One of the things I think stands in the way of atheism is people’s fear of it, fear of the implications. I know from personal experience that this was one of the things that kept me in the christian faith for as long as I was.
I was having atheistic thoughts a few years before I eventually shed my faith, yet I was scared of these thoughts. I remember lying in bed at night thinking there might not be a god, but I wouldn’t want to live in a world like that. It would be so……boring……. No spirits? No dark forces of the devil to combat as a holy soldier for christ? No magic? It just didn’t seem like any fun without that stuff. Later I realized that I was just holding on to wishful thinking instead of facts, but the idea where this is all there is, nothing but math & science (and I hate math) to explain everything just didn’t appeal to me.I was afraid of the implications of atheism, boredom.
There was another implication, however, that scared me more than the fear of boredom. It was: if there is no god then all the religious wars in history, all the martyrs for every religion, all the sacrifices in time, money, effort, and lives, everything was for nothing. I think fear of this realization is something very powerful that keeps people away from atheism. It’s just so horrible you don’t want it to be true.
The historical implications alone are mind blowing. The crusades, for nothing, the inquisition, for nothing, the European religious wars, for nothing, the destruction of Incan and African cultures, for nothing, religious and ethnic “cleansing”, for nothing, terrorist attacks, for nothing, just to name a few things in Western history alone in the past few centuries.
The present day implications are also not too pleasant. How many hours each year do people spend in church? How much money is spent funding a church, or new construction when the money is badly needed elsewhere? I have an uncle who has gone through several stints of unemployment, and yet he still tithes 10% of whatever he makes to the church. It’s all for nothing and he’s throwing away 10% of desperately needed money that could go to help feed and house his family.
I had to cope with problems like these before and shortly after I deconverted. When I finally accepted reality, my fear that everything might be being wasted for nothing soon gave way to rage. I wanted to stop the waste. I wanted people to start using their resources to better their lives here and now. So much time and effort is squandered on what might be when we’re dead that nothing is done to help alleviate the suffering of here and now.
As for the boredom, well when I started to look into scientific explanations for things more closely, this gave way to excitement and awe. They always say truth is stranger than fiction, and the real ways things come about is so interesting. Before I was limited to only thinking about this planet as all there was, but in reality, through science, we have the entire universe to explore! There is so much cool science out there that you can’t possibly be bored. As for fighting demons and what not, well, Diablo III should release sometime this year…hopefully. ~_^