Having stated in my last post that I am a supporter of pluralism, especially when it comes to spiritual matters, I feel it is the appropriate time to address something. Atheism.
And right up-front I want to distinguish between atheists/agnostics who merely do not believe/are not sure if they believe, and a flat out anti-God person. Asuras, as they are called by Hindus. Demonic entities who do what they can to hinder the progress of other souls. This is not something I support, for obvious reasons. But even the life of an asura is a step toward moksha. They clear karma by the experience. The only step back away from moksha was what led them to become an asura to begin with.
But back to plain old atheists, who mean nobody any harm. It always bothers me when people (usually Christians) wonder aloud how a person who doesn’t believe in God could know the difference between right and wrong. Morality is a tool we are all equipped with, a light guiding each of us through the world as we know it as individuals, this being a world of duality. But as the Bible and the Gita both suggest, being a “good” person has merits that only lead so far.
Atheism, I suspect, is a path which is the result of very specific samskaras, karmic imprints. I suspect it is a path which comes with its own specific set of dharmas. Having said this, I suppose it follows that being an atheist is no more of a choice than being Caucasian. And here again, I must make a distinction: this time between the atheist and one who makes the conscious choice to live aloof to and disinterested in That upon which life depends.
I suspect that the dharma of an atheist is to come to know total independence (or at least the impression of being totally independent. If, as an atheist, you do not recognize That upon which your every activity rests, then you are, in your own mind independent. Never mind that a greater independence comes in moksha.
One of my longest friendships is with an atheist. He doesn’t step on my toes and I don’t step on his when it comes to our respective belief systems. What I do know is that he lives his life happily and contentedly, though always active. Many believers seem to think an atheist must be miserable daily confronting the (for them) fact that this is it, there is no more. I have not found that to be true. I feel like the finite nature of life as an atheist knows it moves them to just “get on with it”. We who have a belief in “Something-Not-Of-This-World” may over-think things at times.
Which leads me to a second purpose of atheism. Focus. No dogmas, no rules, and your mind is free. Many atheists are devout meditators, which can’t help but promote some form of Self-Realization. Sounds like I am advocating atheism, but I am not. Nor am I advocating theism. I simply tend to believe that in every soul’s sojourn from life to life, there comes a time when it needs to take a lifetime to clear out some cobwebs. It is not a step back. It is a repose from what the spiritually minded accept as “striving” and yet it is a path.