Lucky Rabbit's FootA few weeks back I posted a blog on how theists fear of the unknown is what causes them to oppose science. The author I pulled the source material from, Paddy Shannon, points out that reason and logic are pushing superstition out the window, but leaving behind an empty room. "What we need to do … is recognize the emotional vacuum this is creating, and strive to fill it, before something infinitely worse does."

Today I Stumbled Upon an article on The Humanist by Meera Nanda; its an older article, from June 2006, but it hits specifically on this same line of thought.

Meera points out that people leaving religion are turning to a "varieties of do-it-yourself spirituality and esoteric practice (belief in reincarnation and astrology, yoga, transcendental meditation, 'vibration therapies')." She also points out that mysticism and holistic practices are on the rise, filling that empty space.

She is critical of Sam Harris, specifically his book The End of Faith; but provides and interesting take on his views (I haven't read the book, so can't verify or argue her review of it). All-in-all an interesting read if you have the time (and this kind article interests you).

Personally, after my deconversion I filled my void with enjoying life and spending time with friends and family. I felt freed and liberated, and found myself seeking more knowledge about dozens of topics.

  • What did you fill your void with?
  • What thoughts or advice would you give to someone recently deconverted, to help them fill that void?

Views: 0

Tags: fear, religion, vacuum

Comment by Pam on February 18, 2009 at 2:52pm
Suggesting that deconversion creates a void seems to imply that atheism/secularism/humanism isn't its own fulfillment. It suggests that atheism is empty. And it may seem like that at first, but I have personally become a more realized and complete person after turning away from religion.

That space is not empty, just transformed. What was once attributed to god and the supernatural can now be a product of self achievement. You're allowed to enjoy yourself and take pride in your own mind and ability. I have a deep sense of respect and awe for what humankind has achieved on its own: science, art, society, etc. I also enjoy the freedom of living, not in fear and subjugation under god, but among other humans as equals. Neither have I any reason to hate or discriminate my fellow humans.

And if that doesn't "fill the void" then I don't know what will. :p
Comment by Johnny on February 18, 2009 at 4:15pm
You're right Pam... That space is transformed, I know it is for me anyway.

I would not want to imply that atheism is empty, because I've found it more fulfilling than any religious pursuit I ever attempted. So maybe there is a better way to phrase it.

I do think it is a void for some people though; especially in the social aspect. I've talked to people who involved themselves in social events of the church, and once they decided the church was a crock they were grasping at any event to fill their social void.

If anyone can think of a better way to phrase the questions without using "void" I would happily revise my wording.
Comment by Pam on February 19, 2009 at 8:25am
I do think it is a void for some people though; especially in the social aspect. I've talked to people who involved themselves in social events of the church, and once they decided the church was a crock they were grasping at any event to fill their social void.

I can understand that. Like an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend. Suddenly you have nothing to do on Sunday mornings and nobody to do it with. I'm going through that right now living 6 hours away from all my family and friends. There's definitely a void.

And I don't think it's wrong to call it a void. The idea of god is a pretty big one, so when that idea is removed, it's easy to feel like there's nothing in its place. But hopefully the recently de-converted will realize they don't have a void or an emptiness or whatever. Because I think the idea of no god is an even bigger idea. ;-)

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