With the present rise of atheism around the globe, one cannot but question the reason(s) behind this worldwide phenomenon. What is making people from all around the world fall from the faith, not just to the point of forsaking their religion but to the point of discarding the idea of God altogether?
I think one answer would have to be that people are simply tired of seeing religious nuts everyday doing unspeakable acts in the name of God. With all the injustice, cruelty and hate in the world under the banner of God, people have come to associate these things with the character of God and simply reject this projected image that is being shoved daily down their throats.
After all, who would want to believe in an unloving, unjust, cruel, sexist (to name a few) God? Would you want to if you had the choice?
Faced with this presented notion of God, people are turning nowadays towards other alternatives that are offered on the table. The most notable of them all is science, a world dominated by reason, facts, data, proofs, away from anything that suggests following an unseen and unexistent-until-proven-otherwise being.
Today, the battle lines have been drawn clearly. On one side you have religion and faith and on the other you have science and reason, and it would seem that both sides are exclusive clubs with no possibility of having one foot here and the other one there.
With the current skyrocketing advancements in all fields of science, it would seem that reason is prevailing over faith with more people leaving religion to join the ranks of science with every holy war that is fought and every honor crime that is committed.
Let’s face it. People are not dumb. They are seeing the whole world around them advancing while they are fighting over whose God is stronger or whose God-given land this is or whose daughter slept with whose son and brought shame on the family or who ate that piece of pork or who drank that glass of wine.
And while it would seem very justifiable why people are favoring all the more reason over faith, I can’t help but feel the dire need to point out a major flaw in this approach.
I’m seeing people advocating reason and bashing faith as if it was an attribute of the simpleton when in fact every fiber of the human being screams out faith.
Faith simply isn’t something we can just let go of. Faith is something woven deeply within us that we have without even being aware of. Faith doesn’t just consist of believing in a deity, but faith is what drives us to do the simplest things we do on a daily basis. As I’ve already discussed in a previous article, without faith we wouldn’t get a certain education to land a dream job that we believe we will get in the future and we wouldn’t go to work for a whole month for a salary that we don’t yet see but believe we will get at the end of the month and we wouldn’t do most of the very basic things we do like taking a pain killer, sowing a seed and trying an ice cream place that a friend has recommended and we believed him for it.
So it looks like even the people who praise reason and mock faith do after all have faith as small as a mustard seed. It might not be faith in God, but it is still faith. It might not be walking on water, but if we didn’t have someone who believed he could fly, we wouldn’t have airplanes now.
Then why this ongoing ardor to sever reason from faith? Why can’t we have both at the same time without having to take sides?
Could it be that the scientific refugees are running away from the reality depicted by religious extremists in which faith, religion, close-mindedness and fanaticism are one and the same? Could it be that people are revolting against the zealous community that has hogged and monopolized the definition of faith?
In the 1920s, after WWI, the world saw the birth of a new cultural movement called Surrealism. This movement along with German Expressionism came as an artistic revolution against the false reality promoted by the bourgeoisie who brought the World War into being. Artists just couldn’t accept that the very people who were advocating rational thought and bourgeois values were the same people who brought forth WWI. Hence Surrealism, an alternative reality ruled by chaos, nonsense, horridness and anarchy, but presented as the true reality as perceived by artists. Because reason and values got associated with the bourgeoisie and war, Surrealism came as a way to escape and revolt against this fake and unpleasant reality. Paintings often depicted strange creatures made of different everyday objects, showing that reality didn’t in fact make sense. Through various developed techniques, artists tried to allow the unconscious to express itself and portray the true reality they lived in.
In a simple analogy, could it be that mass atheism is just another cultural movement that is serving as a revolution against a reality in which God is associated with war, hate, strife, hypocrisy and bigotry? Could it be that people are turning to atheism as a way to escape to another world where scientific reasoning rules and God and faith are deemed obsolete now that we live in the twenty-first century?
Could it be that atheism is serving as nothing but a drug after all?
I think the real question that presents itself would have to be, if people knew that God was in fact nothing like he was portrayed by religious nuts, would they still feel the need to resort to atheism?
I think to answer this question every atheist will have to go back to the reason why they became atheist to begin with. But, it is definitely a question worth answering.