There is a good reason why the tendency religion is so entrenched in the human psyche: it provides us with a sense of purpose and meaning without which we would struggle to survive. Survival after all first requires a motivation to live, and this motivation is strongly tied to a sense of purpose.
Our brains are paradoxical things, because life itself is paradoxical. On one hand, life is pointless; on the other hand, its function is to survive. But if existence is pointless, how can we justify the drive to continue existing?
Mirroring this dilemma, the human brain evolved intelligence to enable us to understand the world around us and make us better at survival. On the other hand, our new understanding of the world threatened to expose the pointlessness of existence, thereby removing the very motivation to survive, even while we had all of the tools. Intelligence seems by nature to be self-destructive.
Fortunately, there is a way out – religion. Our tendency to believe in a higher power without question, that is, our capacity for faith, protects us from the self-destructiveness and depression brought on by existential angst. Unfortunately, as we soar to greater intellectual heights, fewer and fewer of us find satisfaction with the answers religion has to offer. We now question everything, and we no longer see any reason to take things on faith- in fact, we actively reject faith as being misleading and outdated. Religion as we know it cannot keep up with the demands of the advancing human psyche, and the mental tools we now have are too advanced to be curbed by the primitive blade of “God”.
The modern atheist faces a dire problem: how can we save ourselves from the killing apathy of knowing that we are insignificant and that all is futile?
A new solution is emerging. We are sophisticated enough now to realize that the futility of existence has no bearing on our lives, which are nevertheless filled with a richness of experience, both pleasurable and painful, still better than death and non-existence. The new generation is a generation of experience seekers, who realize that life creates its purpose from within. We do not need meaning to be imposed from outside, but prefer to discover meaning through action. We discover our own Gods and superstitions through the mystery of everyday living. The days when a single narrative written in one book could govern the lives of many people is gone; now every person has their own story, their own plot and purpose. The book of the individual is partly defined by character and partly by one’s experiences in the world, different parts of which are accessible to all of us. So even though we still have a common thread between us, we all find a different meaning behind the events that occur, and it is the trading of our interwoven stories that will write the narrative of the new bible.