Why I Like Religion Even As An Atheist

I never grew up religious.

My parents were Buddhist, but they never forced me into anything. They wanted me to practice Buddhist traditions, but never really taught it to me. I’m glad they didn’t smother me with religion, and sort of just let me figure it out for myself.

But as I experienced life living on my own, I started to notice more about the benefits of practicing a religion.

The one thing that religions do well is that they provide a regular communal space in order to reflect on life and how we can be better people.

Photo by  Josh Applegate  on  Unsplash

Life can get incredibly lonely if you let it.

What going to Sunday Church allows one to do is connect with philosophical ideas in a group setting. It can be an environment for intentional reflection and positivity — which I feel a lot of atheist people lack.

Of course different religions have their faults historically (and I’m not saying I’m going to church this Sunday), but I wonder if there’s a way to create a regular communal space for positivity and reflection for people who aren’t religious.

In his book Essentialism, Greg McKeown details the need for rest and reflection in our lives. It’s absolutely essential to have these two things in order to thrive. We need at least 8 hours of sleep a day and we need to reflect on how we’re doing at least weekly (if not daily).

If we don’t take the time to intentionally check on how we’re doing weekly, then we often fall into the spiral where we just let life happen to us. We let other people dictate what our schedules are, and occupy the rest of our time with brain-numbing entertainment as a “chaser”. By the time a certain number of months or even years passes, we’ve put in so little time into thinking if what we’re doing is actually the direction we want to go in.

I’ve been trying to think more like an essentialist.

I’m starting to notice how many things I’ve tried to squeeze into my life, into my calendar, that are simply just non-essential. I’ve become that “busy person” that tries to do too much. And I hate that.

So I’m doing some ruthless cutting off of things that are not a high priority to me.

I need to narrow my focus in order to do the few things I want to do well, extremely well.

Some of those priorities right now include:

  1. Sleeping 8 hours

  2. Creating video content

  3. Deep diving into my hobby of cooking

By focusing on only a select few things, and having extreme lenience for the other things in my life, I can thrive. For example, I don’t have to make every gym session I schedule. It’d be nice to make it — because I know the benefits — but if it interferes with my 8 hours of sleep, it will get cut.

I’ve always had so much dispersed focus that I accomplished lots of small steps towards different things, but never really took the time to get good at just a few things. That’s going to change.

That’s the purpose of this Q4: figure out what is essential and ruthlessly cut off the non-essential. Start making priorities and don’t accept anything less than the top 10% of options that come your way.

If you don’t make specified criteria to evaluate your decisions, then you’ll accept pretty much everything in the effort to achieve more.

And you might be like “Evan, what’s wrong with achieving more?” Well the thing is, we don’t need to be achieving a general statement of “more”. We need to be achieving more of what we want to achieve, and that needs to be intentional.

Yes, have time for your other interests, but that does not take priority over your main thing.

So my next post on Saturday, I’m going to outline what my desired outcomes are going to be for Q4. See you then!