It is entirely possible for the most cynical atheist to find God. Or, for that matter, for God to find the cynical atheist, while they're minding their own business watching TV on a Tuesday evening in May.

God does not and can not exist

I'm still not sure if I should be writing this - it's so exciting that I have to shout and tell the world. But, I'm wondering if it's only exciting to me. I've spent thirty years (or the portion of those thirty years during which I've been able to read) ignoring, rejecting or deriding God and those who might be sad enough to follow Him. I don't blame you if you're feeling the same. Who cares, right? I was never christened - my quasi-hippy mother had decided that if I was going to be a christian at any point, it would be my decision, not one made for me before I could defend my views. Because of that, I never sang the hymns in school assembly, I never bowed my head in prayer. I got in trouble for that, because we were all expected to do so. However, I felt that pretending to believe when I truly didn't was morally more wrong than not believing in the first place.

So, until Tuesday the 24th of May, I was a card-carrying atheist. It was absolutely ludicrous to me that you could have an imaginary friend who loved you, while telling you to beat up all the other people with different imaginary friends. While loving everyone, he decided to sent plagues and pestilence? We're all expected to fear him, when he obviously doesn't exist? What complete poppycock. Organised religion is a method for controlling the masses.

On that Tuesday evening, however, at around 9:55pm, something strange happened. I was watching a TV programme about five men who visited a Monastery for six weeks to find themselves, God, inner peace, or whatever they were searching for. I had watched the rest of the three-part series with interest, but had felt nothing special until these last five minutes. I had made up my mind that monks should be allowed the lives they choose - they perform useful roles in the community, and aren't just running away from life. But I was still a scientific-minded cynic who could not possibly be made to believe in a higher being who looks over us all. So that was that. All sorted out. They could have their beliefs and I'll have mine.

All Change

On that Tuesday evening, God found me.

I won't say that I found God. I wasn't looking for him. But He found me for sure, and I can't imagine that I will ever doubt His existence again. You never know, things change, the world turns, water runs under the bridge, and I may turn in a different direction again. However, they'll need a pretty good explanation of what happened to me on that evening.

It was not a magic trick. It was not the intoxicating influence of alcohol, drugs or any other chemicals. It was not a vision. It was not a voice. It was not a light. It was not a hallucination due to tiredness or illness. I was not looking for anything. It was not one of my rare bouts of depersonalisation.

I can't really describe what happened - but it was more uplifting than anything I have previously experienced. It was warmer than anything I have previously experienced. I was struck dumb briefly - either a reluctance, or an inability to say anything. I was quite literally lost for words.

The beginning of a journey

Now I've been touched, I feel the need to find out more. I didn't previously think I had any of the problems which would traditionally make someone turn to God or look for a better life, or inner peace, or whatever. I'm good at taking my life in hand, sorting out problems and keeping myself and my loved ones alive, healthy and happy.

However much I thought I was happy, my changed outlook has opened up a new plane of existence, with a level of deep inner contentment which I realise I have been lacking. I am still very much in the early stages of my journey - three weeks is not a very long time, but my initial reading on the matter suggests that I am allowed to continue my life as a money earner, have fun, have posessions, drink alcohol, and consume, while still following a path with God.

I have begun with the Rule of Benedict. That's Rule as in the thing you draw straight lines with, not as in "No Cycling". I had also been reading wisdom from the Dalai Lama for some time before any of the events described. I assume that at some time, they're going to have to have a bun-fight in my mind while I work out which one is right - current guess: both of them.

So here we go, thirty years into life, on a new path. Or, more accurately, on a path at all.

Sure, there are people who blindy follow religion without thinking about it. They go to church because that's what you do. They don't, for one minute, actually feel it. They're not wrong, but I don't want to be one of them. I'd rather feel it and never go to church.

There are those who go to church for spiritually economic reasons. If Joe Arsehole from Third World Debt Collectors Inc. goes to church so that he doesn't feel so bad about his job and life, then I think he's missed the point. I don't want to be one of them.

I don't know what my immediate future holds, but I know it will be a better future for myself, and those around me.

Thanks for indulging me. I'll shut up now.