The Armenian Genocide is arguably one of the biggest parts of recent Armenian history and without question the most devastating event the Armenian people have faced. The two times that I have visited the Dzitzernakapert memorial, I have left with tears streaming from my eyes. The pure and utter grief I feel from viewing the records from the museum of the attempted annihilation of my people is too much for me to hold in. It makes me wonder how such cruelty and inhumanity can even exist in the world.
And then I am soon reminded by the many crosses that our country bears that we are apparently a very dedicated Christian people. The sadness I feel then slowly turns into anger. Personally, it baffles me at how submissive people seem to act when it comes to religion. Despite pain, suffering, death, war, famine, disease, and genocide; people still have an undying love for God and their religion. How can people suffer through so much hardship and still bear to turn the other cheek. It seems to me that some Armenians may even just enjoy the bragging rights of being the first Christian nation. Although I know and understand the important role the Armenian church played in organizing Armenians when we had no other form of a strong Armenian community, it does not ring true today since we now have an independent nation and a great many diasporan Armenian organizations that unite our people outside of the homeland. The country is suffering economically and requires basic infrastructure and social programs like roads, schools, hospitals, street lighting, trash pick up, etc. Yet at any chance they can get, they build new churches everywhere. I appreciate the old churches we have for its historical and architectural value, but it just seems illogical to keep building new churches when the country needs money for many other things. The churches literally contribute nothing but false hope to the society; meanwhile building a school or hospital can impact a community for many generations to come.
My reasons for losing my faith I think are very simple and I am surprised there are not more Armenians like me. After seeing records and pictures of the genocide, I started raising questions to myself about morality. The usual questions came up of how bad things happen to good people; is it worth the suffering and pain if in the end an eternity of heaven is granted; until at last I thought of the existence of evil. I personally don’t think that any human can necessarily be what is considered “evil”. It’s always points of view and which side of the fence you’re sitting on. To me, someone being evil is someone who is sane and acts only to cause harm and devastation without concrete reason to their cause. With this in mind, I visited the genocide memorial and witnessed the accounts of what happened almost one hundred years ago. The only things I could think of was that I hope that there is no God, because if there is, he knew of what would happen, he witnessed what happened, he allowed it to happen, and he has yet to punish those responsible for it. If this God were to exist, he does not sound like the all powerful, knowledgable and loving God that people are told about. He sounds cruel, evil, and worse than the devil. If we are God’s children, and he punishes some with death and disease to teach others to live better, I don’t want that God. I find it incredibly difficult to think that any sane person on the face of this earth would even think to kill one of their children in order to teach the other. That’s why I don’t believe in any sort of deity or super natural powers, because I can’t even begin to imagine such evil existing and controlling everything in the universe. In politics, we praise democracy and freedom while we talk down against tyranny and dictators, but when the same instances of dictatorship and censorship are present in religion, we turn a blind eye to it and make exceptions for the church.
I didn’t write this blog to verbally harass Christianity or any other religion. I can understand and respect peoples reasons for being religious, spiritual, or having faith. Everybody is entitled to believe in anything they desire. I’m just bothered by those who claim to hold actual knowledge and truth of a supernatural deity without any real proof. I’m also bothered by those who claim to be religious, but are only religious because they were raised that way and have never actually sat down to think for themselves what they really believe. People should not have to wait and suffer in order to by chance get some kind compensation from a god. People should take hold of their own destiny and act to make their own lives better for themselves, not for some god. I’ve written this blog to express myself openly and freely as an Armenian atheist that is a proud member of the AYF. I want people to know that Armenians do not necessarily have to be tied down to Christianity and that we should embrace any religion, or non religion since there are some people that have even told me that an Armenian must be a Christian or else he/she is not an Armenian at all. We as a people need to progress and embrace a more secular approach to religion and do away with the traditional archaic ideologies.