My favorite of the New Atheists (these are the ones that everyone holds up as the best of the best atheists, the ones who make it on all of the debates, write the best-selling books, and are leading the charge to rid the world of religion, which is why I comment on them) is Christopher Hitchens. In his debate with Danesh D’souza, he gives us the line, “…you only have to look at the many religions that people have constructed to find out that they are indeed the product of an imperfectly evolved primate species about a half a chromosome away from a chimpanzee with a prefrontal lobe that is too small and adrenaline gland that is too big along with many other evolutionary deformities…”
With Hithens’ view as our basis for atheism, it leads us to believe that we can find complete satisfaction in our lives here on earth. Without the existence of any deeper reality that we are connected with (souls/heaven/God) because we are only physical matter, there must be some way for us to become perfectly happy in the 75 or so years we have to live.
How do I become happy? If I had more money, if I had a better house and car, if I had a bunch of sex, if I could party all the time, if I could travel everywhere, if I could be on a tropical island. We keep finding ways to satiate our desire for happiness, but it doesn’t ultimately satisfy us. Yes, we get glimpses of satisfaction in these things, but then it wears off, and we need more, and we need even more, and if we don’t get more, we’re not happy. Sounding maybe a little bit like a drug addiction yet? What was that thing about the opiate of the masses?
So are humans just an evolutionarily deformed species of primates that created religion out of fear? No, we’re not. We’re quite logical actually. Religion is not a projection of the supernatural. Religion is a response to something that came first, that being the supernatural.
You wouldn’t say that your hunger for food is a projection of our stomachs of the existence of food. Instead, it confirms the existence of food. Would we even call it food if we didn’t need to eat it?
So I encourage everyone, do not let yourself be reduced into the purely physical, into some simple mechanical function of nature that cannot even begin to explain the depth and the width and the height of the human experience. Do not let someone tell you to stop listening to the inner yearning for something better, deeper, fuller than this world has to offer. If you take yourself seriously, then you have to take God seriously, and it’s not always the most comforting thought, but remember, “you were not made for comfort; you were made for greatness.”
Written by: Marty Arlinghaus