I am an atheist. If people asked me what my creed is, I would refer them to the mission statement of the Richard Dawkins Foundation.
"Our mission is to support scientific education, critical thinking and evidence-based understanding of the natural world in the quest to overcome religious fundamentalism, superstition, intolerance and human suffering."
I remain "faithful" to this "creed," but these days, it's proving difficult.
Last month, I quit my job. I was a senior instructor in the company's training department for financial services. For seven and a half years, that company was my home. Last year, I was promised a promotion. It wasn't given to me. I thought, "No hard feelings." Last month, I spoke to the director of the training department, talked to her about my readiness to take on a role in management, and was asked to wait. I thought about the opportunity cost of waiting for a position to open and the possiblity of another broken promise. After much consideration, I gave my company my thirty-day notice.
I have years of experience. I am good at what I do. I was confident I would land another job right away. It's been a month since I left my company. I have been aggressively looking for employment. So far, I have only received two interview requests from companies who, in the end, said they couldn't afford me.
Last night, after my girlfriend and I projected our expenses against our remaining savings, I was tempted to pray. The thought that we only had enough funds left to sustain us for two more months wouldn't leave me. I found myself getting out of bed and going to the kitchen and plainly arguing with myself. I couldn't silence this little voice inside my head saying "Now would be a really good time to talk to the god you decided to stop believing in."
I am putting this out there because it made me curious - why does it feel so tempting now to irrationally surrender to the supernatural? Why does Carrie Underwood's song 'Jesus Take the Wheel' seem to make perfect sense again? To be honest, I don't know. I have a suspect, though: for nearly three decades, that was my training - when the challenge seems to big for you, when the mountain seems too high or the valley seems too low, reach out to god. I suspect that praying seems tempting during these trying times because it was what I was trained to do. And I was trained well, too well.
Staying true to my 'creed', I am employing critical thinking to have an evidence-based understanding of a person's inclination towards prayer especially during hard times. Personally, I want to understand so that I can overcome whatever remnants of religious fundamentalism remain inside me. And this being the 'Discussion' section, I would greatly appreciate it if you would express your thoughts on the question. Thank you.