Is God Irrelevant? - article on "apatheism"

What needs do mythology and religion serve in today's world and in ancient times? Here we discuss the relationship between mythology, religion and science from mythological, religious and philosophical viewpoints.

Moderators: Clemsy, Martin_Weyers, Cindy B.

tat tvam asi
Associate
Posts: 470
Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2006 11:49 am
Location: Eternity

Is God Irrelevant? - article on "apatheism"

Post by tat tvam asi » Thu Sep 30, 2010 4:51 pm

Religion Dispatches

While the media still milks the chattering and snarling between theists and atheists, most people are bored by this show, and many have quietly moved into a more productive position. Growing numbers of people don’t particularly care whether or not there are gods since, even if there are, they don’t seem able to do anything in our world. If they’re omnipotent, they appear to be indifferent to the small and large-scale wars, tragedies, and slaughters around us. If they’re impotent, who needs them?

Even when people are reflexively tempted to thank God for saving them from a disaster that may have killed hundreds or thousands of other people, they don’t want to say it too loudly—because they know someone may ask them, rhetorically, what their God had against the thousands he let die. Even bromides about God have lost much of their usefulness.

Still, with or without gods, we cannot escape the existential questions that have underwritten all the religions—and most civil codes of law—throughout human history:

Who am I?

What am I serving that will outlive me and carry my love and my work forward?

How should I live so that when I look back on my life, whether a year or decades from now, I can honestly be glad I’ve lived the way I did?

Theologians, ministers, and active congregants may say, correctly, that their religions still offer some responses to these most basic human questions. But theologians and preachers can no longer claim (and anyway are no longer granted) any particular authority for their differing, often warring, prescriptions.

Christine Wicker, author of The Fall of the Evangelical Nation, and David T. Stone, author of The American Church in Crisis, are among the authors citing research that shows a dismal picture of American religion:

• Christian churches are losing two million people a year.
• Between just 2000-2005, church attendance declined in all fifty states.
• No matter what people may tell pollsters about their church habits, when you count the bodies in the pews, fewer than 18% of Americans attend any church regularly; 82% don’t.
• When asked to rate eleven groups in terms of respect, non-Christians rated evangelicals tenth. Only prostitutes ranked lower. After the stories of hypocritical preachers and political moralists caught with paid lovers, it might be interesting to ask the prostitutes about that ranking.


Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens are dismissed as “New Atheists” by many of the faithful. Others see them as today’s prophets. As much as anything, their attacks seem like the moves of predators taking out the weakest members of the herd. Wherever we come down, we have become used to reading—or skipping—broad dismissals of religion like these:

“There’s no longer evidence for a need of God, even less of Christ. The so-called traditional churches look like they are dying.”

“A remarkable culture-shift has taken place around us. The most basic contours of American culture have been radically altered. The so-called Judeo-Christian consensus of the last millennium has given way to a post-modern, post-Christian, post-Western [culture]… Clearly, there is a new narrative, a post-Christian narrative, that is animating large portions of this society. The post-Christian narrative… is based on an understanding of history that presumes a less tolerant past and a more tolerant future, with the present as an important transitional step.”

“Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. Democracy requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason.”

What gives these particular critiques more power is that, in fact, they don’t come from atheists, but from people who are profoundly invested in religion. In order, these three quotes came from Pope Benedict XVI, Dr. R. Albert Mohler (president of the Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, KY—one of the world’s largest), and Barack Obama.

Like it or not, since the 19th century, religion has lost most of its authority as the go-to place for our enduring questions, yearnings, stories and role models. Other stories, other myths, other people have become not only more appealing, but also better at helping us frame our abiding questions and experiences.

In dangerous times, these young people identified with the heroes most able to inspire them, linking their plight with that of an imaginary Na’vi race light years and centuries away. Younger people are surrounded by vivid and accessible myths that have taken the place of the Bible’s traditional role in providing the framework and role models for our lives.

Throughout the 20th century, religion’s stories lost their competitive edge. Books, movies, radio, television, and now (as in the case of James Cameron’s Avatar) computer-generated images that can create a seamless blend of our world and a fantasy world, offering images and a moral that inspire hundreds of millions of people around the world—people of any or no religion—with the role models and moral scripts for which they hunger.

Yes, there are also films from the dark side. Unforgiven, Pulp Fiction, and No Country for Old Men come to mind. But even in these movies where senseless evil wins, we know that these stories have crossed a line far beyond the moral and ethical acceptability: the overwhelming majority of us simply know better. The Bible also has many immoral and psychopathic stories; disobedient teenagers are stoned, non-virginal brides are sentenced to death, Yahweh orders the slaughter every man, woman and child in a village—and worse. The point, in both cases, is that we do know the difference between good and evil well enough to know whether movies, religions, or world events have crossed over the line—at least after the adrenalin rush wears off. The worldwide outrage at the continuing saga of the sexual abuse of children by priests, covered up by their superiors—all the way up to and including the Pope—is a clear illustration.

The Good News, Thanks to Evolutionary Sciences

Scientific fields like ethology (comparative animal behavior) have observed, studied, and often filmed many interactions among animals including chimpanzees, bonobos, monkeys, dogs, rats, dolphins, hawks, elephants, and other species that we recognize immediately as akin to our own sense of fair play, fairness, empathy, and compassion. It is becoming clear that we get our cooperative and moral sensitivities from the same place we get our territoriality, sexual jealousy, and aggression. We weren’t born in “original sin” nor in “original blessing.” We were born with a mixed bag of potential that tilts toward goodness. In social animals like humans, apes, monkeys, dogs, dolphins, and thousands more, we are born incomplete, unfinished, and our potential requires some shaping from our societies. We’re born with the capacities for both good and evil, and “nature” can be either refined or fouled by our social environment. Surely this provides some insight as to why 4% of Americans are said to be sociopaths, 30-100 times more than in Asian countries.

While we are born with a human nature tilting toward good, we can cross over into evil with frightening ease. The well-documented story about the rise of Nazi Germany is as good a case as any. The German people were born neither better nor worse than people around the world. But they showed us the power of charismatic leaders in acquiescent societies, uniting the people in hatred against scapegoat groups that included Jews, Poles, Gypsies, homosexuals, and intellectuals. Both the Catholic Church and the Protestant “German Christian” churches aided, abetted, and covered for the slaughter of millions of “God’s children.”

It is a bit ironic that sciences are beginning to present—with persuasive documentation (or video clips on YouTube)—evidence that other species behave better than this; that we are the only species that almost routinely kills many members of its own species. The complicity of most churches in Nazi Germany presents a poor argument that the churches have either the needed vision or moral courage to stand up to environments of government-manufactured fear. The good news here may come from our evolutionary sciences.

Primatologist Frans De Waal is one of the most respected and influential ethologists writing today whose well-documented optimism is carried in some of his eight book titles. We are Good Natured, and are parts of the billion-year evolution of many forms of life on the Earth; we are now living, he says, in The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons for a Kinder Society; we didn’t get our good and evil tendencies from the gods; we are born including both possibilities, and created our gods, religions and civil law codes to serve and teach our higher possibilities to us, our children and their children.

God may be losing his traditional role as the origin and judge of good and evil. But there is also good news. The fruit from that tree of the knowledge of good and evil is finally ripening. The mythical “Kingdom of Heaven” is, as Jesus said, not supernatural, not “coming.” It is the only place it could ever be: within and among us. That “kingdom” exists when we can treat all others as our brothers and sisters, children of God, and the fruits of life’s longing for itself.

Between strident theism and equally strident atheism, apatheism offers a third way. Maybe there are gods, maybe there aren’t; it doesn’t seem to matter. Both the roots and fruits of a good life are measured by laughter among friends, love among families, and serving compassionate values that can grant us, as the gods used to do a purposeful and satisfying life—here and now, rather than elsewhere and later.
"Scholars conjecture that a sense of divinity in Nature co-evolved with the first emergence of human consciousness, perhaps 100,000 years ago. The earliest god was Nature."

As far back as we are able to look into the past, says historian Colin Wilson, "human beings seem to have worshipped nature, and connected it to a higher spiritual reality, which they called god or the divine."
Neoplato
Associate
Posts: 3907
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2008 3:02 pm
Location: Virginia
Contact:

Post by Neoplato » Thu Sep 30, 2010 6:57 pm

Oh no...more terms...more definitions. Here's a couple of good ones.
Apathetic agnosticism (also called pragmatic agnosticism) is the view that thousands of years of debate have neither proven, nor dis-proven, the existence of one or more deities (gods). This view concludes that even if one or more deities exist, they do not appear to be concerned about the fate of humans. Therefore, their existence has little impact on personal human affairs and should be of little theological interest.[1]
Irreligion is an absence of, indifference towards or hostility towards religion.[1] Depending on the context, it may be understood as referring to atheism, nontheism, agnosticism, ignosticism, antireligion, skepticism, freethought, antitheism or secular humanism.
I'm with Socrates and Plato; there's either awareness of "the good" and "ignorance of the good". It's interesting how many different terms they are out there to decribe these notions. :?
Infinite moment, grants freedom of winter death, allows life to dawn.
tat tvam asi
Associate
Posts: 470
Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2006 11:49 am
Location: Eternity

Post by tat tvam asi » Thu Sep 30, 2010 10:01 pm

There seems to be a variety of ways of falling somewhere between theism and atheism.
"Scholars conjecture that a sense of divinity in Nature co-evolved with the first emergence of human consciousness, perhaps 100,000 years ago. The earliest god was Nature."

As far back as we are able to look into the past, says historian Colin Wilson, "human beings seem to have worshipped nature, and connected it to a higher spiritual reality, which they called god or the divine."
User avatar
Clemsy
Working Associate
Posts: 10645
Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2002 6:00 am
Location: The forest... somewhere north of Albany
Contact:

Post by Clemsy » Fri Oct 01, 2010 8:43 pm

Once more, the emphasis is on a personal god, an idea that is, as far as I'm concerned, a metaphor. A fine one, no doubt, but fine as long as it isn't taken literally.

Which it is, as this article demonstrates.
Give me stories before I go mad! ~Andreas
tat tvam asi
Associate
Posts: 470
Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2006 11:49 am
Location: Eternity

Post by tat tvam asi » Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:55 pm

It does. This apatheism thing seems oriented towards those who know very little about religion and don't really seem to care one way or the other. They're definitely coming from the perspective of 'maybe there is a literal deity, maybe there isn't, and what does it matter if there is'?

But equally, one could say what does it matter if there is a mystery that is the source, end, and supporting ground of all life and being? It (the mystery of the metaphor) doesn't seem to care about human suffering in the least. The perspective is pretty much still the same even when oriented to an intellectual view of mythology as metaphor. Below is a revision for a Campbellian audience:
Between strident theism and equally strident atheism, apatheism offers a third way. Maybe there is [a mystery that is the source, end, and supporting ground of all life and being], maybe there isn't; it doesn’t seem to matter. Both the roots and fruits of a good life are measured by laughter among friends, love among families, and serving compassionate values that can grant us, as the [metaphorical] gods used to do a purposeful and satisfying life—here and now, rather than elsewhere and later.
Last edited by tat tvam asi on Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Scholars conjecture that a sense of divinity in Nature co-evolved with the first emergence of human consciousness, perhaps 100,000 years ago. The earliest god was Nature."

As far back as we are able to look into the past, says historian Colin Wilson, "human beings seem to have worshipped nature, and connected it to a higher spiritual reality, which they called god or the divine."
jufa
Associate
Posts: 629
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2007 5:07 am
Contact:

Post by jufa » Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:39 pm

I ask myself what is a christian, buddhist, muslim, or any religious or nor-religious belief worth to the believer when all live an die in the same manner no matter the name applied by the worshipers? I found the difference is not in the hope and inspiration supposed given and received by the religion or followers, but in the faith that Something "which has no form or comliness, will act out words uttered by that which has form.

I have found there in no decline in religion, yet the assumptions as below stated:
Theologians, ministers, and active congregants may say, correctly, that their religions still offer some responses to these most basic human questions. But theologians and preachers can no longer claim (and anyway are no longer granted) any particular authority for their differing, often warring, prescriptions.

Christine Wicker, author of The Fall of the Evangelical Nation, and David T. Stone, author of The American Church in Crisis, are among the authors citing research that shows a dismal picture of American religion:
to be correct in the sense of decline because the repetitive speaking of the events and characters of religious and non-religious thesis do not give a specific mission to followers except to become loyal followers, repent, and pay, and build to gather so neophytes and the loyalist can repetitively repent and pay, and build bigger an more ostentation for SHOWTIME.

There is no new hope and inspiration ministered to take anyone beyond the humdrum of acient of days, live right humanly, die and go to a heaven or hell sermons Just laws to follow. This is why Campbell, after Moyers exposure of him and his work in 87, woke up true hope and inspired minds of individuals to take responsible to oneself if they wished to experience the journey for themselves. The explanation of the myth and metaphors, and stories of heroism of finding live to die for, and death to live for presentation opened mind beyond the humdrum spoken of earlier, and religion, because of its lack of, appeared to decline. There is no decline in religion from what I can observe. Ther is a new wave of how religion is looked upon and presented. .
Never give power to anything a person believe is their source of strength - jufa
http://theillusionofgod.yuku.com
tat tvam asi
Associate
Posts: 470
Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2006 11:49 am
Location: Eternity

Post by tat tvam asi » Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:21 pm

Well, there actually is a measurable decline in religious attendence as stated in the statistics above, and also in the advancement of atheism in this article as well:
Belief in God, eternity, and other basic religious assertions are questions that have dominated public opinion surveys for some time, but there are some who now believe that non-belief may become the new default. According to a recent American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) of more than 54,000 adults, the number of people willing to identify themselves as atheist and agnostic rose from under 2 million in 2001 to 3.6 million in 2008. When you leave out the labels "atheist" and "agnostic," ARIS found that over 18 percent of Americans (as many as 40 million) do not profess a belief in God.

Looking over the data, evolutionary psychologist Dr. Nigel Barber attempts to argue that atheism will actually replace religion sooner rather than later: "Atheists are heavily concentrated in economically developed countries, particularly the social democracies of Europe. In underdeveloped countries, there are virtually no atheists," he recently wrote in Psychology Today. "Atheism is thus a peculiarly modern phenomenon."

...Non-belief may become normative in the near future, but that doesn't undermine belief itself. As we engage in conversations about faith in the 21st century, we must be realistic about where things seem to be headed, but we should also judge faith fairly. Faith is more than a comfort blanket, a fertility enhancer, a therapist, or a community group. Unfortunately for believers, that may not be enough to maintain the majority.

Have you witnessed a growth in unbelief in your lifetime? Does the possibility that non-belief could become normative scare you, sadden you, or excite you?

Link
I have most certainly witnessed a growth in unbelief in my lifetime. And it has to do with people not believing that there is some "literal deity" watching everything from afar and just going on with their lives. That holds true for the Campbellian scholarship as well, when the mythological deity is recongnized as a metaphor, and the transcendent mystery of the metaphor is the ultimate reference, then there's no reason to get off thinking that the mythological deity should have been taken literally in the first place. And it also involves knowing the evolution of the God concept as an evolving concept over the years.

Atheism is simply A (not) + Theism (God Belief). In short, a lack of belief in literal deities basically - that's what its oriented towards. In the strict sense anyone favoring the metaphorical interpretation of religious symbolism is an atheist as such, perhaps a mystical oriented atheist, that is, one concerned with the "mystery" of the metaphor, but an atheist nonetheless. I've taken a Pantheist position myself after understanding the metaphorical value of symbolic religious imagery, but that's simply a mystical oriented atheist position when all is said and done. I don't have a problem with spirituality and mysticism because I understand the harmlessness of it's core foundation which is simply addressed to the mystery of existence itself. But that doesn't make me any less atheist, that is, it doesn't take away from my lack of belief in a literal God.
"Scholars conjecture that a sense of divinity in Nature co-evolved with the first emergence of human consciousness, perhaps 100,000 years ago. The earliest god was Nature."

As far back as we are able to look into the past, says historian Colin Wilson, "human beings seem to have worshipped nature, and connected it to a higher spiritual reality, which they called god or the divine."
Neoplato
Associate
Posts: 3907
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2008 3:02 pm
Location: Virginia
Contact:

Post by Neoplato » Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:53 pm

But equally, one could say what does it matter if there is a mystery that is the source, end, and supporting ground of all life and being? It (the mystery of the metaphor) doesn't seem to care about human suffering in the least.-tat tvam asi
Yes...the old "If there's a god, then why does he let people suffer? Why does he let little children die? What sins have they done?"

We don't understand that we are the source of are own sufferring. God doesn't let people die, people willfully kill each other.

Does water drown people...or do people just don't know how to swim? :?

Does fire burn people...or provide warmth?

Nothing is good or evil, including the source of life. It's just how we use it. :shock:
Infinite moment, grants freedom of winter death, allows life to dawn.
tat tvam asi
Associate
Posts: 470
Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2006 11:49 am
Location: Eternity

Post by tat tvam asi » Sat Oct 02, 2010 12:39 am

Neoplato wrote:Nothing is good or evil, including the source of life.
That's true. And so what does it matter anyways, as these apatheists question? I think they have a point that extends from the perspective of literalism into the perspective of symbolism.
"Scholars conjecture that a sense of divinity in Nature co-evolved with the first emergence of human consciousness, perhaps 100,000 years ago. The earliest god was Nature."

As far back as we are able to look into the past, says historian Colin Wilson, "human beings seem to have worshipped nature, and connected it to a higher spiritual reality, which they called god or the divine."
User avatar
Clemsy
Working Associate
Posts: 10645
Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2002 6:00 am
Location: The forest... somewhere north of Albany
Contact:

Post by Clemsy » Sat Oct 02, 2010 3:38 am

Tat, I really do think this is one of those whatever works for you areas, no? I don't consider myself an atheist, yet also believe that the idea is irrelevant. Pantheism is just another label, with its own definition. I've come to beware of labeling. Can't squeeze god into a pigeon hole, dammit.

But some need the pigeon holes to make sense of things. Just another way of looking at the world.
Give me stories before I go mad! ~Andreas
Evinnra
Associate
Posts: 2102
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2004 4:12 pm
Location: Melbourne

Post by Evinnra » Sat Oct 02, 2010 4:37 am

:) Hi Tat, long time no see ! :)

Though it is true that there are fewer people attending religious ceremonies today, I think the actual number of people who think about religion is not diminishing.
In the past, religious ceremonies had a function of creating social cohesion within a community , today we have Facebook - instead. :roll:

In essence, I think we do better if we do not mistake the change of social context around people for an actual loss of religious sentiments in people.

Cheers,
Evinnra

p.s. This one is 'for keeps' > God does not hurt the innocent , just like water does not make people drown 8)
'A fish popped out of the water only to be recaptured again. It is as I, a slave to all yet free of everything.'
http://evinnra-evinnra.blogspot.com
tat tvam asi
Associate
Posts: 470
Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2006 11:49 am
Location: Eternity

Post by tat tvam asi » Sat Oct 02, 2010 5:25 am

Clemsy wrote:Tat, I really do think this is one of those whatever works for you areas, no? I don't consider myself an atheist, yet also believe that the idea is irrelevant. Pantheism is just another label, with its own definition. I've come to beware of labeling. Can't squeeze god into a pigeon hole, dammit.

But some need the pigeon holes to make sense of things. Just another way of looking at the world.
All true.

Notice in the second survey how the numbers for lack of belief jumped up even higher when the atheist and agnostic labels were taken out of the equation. It looks like a growing number of people are just tired of labels, but at the same time lack God belief.

I currently accept the labels of atheist and pantheist and mystic and just about any label that does apply to my perspective in some way. But they each come as partially applying. There will be certain points that just don't apply. I'm just taking the stripped down basic idea of atheism as a simple lack of God belief and saying, yes, I am that when all is said and done. But when it comes to the full on anti-theistic rejection of anything mystical or spiritual whatsoever I'm not that at all. I have my own mystical oriented practices dealing with mind and consciousness and so on. But none this takes away from the fact that I lack belief in literal deities just as much as the next atheist.

I don't accept the agnostic label for the most part, but, the truth of the mystery of the metaphor is that we don't know the mystery of existence. It's beyond knowing. So in that strict sense I'm not knowing. It's not that I'm confused as to whether or not a literal deity exists as the usual agonstic would be, it's just that I know that ultimately I do not know the answer to the question of absolute ultimates. So I can't escape the agnostic label entirely in that sense. Some one - I think Robert Price - called that Gnostic-Agnostic, knowing that you don't know. :lol:
"Scholars conjecture that a sense of divinity in Nature co-evolved with the first emergence of human consciousness, perhaps 100,000 years ago. The earliest god was Nature."

As far back as we are able to look into the past, says historian Colin Wilson, "human beings seem to have worshipped nature, and connected it to a higher spiritual reality, which they called god or the divine."
User avatar
nandu
Associate
Posts: 3395
Joined: Fri May 31, 2002 12:45 am
Location: Kerala, the green country
Contact:

Post by nandu » Sat Oct 02, 2010 5:37 am

Hello tat and others,

IMO, what we see today is a decline in belief in religious institutions. This is partly because the societal role of religions have diminished, and partly because these institutions are outdated, and cannot stand up to the cold hard light of scientific knowledge.

Most educated people in developed and semi-developed countries would find it difficult to justify why they go to the temple or church... I suspect many of them do not take the myths of their religion as literal truths. The religious experience just makes them "feel good".

But there are more people today than in the past who do not need a god to prop up their existence. They have their secular myths.

Nandu.
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu
tat tvam asi
Associate
Posts: 470
Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2006 11:49 am
Location: Eternity

Post by tat tvam asi » Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:11 am

Evinnra wrote::) Hi Tat, long time no see ! :)

Though it is true that there are fewer people attending religious ceremonies today, I think the actual number of people who think about religion is not diminishing.
In the past, religious ceremonies had a function of creating social cohesion within a community , today we have Facebook - instead. :roll:

In essence, I think we do better if we do not mistake the change of social context around people for an actual loss of religious sentiments in people.

Cheers,
Evinnra

p.s. This one is 'for keeps' > God does not hurt the innocent , just like water does not make people drown 8)

In the case of the atheist and agnostic numbers rising there's certainly a loss on the religion side as they loose people over to atheism and agnosticism. Where are all of these rising numbers of atheists and agnostics coming from if not from the side of religious thought? But you have a point here that people are still thinking about religion because the atheistics and agnostics are the most savvy when it comes to religious knowledge. It's just that they don't believe that it's true. They do think about religion in terms of negating religious claims. And those are the numbers that appear to be increasing these days.
Last edited by tat tvam asi on Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
"Scholars conjecture that a sense of divinity in Nature co-evolved with the first emergence of human consciousness, perhaps 100,000 years ago. The earliest god was Nature."

As far back as we are able to look into the past, says historian Colin Wilson, "human beings seem to have worshipped nature, and connected it to a higher spiritual reality, which they called god or the divine."
tat tvam asi
Associate
Posts: 470
Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2006 11:49 am
Location: Eternity

Post by tat tvam asi » Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:28 am

nandu wrote:Hello tat and others,

IMO, what we see today is a decline in belief in religious institutions. This is partly because the societal role of religions have diminished, and partly because these institutions are outdated, and cannot stand up to the cold hard light of scientific knowledge.

Most educated people in developed and semi-developed countries would find it difficult to justify why they go to the temple or church... I suspect many of them do not take the myths of their religion as literal truths. The religious experience just makes them "feel good".

But there are more people today than in the past who do not need a god to prop up their existence. They have their secular myths.

Nandu.
I think we're basically seeing this the same way Nandu. I've had Europeans ask me why I'm even talking about literalism because it's simply an American issue these days, as they claim to have long since grown out it. For instance, young earth creation is primarily an American protestant stand these days. And even that has become a minority position here in the US. It's loosing ground to science. I think that has a lot to do with the increasing atheist and agnostic numbers that we see these days. Once the creation account is understood to be non-literal, then it isn't long before it becomes obvious that the God is not literal either and people get confused and take to agnosticism or get angry about it and take to atheism as a knee jerk reaction to being fooled by the church into thinking that God is real and the Bible is God's infallible word.
"Scholars conjecture that a sense of divinity in Nature co-evolved with the first emergence of human consciousness, perhaps 100,000 years ago. The earliest god was Nature."

As far back as we are able to look into the past, says historian Colin Wilson, "human beings seem to have worshipped nature, and connected it to a higher spiritual reality, which they called god or the divine."
Locked