I just posted this message on the Chronic Fatigue Treatments Forums, and thought it was too good not to repost here:
Jj85 wrote: “I’ve often wondered if there’s any correlation between this disease and not believing in God.”
There is a good reason that the irrational belief in God has been around for sooooo long, and still persists even in today’s modern, scientific society. A big part of it is driven by the desire to relieve fear; a desire to control an emotion so strong and debilitating, that it over-rules even the most rational thinking. Try debating the existence of God with a fundamentalist of any theistic persuasion, and you come up against this immediately: the fear is so strong, they’re not going to even consider the possibility that the God they think of as looking out for them might not be there. Or the eternal life. Or the 72 virgins. Or whatever.
As an atheist, I don’t have God to fall back on and make me feel better about situations which I appear to have little control over. I do think this makes us more susceptible to anxiety-based conditions like CFS. I probably wouldn’t have conceded this before spending the last 2-years feeling like a train wreck; I would have been too busy “correcting” all those foolish theists and trying to “help” them see the errors of their ways.
Ultimately, the spiritual path I’m on isn’t about finding God: it’s about finding and believing in my true self. Any time we rely on external sources for our own happiness and well-being, whether they be ideas like God, or doctors, or friends, or family members, society, whatever… we place ourselves at the mercy of someone else. Maybe this is just inherent to the human condition. Or maybe I’d have a stronger belief in myself if I hadn’t been indoctrinated into placing my trust in a deity who doesn’t come through with the goods time and again, when I was a kid. Who knows. Either way, the only path forward for me is to learn to trust not in some external God or some universal life force or other new age bullshit, but in myself.
If I can make this the reason and purpose for my CFS, then maybe it’s all worthwhile in the end.