More on The God-shaped Hole
© 2021 by Vernon Miles Kerr and VernonMilesKerr.com – Originally posted as a rough-draft to Twitter on 11/22/2021
The little two-paragraph blog post, below, has gotten a bit of response. In it, I propose a possible “earthly” explanation for people’s longing for contact with a higher power. If you browse this blog you’ll see that I’m not a vehement atheist. I’m even constantly questioning my own agnosticism. I was reared in an areligious, secular home.
As teenagers, both my parents had experienced some heavy trauma, each from a different Protestant denomination. They never spoke about God in our home.
But I still had that longing, described in the piece below. I remember, as a child, my being sad because I was missing the apparent religious-ecstasy other people enjoyed along with Christmas. I think maybe that vague longing is what made me an easy target to be lured into a Christian cult when I was just past 30. This cult was ultra-fundamentalist, in that they believed that every word of the Bible was “god-breathed.” Yes, the world really was created in six days, Noah really got 2 of every land species on Earth onto that wooden boat, and Jesus was really returning soon to fix our screwed-up world.
I was locked-in to those beliefs for 25 years, until the guru of the cult died and the entire organization fragmented into many pieces — each with its own guru, expecting those two, and sometimes three, tithes from parishioners.
So, here’s the point of this thread: If our deepest, religious longings are really just a primal desire to return to the bountiful and accepting love between mother and infant, maybe all those “holy books,” seemingly so inevitable in the human saga, all begin from a false premise. If so, what do we do for moral guidelines?
I think that I’m acquainted with only one professed atheist. I’m sincerely interested in how an atheist views morality. Are there general rules of social conduct that universally apply? Or is morality completely relative, and different for each occasion?