Want to be an atheist? It can be a bumpy road. Buckle up.

Want to be an atheist? It can be a bumpy road. Buckle up. April 16, 2019

Choosing to be an atheist can be hard.

The captivating video embedded here is just a metaphorical stand-in for the demanding process that many disillusioned believers go through on the path to nonbelief.

Deconversion is often tough because all of us seem to have in our minds something akin to what some philosophers have termed a “God-shaped hole” just waiting to be filled. It’s an inexplicable yearning that seemingly wonderful, supernatural things we can only imagine might somehow be real.

Go figure.

That is the source of all religion: the wonderous engine of human imagination. But most of us just don’t seem to be able to leave it at that, simple surreal imaginings, insisting instead that what we envision in our mind’s eye actually must exist. Somewhere.

Yet, secular philosophers through the ages and other proponents of rationalist views of existence have proposed a litany of very compelling hypotheses underpinning the idea that no evidence supports the existence of supernatural beings and realms. And more and more evidence continuously emerges to support fully materialist understandings of how the cosmos was created and how it perpetually functions. No gods necessary, apparently.

So, the most challenging effort required for a rational, empirical view of the universe is to dismiss the gods in our heads as delusions — biases, unnecessary artifacts of human intellectual evolution that tend to obscure physical realities as clues to our understanding.

For some, especially those profoundly indoctrinated in religion in their youth and people with a pronounced sense of spirituality, leaving the divine can be a wrenching experience, even if the apostates are totally convinced of its rightness. Indeed, a deep capacity for guilt, which is a significant by-product of religious training, can shadow apostates for years after they exit their church communities and suffer the shunning slings and arrows of disappointed family and former church members.

To get a sense of this, visit the Recovering from Religion website, which contains a wealth of testimonials about painful deconversions.

Therefore, I hope this post and its charming, inspirational, amusing video encourages would-be nonbelievers to not stop challenging their supernatural beliefs.

With effort and reason as your guide, you will one day jump on the stool. In other words, don’t keep the faith.


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