Dear Neo-Atheists, why are you treating this life as if there is another one?

It doesn’t matter whether one is religious or not. Humans are designed for religious thought regardless if they believe in an eternal deity or not. Here is why;

Ancient Egyptians believed in their own version of the afterlife. Based on this assumption they created grand structures to host their decaying flesh. They used extravagant processes and gruesome sacrificial rituals to justify the idea that there is another life somewhere else despite the lack of evidence of thereof. It will surprise you that neo-atheists are not at all that different from religious people and I have my personal experience to testify for this. I am sure many of you will find points of relatedness.

About a decade ago, I founded a group that, in the beginning, dealt primarily with atheism since it was the hot, trendy topic at the time. The group was an upgrade from another one that dealt with knowledge in general. Most people still thought atheism was taboo and so, upon my arrival to my homeland, I decided to begin the freethinking group. This was meant to serve as means of meeting people who had unassumingly a broader perception about religion, politics, economics, philosophy and science. Due to the nature of the country I was born, only one other person was open to explore ideas about atheism publicly. This person was already outspoken against religion in the US.

Through some conversations, I noted that most of these people, although they doubted the authority of the Church, were somewhat religious. They might have rejected the Judeo-Christian idea but still believed in a power that governed. More or less, they were bounded from a discounted version of Spinoza’s God. Slowly and along the new movement of atheism in America, they started being more courageous, not caring what their family and friends would think about their beliefs. I had to open up the scene in my homeland and did so at a great personal cost, with zero benefits.

You might think “how this caveat has to do with anything?”. Well, slowly, I realized that all these people who flirted with the idea of this newly promoted neo-atheism, were not all that different from religious folk. Most left their half-assed religious beliefs and joined passionately other deities without realizing it. For most it was science since neo-atheism’s  best arguments was that “science knows, religion doesn’t”. For some others was simply the authority of state. How one worships “science”? Simple. They follow 2-3 “legit” science sources or figures on social media and whatever they see posted from them, bow without second thought. Same thing that happens with religious people when they receive updates about their religion from sites and authors of their own choosing.

The neo-atheists’ actions in regards to how they dealt with aspects in their life did not change from the time they were religious. I saw the transition. Live. I did so through observing thousands of profiles in a course of multiple years. Many acknowledged the idea that there is no other life waiting for them when they die. Yet, in their profiles, even today, you can witness the construction of their ego’s “immortality project” as Ernest Becker accurately pointed out in his book ‘The Denial of Death’.

Many neo-atheists are trying to write books. Others are trying to be literally “someone” (anyone really) so they can be “remembered”. They strive to appear as much as possible on social media, TV appearances, anything that can stamp their name in the passage of time. In all, Neo-Atheists dread the idea of returning to nothing as much as the religious folk do. Yet they find other ways to pacify their existential angst. They want their image to live forever in the minds of humanity and do so in hope it is imprinted the best way possible. They are essentially dreaming of a paradise of their own making.

The reason behind this happens is because neo-atheism was never founded on a philosophical aspect as classical atheism did. Neo-atheism is up and foremost a political propaganda product. A trend that combined social justice and religious shaming in order to justify the superiority of its proponents. This created a void in the spirit of the new-atheist. Still searching for meaning, somewhere to cling upon.

About 90% of the people who became new atheists (as I saw them slowly unfold in the group), at some point over the next 3-7 years sought psychological counseling and went under psychiatric treatment. Every. Single. One. The trend was truly scary and even justified the accusations of many religious folk that supported the idea that atheists are psychologically weak and unstable. They right. I did not realize back then that the introduction of critical thinking, chaos and individuality would have such an emotional and psychological impact to the majority of people. I was dead wrong on this one.

Religious folk seek counseling from a priest. Through confession, they unburden their wrongdoings upon others or oneself. Neo-atheists visit their psychologist because they believe this is the “scientific” way to approach things. Yet, psychology has more to do with priesthood and pseudoscience rather than rigorous scientific processes. In essence, both are talking to someone to feel better. The religious folk unburden themselves through fasting and improved deeds while neo-atheists pop pills that create even more physical problems and develop a relationship with their psychologist that reminds “friends on pay”. This is one similarity that truly binds the core of the issue together.

Rejecting God means primarily rejecting an ultimate authority that governs your entire existence. Once this step is taken care of consciously, the next step is to reject any political, economic or other ideological authority. This is what I always supported in the group. But this is not what everyone can handle. This idea of true freethought, unbounded and uncharted, leaves the individual completely naked, stranded helpless in a sea of people who do use authority and power to subvert others to their will. People who seek an afterlife. This is the main reason why most people jump on another ideology and ultimately elevate it to the point of resembling another religion. This is how neo-atheism became another religion compartmentalized through science, social justice and state saints/politicians.

It is hard to escape from the herd. No doubt. The herd loves authority as much as it loves security. Whether it is religious or political, little does it matter. All that matters for the herd is that it can survive over the long term. There will be another, hopefully better life for their offspring (or followers) in the future. Science proponents want to “save humanity” and move to other planets. But do they realize that all these are nationalistic colonial thoughts (something they dread and attack here on earth daily). Do they understand that these views were also shared from religious missionaries? The idea has been exactly the same. To spread, to influence, to survive. For the genes of people who hold specific ideas to go on forever, into eternity.

The question for neo-atheists is hard. I found very few that could answer pragmatically based on the evidence stemming from their actions in life. This is perhaps why the neo-atheist movement slowly got silenced and merged with other political ideas in order to survive. It was never about religion. It was always a cult that shared the exact same characteristics as every other religion.

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