We non-believers can be a smug lot sometimes. One only needs to watch Bill Maher to understand why some of the gentler, more open-minded believers still feel uncomfortable around us.
We make a big deal about the idea that we live an evidence based life and that we have no need to find some divine figure to give us purpose or even a need for a purpose in the first place. We are here, we will contend, and that is enough. We create our own meaning. I have said so at length in the past.
I wonder though if we really escape the search for purpose, for something bigger than ourselves. We give ourselves to causes both humanitarian and political. We pick our patron saints of non-belief, be it Hitchens or Sagan (which I suppose would mark the difference between our Evangelicals and our Episcopalians,) and put them on a pedestal. We convince ourselves that we are merely admiring great men, but the vigor and love behind it isn’t appreciably different from what believers have for their idols.
Maybe there is something about the human brain that requires worship of some sort. Maybe it is the human experience itself. Cut off from really understanding each other we feel the need to create understanding in rituals, gods, heroes and causes. I call myself a secular humanist, I cleave to a belief-set and define myself by it. I claim moral virtue from it. The fact that I find that virtue by way of logic may make it safer, it may actually make it the correct course of action, but it does not change the fact that I feel the need to connect to that virtue. I strongly suspect other non-believers are much the same.
I understand that given the fact that we cannot ultimately prove the existence of the divine that we should not form policy around it. I have been a vocal advocate of that position since my childhood. Still, I find the mockery of faith disturbing, when in fact, even we non-believers feel its pull, even if it is in a very different way.