Cailin beautifully explains an atheist’s sense of awe in the world:
For me, the incredible existence of this amazing galaxy and everything within it becomes dulled and somewhat less incredible when someone claims it to have all been created by the will of some macro-being. What could be more wondrous and remarkable than existence without initial intervention by an outside source? A universe which may have always existed in an eternal cycle of birth and destruction without end. One might scoff at the idea of an eternal universe, but really how is it any different than an eternal god who creates the universe and always existed. Why not cut out the middle-man all together and give the universe the appreciation it deserves? The universe commands no worship, hands down no dogma, no edicts of morality or righteousness, damns no man to Hell and has no special “plan” for you or anyone else. Yes, it requires a great humbling of the human ego.
I cannot claim to know the One and Only Truth of existence, but I feel the path I’m on leads me to a much richer and more fulfilling life experience than those who are tied to the doctrine of ancient peoples with ancient beliefs for purposes of human domination, control, and power.
Atheists don’t get off scot-free in her opinion. There’s one thing we don’t have — that religious groups provide very well — that we need to improve upon:
I do acknowledge one major point which secular-thinking fails to fill human need, and that is Community. This is by far one of the most important systems in our human life and the non-religious have difficulty creating the feeling of oneness and support which is a trademark of religious belief. It is not an impossibility, I believe, but rather a matter of realizing this need exists and finding a way to bring people together through the desire to help humanity and our common love for the human-spirit and all that we can accomplish.
I absolutely agree with Cailin. There are national, local, and online groups everywhere that try to provide this community. But when individual atheists are unwilling to join, it’s hard to get anything going. Some say it’s just the atheists’ nature not to join anything “organized.” But it’s our downfall, too.
I constantly hear from secular college students who are thrilled to meet other atheists on campus. They didn’t know there were others like them. Being able to have social gatherings and discussions with other like-minded people provide some of the most memorable college experiences for these students.
Why that doesn’t continue after college, and what we can do to change that, I don’t know.