right now, the protagonist is losing faith in God seeing his mother’s suffering due to manic depression.

Here’s what he says –

No one could offer any explanation for the suffering I watched my mother go through. Nothing I read or heard fitted with the notion of a compassionate God, and God’s compassion, one uncomplicated, unequivocal miracle of kindness , was the only thing that could have helped. The sophisticated arguments of all the wise men of faith— their talk about the sins of a past life, the attachment to desire, the lack of perfect submission— only convinced me that there was something capricious about God. How could one demand perfect submission from those who are imperfect? How could one create desire and then expect everyone to pull the plug on it? And if God were capricious, then God was imperfect. If God were imperfect, God was not God.”

And it got me thinking. We all have our moments when we doubt our faith and our very belief in God. Especially in times of strife and loss. It’s probably a very human reaction to pain – the “why me?” and the “how can God let it happen?” parts. I have had those moments too. But it didn’t last all that long. Why?

Because every one of those times, I asked myself what will I do when I’m confronted with something beyond my control, which hurts me or the ones I love. And the only answer I get is I’d pray.

And I wonder what the atheists do. What do they believe in? In their most desperate, vulnerable and helpless moments, whom do they turn to? Do they get any answers to the “why me?”?


Unrelated pic: a rainy day and a little boy by the window.


2 thoughts on “If not God, then what?

  1. I can’t speak for all atheists, but I think most of them realise the futility of prayer and the utter indifference that the universe shows to human ambitions.

    For an atheist, the “why me?” question is a meaningless one. It is grammatically correct and that’s all it has going for it.

    Because there is no father figure out there watching over you to even ask this “why me?” question. It is obvious that he is not eavesdropping on mumbled utterances of whining, however sincere, and actively take part through divine intervention. We are the makers of our destiny and writers of our own future.

    Some might find this view bleak and nihilistic, but I find it liberating and awe-inspiring. Better by far to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring fable.

    I’ll recommend the Carl Sagan series Cosmos, available free on youtube. There is a book too, of the same name.


    • Thanks for the comment, Mathi. I understand the part about being the master of your own destiny. But what I’m unable to imagine (since how I believe very strongly in the ‘fable’ of a supreme power) is, in that moment of complete and utter despair, when you might be losing your most loved thing, whom do you ask for help? Even by mistake, there won’t be a small teensy weensy little voice asking ‘someone’ to help? I don’t know. Maybe it’s equally unfathomable for an atheist to look at us and wonder how we so readily embrace the concept of an omnipotent omnipresent being! 🙂

      I will check out the book/series, thank you for the recco!


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