Any value judgments might be misguided.
I need somewhere to write down my thoughts. This will serve. I have another blog, but it is connected with my identity. Despite the irrationality of it all, I intend to enjoy my anonymity here by writing what I think without worrying about the judgments of friends and family.
I have read many things. I was raised in a devoutly religious family, and was devoutly religious myself until quite recently. My doubts and disillusionment have led me to the very door of atheism, at which point I wish to ponder the implications of the loss of my former beliefs.
I have read many a defense of atheism: that it does not preclude the existence of objective morality, that atheists can be as happy as believers, that atheism can be a viable, happy world-view.
--I don't think I buy it.
When I read the stuff that Richard Dawkins and his ilk write, I find inherent flaws; they attack religion for its lack of morality in many situations, and try to convince that it is wrong to do such things as raise children to believe in a religion before they can make a decision themselves.
Dawkins is compelling, but he makes value judgement left and right. These appeal to some sense of universal morality in the reader. However, I don't think he names a source for said morality. If he does, it is likely a "secular humanist" type of reason, and I've always detected the faint odor of intellectual dishonesty about that kind of stuff.
In my mind, if there is no god (or God, whichever you like), no supernatural power deciding on the meaning of life and existence, then there is no universal meaning. The meaning each of us has in our lives is simply a contrived reaction to our circumstances, a foolish belief that we can make the world in our own image based on what we happen to believe.
Therefore, I can't bring myself to accept such anti-religion sentiments as I have read. If a religion commits genocide, I feel a negative reaction, but I can only think that this reaction is based on my upbringing and biological disposition.
I also don't particularly believe that religion is not beneficial to the mental health of the average person. I have been much happier and more motivated than I am now, in my religious life.
Admittedly, my youth was peppered with depression, exacerbated by guilt and feelings of inadequacy originating the stringent standards of my religious upbringing. However, I took great comfort at times in the promises of my religion.
I have a sinking feeling that consistent happiness is impossible to me without religion. However, I feel unwilling to give up rationality, and at this point no religion seems to promise anything believable.
I am even active in the church of my upbringing at the moment. I definitely can't leave until I graduate from the university I attend, as it is an institution owned by the church. There is probably a way to be an atheist here, but it likely involved a lot of paperwork and an increase in tuition.
Plus I like to be supportive of my wife. She is the only one who knows how I feel about all this, but is supportive of me. I want to help her feel comfortable and keep my family together, so I may just keep attending.
However, it is not comforting to go. I dislike it. I get depressed at church. Maybe because I'm playing a part, and can't reasonably talk about what I really think without drawing unwanted attention. My church has hours of meetings, in many of which members are expected to participate.
So, the life of a closet atheist continues.
My conclusion thus far is that atheism leads to nihilism, and goals or values I adopt are irrational. Not that it is bad to be irrational, because there may well be no such thing as an objective "bad."