(… because intellect divorced from experience is useless).
Yes, I was a teenager when I became an atheist, but I could see the implications of what I believed more clearly than a lot of mature atheists living today.
We live in an age of Atheism Lite. This is quite different from what I grew up with as a younger man. In those days atheism was nihilism and you faced it like a man – none of this ‘There’s probably no god, so stop worrying and enjoy your life’ nonsense. I have been told by internet atheists that I got my atheism all wrong – that it is no different from a Christian claiming not to believe in Zeus, it is simply a lack of belief with no logical conclusions because it is ‘post-suppositional. Such drivel shows a total lack of knowledge of the art, literature and philosophy of the early 20th Century when modern day secularism was crystallising. Nietzsche and Sartre would have laughed at today’s New Atheists. As I studies the world of these people, of course it was expected that I would share their world-view – no writer, tutor or fellow student raised an objection and I was swept along by it all.
I remember when I first started thinking as an atheist. It was when I had a huge disappointment in romance – the kind of thing that happens to everyone, but which hit an insecure romantic like me particularly hard. It was then that I had an epiphone of complete loss. That girl I had fallen in love with could have been anyone. The fact is that we are accidents crawling across the surface of the Earth just trying to fill time with meaningless distractions because we don’t want to face up to the fact that we are all going to die pointless deaths, and no one will remember us because eventually there won’t be a human race.
The absolute darkness of atheism is difficult to comprehend when you are in it. It was after I left atheism that I really saw with clarity what I was living through. I had a kid sister who I loved and my greatest nightmare was that the love I felt was just an evolutionary trick to protect the species. It had no substance or meaning at all. So the only way to live was to throw yourself into distraction. For me it was art, but the problem is that all the while you are getting involved you always know it is only a distraction, so it is a lie! Someone I know who had an affair with a married man said the worst thing about it was the constant lying. Lying takes up energy, so the only solution is to not think. Atheists promote themselves today as the only people who are really thinking. I know that to be untrue.
My way of not thinking came in the form of drink. At 19 years of age I was developing a dependancy on alcohol.
In my first year of art college I worked on a project about how different cultures depicted the elements in art and how that reflected their philosophy. When it came to the harsh portrayals of the Northern Renaissance I claimed it was due to the strife caused by Christianity. As I wrote it, I knew I was only saying what I was expected to say. I knew that any abomination committed in the name of Christianity had nothing to do with the teachings or person of Christ, but who was going to contradict me? I was lying to myself and I knew it.
Thank God someone was praying for me.