As an atheist do you see religion and metaphysics as base, dark, and dirty?

No I don’t. I think of religion as an essential aspect of the human experience, at least up until now. It is what has human communities together and been the source of some of the greatest works of literature. It has also, on the other hand, been the source of a lot of conflict and divisive behaviour.

There is a tendency among some atheists to think of religion as the root of all evil, but I am not of that school of thought. Human beings, at various points in the course of their existence, have been “base, dark, and dirty”. To put the blame of it squarely on religion would be irresponsible. It would be akin to wanting a quick-fix solution by saying, “Let’s just throw out religion and metaphysics and all will be fine.”

It doesn’t work like that. It has never worked like that.

As a species, we have an impulse — imagination — and it translates into religion sometimes. We don’t know what to do with it, so we do the best we can. So far, we have waged wars in accordance with the wishes of our imaginary sky friends, we have tortured and burnt people who didn’t agree with the sky friend doctrine.

We have also come up with sublime philosophies as a result of this impulse. These philosophies have sometimes been religious and sometimes not. They have sometimes proven meaningful and sometimes not. It’s all trial and error.

As someone whose pet obsession is the human condition, I can’t throw religion and metaphysics out the window. I am an atheist, but that is only a small part of who I am.

#religion, #atheism, #human-condition