Many adults, especially past the age of 40, seem to have gone beyond the point of no return with religion. They have spent so much time, energy, money, family ties, personal development and emotional/spiritual stock in their religion that it would be too difficult and too far of a journey to turn the other way, even with the ubiquity of modern thought and evidence pointing away from antiquated and archaic belief systems. It’s easier to keep believing than to start over, and then look back over one’s life and admit “how could I have done this?” To admit that you have thrown away a huge portion of your life, and wired important relationships through the conduit of belief (spouse, children, friends) is likely a harsher reality to face than to continue living in a religion to which you no longer subscribe. The ensuing unraveling of one’s life, family, friends, even employment – everything they’ve ever known, must be a terrifying nightmare that contributes to the perpetuating of religious belief.
Like a spouse who has spent 40 years with someone they realize they never loved but stayed for fear of the unknown, and a divorce at this point would be harder to face than bearing the daily mundane burden of a dead marriage – millions of American adults perpetuate their religiosity simply because it would be too painful to face themselves in the mirror and say “I was wrong.”
This quick thought originated as I was thinking about Clergy Project, the Freedom from Religion Foundation, Dan Barker, Richard Dawkins, Jerry DeWitt, etc. because I just started listening to the Daniel C. Dennett audiobook Caught in the Pulpit. And then I thought about my parents, and other older adults I know (I’m in my mid-30s). Look these people up if you don’t know who they are – they are making big changes in people’s lives.