This week I observed a perfect example of why Atheism continues to be a minority path, even in contemporary secular societies.
When a book advancing a positive apologetic for Atheism was reviewed on Friendly Atheist, it set off a flurry of negative responses. A positive agenda, of saying what Atheists are for, and not just what they’re against, was just too much against the grain. It only became a source of division.
The Institute for Humanist Studies makes a similar observation:
We need to satisfy the same wants, needs, and desires that religion does. But if all we offer is criticism, argument, and anger, very few will listen to us. Unless atheists and agnostics somehow can satisfy the same needs, wants, and desires that are satisfied by religion, we will always be a very small minority.
When the believer asks, “What does the Atheistic and Agnostic life offer me and why is your way of life better?,” we should have some great answers. We need to distance ourselves from the usual answer: “It’s a more sensible, intelligent view of life, and a better way of life” — because it is not necessarily so.
In my own quest over many years, I have been disappointed in what I’ve found as an alternative to religion, whether it was a group of atheists, humanists, secular humanists, freethinkers, or others. They always seemed angry, spending most of their time defending atheism, and criticizing religion and a belief in God.
Believers, in contrast, usually had pleasant dispositions and were involved in all kinds of enjoyable, and uplifting community activities. Adding to the contrast was the fact that you could drive around on any day and see tons of cars in church parking lots, yet you had a difficult time getting 30 atheists to attend a monthly meeting. Atheism may be right, but it was losing the battle with religion. “Why?” I asked myself.
My answer is that most non-believers 1) have failed to understand that religions satisfy very important needs, wants, and desires, 2) don’t study and analyze how and why religions satisfy those needs, wants, and desires, and 3) do not work conscientiously to come up with a viable alternative that can satisfy most or all of those needs, wants, and desires that religion fulfills.