This article is inspired by Sqeakers1 "The Change" in which she battles with her beliefs.
The question is "Are you happy?" It's a concept that even America's founding fathers couldn't ignore, seeing as the Declaration of Independence itself says "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Now, whether your creator be a four-armed blue man named Shiva, an image-less higher power named Jehovah, or a molecular organism that underwent evolution, I believe we all have a right to be happy with our belief system. Argue all you will, it is still a belief that there is no God, so this includes Atheism.
Why, then, do I run into so many people who have given up their happiness to either please the masses, please an authoritative figure, or to take their frustration out on a belief that failed to stop a tragic event?
I believe that everyone is obligated to pursue happiness, and in what package that happiness will come is up to you. There are, however, more than enough sour and dictatorial individuals who will not rest until they have converted all humans to their system of logic. But why?
Two years ago I hit rock bottom in my religious crisis. I was raised in a mainly Christian family and my grandparents are Jehovah Witnesses. (This is excluding my uncle who practices Wicca!) My sister, a very "distant" girl if I ever saw one, took me along for a ride in her own trials and tribulations with religion. She is a "Give me tangible evidence!" type gal, so, needless to say, we all saw it coming that she would pour her heart out into this investigation. Every few weeks I'd inquire about her discoveries and a while later she would slip her notebook under my bedroom door to let me review her notes. Days later her persona had done a 360. She became a bit more irritable, always on defense-mode, and it was easy to aggravate her. One night I remember hearing a sort of sniveling in her bedroom. It dawned on me that she was crying. Taking into account her recent change in character, I thought it best to leave her alone.
The next morning I walked her to school. She seemed oddly happy which concerned me. When I returned home I went into her bedroom and located the notebook (whose last few pages were warped with tear stains.) The notes there seemed nothing out of the ordinary. It was the science of The Big Bang and The Big Crunch, or in simplistic terms, the birth, death, and rebirth of the universe. Suddenly I was reading a vehement speech about her lost faith, her pain, and that she'd come to the conclusion their was no God. But the tear stains were thickest around this statement: "I've just now realized I will never see my father again." That's when I hit rock bottom. My chest hurt and I broke down. Later that evening I asked her about her research and she said this, "I think I was an Atheist yesterday, and it really wasn't for me. I asked myself about the chance that the universe's creation was spontaneous, that the laws of nature's programming was coincidental, but any other person would see there is an intelligence behind it. I'm listening to my sixth sense now and it tells me there's something more out there. I think I'll believe in my own God, one I'll name myself."
I really do look up to my sister because she showed me that even popular theory fails to explain the whole of its content. Sure, the law that mass cannot be destroyed or created suggests the universe dies and is reborn in a cycle, but it does not prove or disprove a God. So, why should we feel guilty for praying to one? Why should we feel guilty believing or not believing, so long as it makes us happy?
My sister and I believe in a God. We believe we will see our father again, and more importantly, we believe you are not in the right belief system if it doesn't make you happy. Because we choose to believe in a God does not mean we are ignorant of fact or science. It does not mean we will reject man's help when it is needed. It is our comfort and our answer to what is currently unknown.
And for those of you who have a vendetta to convert everyone to your state of mind, shame on you. As long as people are safe, happy, and healthy, it should not matter if they believe or disbelieve.