I just had a spiritual experience. No, really!
I was sitting in my family room when I noticed a hummingbird busily working over a flowering bush in the backyard. Hummers (the feathered kind) being one of my favorite critters, I smiled as he darted from flower to flower, amazed at his agility.
Then it hit me…I was watching a distant cousin of T-Rex flitting around my garden, a living connection to one of earth’s most storied monsters. Think on that a moment – a flying creature weighing but a few ounces that is a regular visitor to our garden connects me to a time, place, and animals I will never see but which have captivated the imagination of humans from the time we first learned of their existence. If such a realization is not spiritual, I cannot imagine what is.
That is just one of many things about Atheists that religious folks don’t get. They suppose our lives have to be empty, bereft of meaning, just because we reject ancient myths in favor of reason and evidence. Truth is, I have felt far happier and more fulfilled since I admitted to myself that the whole god-myth really didn’t make sense than I ever was when I was constantly worried that, no matter how hard I tried, I just might not measure up to the expectations and demands of the Dictator in the Sky.
I also find I suffer from far less cognitive dissonance since I let go of the god-crutch. I no longer have to try to make sense of bible verses that contradict each other, of a supposedly loving god that spent a good deal of his time engaged in genocide and/or condemning folks to death for the most innocuous (or even natural) of behaviors, or of biblical claims that defy scientific fact.
The religious also worry that we have no moral compass: How can Atheists be moral without a god to tell them the difference between right and wrong? There are two responses to that:
First off, Homo sapiens lived in organized societies – in the Indus Valley of India, China, Egypt, Samaria, Babylon, Assyria, Greece, and Mesoamerica, to name a few – for thousands of years before the mythical Moses received Yahweh’s commandments not to kill, steal, and the like. Are we to suppose that no one realized before the Commandments that it was wrong to murder, rape, steal, or lie? How do you suppose such large and diverse groupings of people got along and cooperated with “no moral compass”?
Then again, even though I am “without god”, I have never been tempted to kill, or rape, or steal, and I like to think I have limited my fibbing to a rather reasonable level. Why? Because I perceive it is better to behave toward others the way I want others to behave toward me. We’ve evolved that behavior over the past 100,000 years or so…it’s what works. I neither conform my behavior to win a promised reward nor to avoid a threatened eternity of punishment. Only the religious do that.
Lastly, the religious fret that Atheists “hate god”. Hello! How, do you imagine, can I “hate” that which I truly believe does not nor cannot exist? Do religious folks hate leprechauns? Vampires? Thor or Zeus? Admittedly, I think the very idea of god…any god, anywhere…is rather silly, even childish. But hate? I simply don’t have the time nor the energy to hate the non-existent.
Now if you’ll excuse me, my wonderful, flitting dinosaur just returned and I want to watch him.