One of the great virtues of having landed in WordPressland is reading the well-written, commanding reminiscences by atheists who converted from some sort of culture-imposed religion.
The confounding problem is that the noise in our brains is only dimly perceived in retrospect. If someone is born into a Catholic family after the TV revolution, it would be hard to convey the turmoil churned up by the late-stage version of Palestinian monotheism in the young parvenu’s contested mind. What did Catholicism mean? Fear of sexual drive, fear of authority, shame over having confused yearnings without a solid humanistic foundation? No one in the modern nuclear family has extended religious discussions across the generations: religious affiliation is simply assumed, and the children are not permitted to engage in any question of the bizarre and ultimately worthless prescriptions of the ancient delusions. Questions left unaddressed: What is this “god” thing? Why all this celibacy? What about girls, women, and having fun? Why are there so many competing religions, essentially from the same area, and roughly analogous to each other?
Yet there were so many advantages that this fraudulent ancient practice of chicken-entrail reading enjoyed. In an apprentice’s mind, the question of how could so many people be so wrong seemed to confirm that this family-imposed weekend and one weekday-CCV practice had some validity to it. Who would knock this silly conceit out of contention? Teachers were never permitted to engage in Socratic dissection of a young person’s ill-conceived cognitive formulations. The spit-shined youth was left adrift in a becalmed sea, never given the necessity of steering the tiller him- or herself.
“Humans should not play God” became an actual expression of pro-religious sociology, which was rejected in a classroom discussion by the one child given a decade’s long head start of being born to an atheist painter family. What could this statement be met with but by utter incomprehension buy the “God”-bothered young initiate?
There should be no need to apologize for lost time, lost insight, lost promise that late-stage Judeo-Christian lite religious inheritance produced. The philosophy behind religion is now revealed as laughably simple-minded, needing no more attention than occasional derision.
How could so many people be so wrong about something so fundamental? Why, that’s just our human nature, sonny. You figure it out.
And we did, at least some of us, beneficiaries of the bravery of the Gnu Atheists, beneficiaries of a nature nurtured by an oppositional minority culture to be skeptical of officialdom.