People have played massive co-op augmented reality games for ages. We call these religions. When everyone’s constantly falling dead off their camels for no apparent reason, it gets kind of sad. So people decided that they should have a storyline with interesting characters and that they themselves should have quests within that overarching meta-story. This is all well and good until some people want to eject the disk and play another game. This causes quite a bit of tantrums and stabbing.
Nowadays, there is less stabbing but there is another situation: some players discovered they could shut off the console and go explore outside. These weirdos appeared in China, Greece, and the Middle East, but made their most successful stand in Europe. We call their escape from the arcade, the Enlightenment. Everything we have is a product of the Enlightenment. You can find reeds and stones and honey in the outdoors, but the thing you can’t find is video game discs sprouting like fruits from the trees. This makes the gamers anxious and hesitant to come out for too long. Cosmic inflation, the fact that the Higgs Field bestows mass, and the percentage of dark matter are all indications of just how barren the trees are of shiny discs hanging from their branches. “What does any of this have to do with me?” they think.
But the outdoorsy jocks are just starting to travel the terrain and have heard the birds promise worlds far better than the childish ones back at the arcade. But they can’t make the journey alone. They need everyone on board to help them along the way. Including those that play the game called Judaism 2.0: God Kills Himself and those that can’t put down Islam: The Final Saga. After much pestering, some of them said, “Okay jocks, we’ll go with you, but we’re bringing our PSPs.” These are called moderates. They alternate between looking down at the fictional images on their screen and looking up at the wilderness. This generally works, and moderates contribute greatly but they often trip. [Moderates are generally less happy than people who feel very certain about their views, according to a study I saw.]
So as one of the athletic explorers, how pushy should you be? Clearly, we can’t stay in the arcade. If you have family trying to lock you in, you need to get some courage and face their deceit.
I have gradually chipped away at my mom’s Catholicism with pure reason to the point were I don’t even know if she’s Christian. Whereas when I was a ten-year-old, she dragged me to a room and cried hysterically that I was going to hell for not believing in God. It was a difficult relationship and a tense struggle but now she’s much more reasonable and easy-going. It’s almost impossible at first, but with patience and calm, reason really works. Arguing about this with your family will also make you grow as a person because it will get you thinking about what really matters. Unless you’re making a case for nihilism. Which would be unfortunate, to say the least.
In the case of other people, I think it’s largely a waste of time unless you have a public platform where you can be heard by many. I don’t have the energy to debate old ladies trying to sell me Jehova, and I don’t see the point. They are likely deluded or at least completely misinformed about many other things in the world also, and I’m not the person to teach them all about it…Considering it took me about a year of repetitive hard work to talk sense into a single person by reinforcing the neural pathways that we needed reinforced in her brain so that we could have a better relationship.
But if you have influence, by all means be a champion of reason, not an atheist. Being an atheist gives pride of place to Abrahamic theism over other metaphysical ideas about creation, of which there are many.
The Hindu concept of Brahman is a less anthropomorphic version of God. The concept of chaos as the source of all things is also a common theme throughout history, with explanations often employing metaphorical characters like Izanagi and Izanami in the Shinto religion of Japan.
One can also claim that there are two or three or four architects. Why should this Universe require an architect, but that architect require none? But calling yourself an ademigod-ist or ademitheist would sound ridiculous. Maybe it wouldn’t if Constantinople had converted to some now forgotten Gnostic sect. We may not even have been a culture concerned with origin stories if Gautama had been born in Bethlehem (with a superstar P.R. team, of course) and Yeshua had been born in Lumbini.
We are all, in fact, apanguists and acoatlicuists but these terms have probably never been written except here because we are not hostage to paying them this kind of respect. If a lot of people started calling themselves Adaoists and started forming Adaoist organizations, the Dao would gain more public consciousness and Laozi would smile in his grave. The idea of a single, man-like mind as ultimate cause is probably more philosophically indefensible than many of the other creation myths. So it makes no sense that it should have such a high platform just because of what can be called historical accident.
It is also important to note that if you are living in America or another place with majority Christians, that they have hijacked the term theist for themselves when in fact they are a bizarre literary/metaphorical cult that is not humanly possible to take literally as theist. (Unlike the early Christian church which can indeed be considered theist because they didn’t call Jesus, ‘God.’) Muslims and Sikhs and Jews are theists. Many Christians will say things like, “God died on the cross for our sins.” A Muslim who literally believes that God is running the universe doesn’t understand this. His head breaks. Theism entails literal belief that there is an omnipotent entity running shit. You can’t say that this entity dies, because that would mean the universe shuts off or runs along Godlessly from there on. And Muslims, like literal-minded Dawkinites, don’t understand why God would commit suicide via sacrificing his son to himself so that he may forgive the sins he set up to need redemption by blood-cleansing. Christian theology changed with time to be more poetical/bullshitty/literary than the simple, blunt-headed Islamic worldview of bringing it back to basics. And yet most of those boring, old atheist-vs-theist debates involve a context of Christians defending theism as if that was naturally and rightfully their home-turf.
So don’t be an atheist, and especially not a achristianist or aislamist, instead try to soar out of the ditch and put everything in a larger perspective for them. It is more useful and prevents you from falling too deep into the holes of these transient imaginations that will be forgotten in the large scheme of things. We could be devoting that time to getting a better framing of reality by learning the current revelations of physics which can lead us much closer to truth than ever before.