I'm in a small place with not a lot of folks, and most of them believe in a god of some extraction. Before I began my journey, I hadn't heard of Dawkins or Hitchens. Heck, I still don't know much about him, or Sam Harris or the others that anti-theist die-hards hold dear. But I do know that I'm a dandy good person and certainly more peaceful than when I wasted my time praying to the nonexistent.
And when you've discovered something to improve your life, you want to share it with others which can be problematic when what you are telling people is that there is no big guy in the sky watching over them; that we humans are just parts of the animal kingdom; that there's nothing after death. Some folks really seem to need to believe the absurd in order to feel whole as human beings. Nobody wants to be alone and the comfort of an omniscient father can bring a sense of serenity. Besides, the followers of whatever cult is nearby seem really happy- they're dancing and singing and there are cookies. And it seems better than being a lone wolf. But is it really better to believe just in case or just because you're lonely? I dare say no, because you are not alone in being a rational thinker.
With the advent of the internet, you can find those who were lost in blind faith and found themselves in science. We're not new in thought, for Epicurius posed the questions that the sun worshipers of old simply could not answer. Mark Twain and Thomas Jefferson and Richard Burton came long before you along with minds like Einstein and Freud. We are simply a newer generation of people who may not know all of the answers, but will never be satisfied with the status quo. If man was simply satisfied with prayer there would be no neuroscience, nor quantum physics, nor genetic mapping. We are on the verge of understanding the exact manner in which the universe exists because we have never stopped searching for answers.
Science brings us closer to the world and further away from it than was imagined when man invented god. We have come to a place where we can stand account for our successes and failures without having to blame a misinterpretation of Pisces or the man in the Moon. We have freedom and maybe believers are envious.
There are a lot of terms used as it relates to man's relationship with god. A believer is expected to be humbled by, to serve, obey, etcetera. The relationship between man in this god is similar to that of a child or spouse and an overbearing, if not outright abusive, parent or partner. In both instances, the object of fear is seen as all-seeing and all-powerful. There is an obsessive fear of failure, constant apologies, fear of punishment, and eventual depression. It comes as no surprise that religious obsession and post-traumatic stress disorder hold many of the very same characteristics. And it's a scary thing to leave a comfortable abuse situation, whether it be familial or biblical.
Luckily, there is hope. When I began writing this series, I never thought that there would be as many people who were struggling with family members or vindictive pastors, but you are quite a number indeed. We have become a fellowship of the rational; great human beings who offer kind actions or words instead of silly prayers. And next time someone asserts that their god is all-wonderful and that they're a chosen people, ask why there is a lightning rod on the church.
"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish."