I know some Atheists are seduced into reverting to prayer and Theism. But does it really feel better to be responsible for your life when it’d be so much fun to see your life as a predetermined film, or some cosmic test?
Religion allows someone to play make-believe when the truth is too hard to bear. It allows someone who was crippled by wolves to pretend that supernatural forces have conspired to put him in the center of a bildungsroman genre film in which he is fated to be tested before an audience. This lets the religious float through life with a form of depersonalization derealization syndrome, thinking about themselves in the 3rd person to better understand how god must see them, while they neglect reality and only care about the invisible things that are happening. Religion is a placebo treatment for certain debilitating symptoms that can lead to suicide, (but read the warning because the drug can have harmful side-effects.)
I suppose in saying this I might be reverting to my original position when I was more of an Agnostic Atheist and less of an Anti-Theist. At that time I thought religion would inevitably give way to rationality eventually, (because how could people turn away from the truth?) At the time I was still considering embracing a different theology, and I thought that perhaps fiction did work better for some people, particularly if they were so weak-minded that they needed it. Of course, that was before I was aware of how much harm religion has done, and has the potential to cause.
Most likely I’ll toggle between these positions throughout my life. Ursula le guin said she is not a truth-seeker (which makes sense as she is a fantasy writer and will appropriate whatever lie works to spice up the worlds she builds), but then she ruins it by saying she thinks there are multiple truths. A vague thing to say…A cowardly thing really – I’m sure there are objective truths even if they’re hard to find, even in a chaotic universe chance itself is an objective truth.
But she might be right that there are other things worth focusing on. With that in mind, perhaps I can pay less attention to the religon debates and live a more worthwhile life. I can return to enjoying the serene (which I wrongly used to call spirituality), and live quietly without the arguments that people like Hitchkens will do for me. After all, I might be living at the apex of rationality, and it might be inevitable that a worse religion will undo all the progress we’ve made in this century at some later point. In that case, I’d have wasted a lot of my life, the only one that subjectively matters, for a future generation that doesn’t care one bit about me or my struggles.