Let me preface with a quote by Milan Kundera I find particularly illustrative of the most sincere motives I employed in writing this response:
"It takes great maturity to understand that the opinion we are arguing for is merely the hypothesis we favor, necessarily imperfect, probably transitory, which only very limited minds can declare to be a certainty or truth."
The article is written by a Christian who self-professes to seek calm and rational discourse with atheists, so I automatically like the guy. Being the most logical step towards reconciling any problems that may be keeping us from living in harmony with each other, I’m all for this.
I have a lot in common with the “composite sketch of American college-aged atheists” described in this article. I attended church when I was a child. The mission and message of it was indeed vague, but mostly because of the inconsistencies I observed between what was preached and what was practiced. Perhaps this was the primary reason I found the church’s answers to life’s difficult questions superficial.
Seemingly, there is only one major difference between me and the apparent pattern: I’ve always known I was an atheist. I’ve spent 23 years denying, hiding, pondering, ignoring, researching, philosophizing, accepting and debating this worldview. I’m still learning; but, having been at it longer and perhaps more rigorously than most of my peers, indulge me as I attempt to clarify the logos leading to our stray from religion.
Essentially, it all comes down to the big picture. Assuming you believe what science has thus far elucidated, that picture includes:
- The formation of every atom and every collision between every star and galaxy leading to the accretion of cosmic dust comprising our solar system,
- The statistical magnificence of our planet’s biosphere and it’s cultivation of life as we know it,
- The nearly 4 billion years of evolution that biosphere required to produce a species intelligent enough to contemplate its own complexity,
- The relatively short history of the human race, including but not limited to the rise and fall of countless civilizations, philosophies, cultures, traditions and religions,
- The patterns we can derive from what we know of our history in order to most accurately judge the present reality we all seem to be currently experiencing.
If you’re wondering from where the roots of our disenchantment with religion grow, it’s from the difficulty we have seeing Christianity as anything other than the latest trend among anthropomorphic belief systems with a statistically plausible, even likely, expiration date.
A holistic tool utilized by an infantile sentient species to unify societies and kick start our advancement to higher levels of complexity.
An infinitesimally small blip on the celestial timeline of the universe.