Could the Empty Sky of Atheism Save Us?

What would happen if we were all overtaken by the same what-if scenario and it made every human on the planet an atheist, if only for a moment? If everyone assumed there is no God. No overseeing deity. No prophets, no divine sons, no heavenly Club Med to ascend to. We die and that’s it. That we did develop from simple organisms over billions of years. That our entire existence is a chance occurrence of suitable environmental conditions over a prolonged period of time. That we adapted big unwieldy brains capable of generating feelings of confusion, nostalgia, paranoia, emptiness, loneliness and the need to invent a creator and an afterlife and a deeper meaning to our biological lifespan. Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, monotheists, polytheists, every major and minor offshoot in between grew up and out from a common source and that all the distinct religions bloomed in patches, like weeds. Those beliefs were reinforced by our families and the people that lived in the hut/house/hovel across the way.  The small nuances between the religion patches– through a formula of geographical distance over generations–turned our big unwieldy brains into hubs of self-righteousness and judgment.  Now everyone regards the other patches as backwards and kooky and thinks, “How could anyone believe that?” even though every -ism has a large degree of inherent ridiculousness and superstition. That self-righteousness has festered into obsession and we have murdered each other for millennia because of the same shared delusion of religion. If we all experienced the same what-if moment, would the suicide bomber take off his vest of explosives? Would the nutcase making his anti-Islam snuff film turn off the camera? Would the Koran-burner blow out his match? Would the dissent that threads through our politics, entertainment, relationships and every other facet of society mellow into a simple bond of harmless coexistence? Perhaps we’ve come too far to consider such a unifying moment and it would take a Men in Black memory erasing flash to put humanity on the same spiritual playground.  Where we literally “saw the light” then looked up into the sky and felt the same dumb rush of nothing. Then we could start over.


2 Responses to “Could the Empty Sky of Atheism Save Us?”

  1. Hey Mike, I always enjoy your thought provoking articles. I probably do live a sheltered life as I tend to hang around fellow Christians with similar beliefs and priorities. Articles like yours make me think again about what I believe and why I believe it.

    It is truly a shame that so many tragedies and atrocities have occurred over the years using God as the reason. I do not and never will understand the logic of using Christianity as an excuse of harming someone.

    I can only speak for myself in saying that God fills a hole in my heart and I cannot imagine living my life without him. As for your scenario above, I say thanks but no thanks. When I examine my life, I tend to do much more harm when I turn away from God’s teachings. I truly believe that I am a better person when I am living my life in a way that draws me closer to God. As for the reason’s for my belief, I’m sure it started with my Mom, and I thank her for that, but I don’t feel like I’ve gone through my life without asking questions to determine why I believe the way I do.

    I readily acknowledge there is an extreme amount of mystery in the Story of God that I can’t begin to explain. I can only say that it is a perfect story and it makes sense to me.
    When I look at my wife and kids, the only reason I can come up with to explain my deep love for them is that it comes from a power greater than myself. There is no way little old me can produce something as amazing as my two kids.


    • Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Wes. I appreciate it and am glad you have something that works for you and brings additional depth and meaning to your life. That’s the good stuff, for sure. I think the majority of believers–of all religions–feel that fulfillment. Too bad the relatively small percentage of nut jobs and radicals throws it out of whack.

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