R & Deism: An Atheist's Religious Children's Story

Demonstrating how to make life and religion sustainable given human psychology.

Posted Feb 14, 2018

I'm an atheist researcher studying the origins of life and with it, the origins of agency —selves, aims, and effort. Occasionally, I make up a religious story for fun. Here’s one, a children's story, in my opinion, the best use of religious stories.

I call this religion R & Deism, a cross between Research and Development and deism. Deism was the Enlightenment alternative to Theism’s God, active in everyday affairs. Deists imagine God as getting the universe going and not intervening.

This religion has something affirming and disappointing for everyone, a “God”-given purpose yet no intervening higher power and no absolute answers, a scientific goddess just trying to figure out how to make life sustainable by trial and error. In this fable we know what the goddess wants, know that she’s not going to intervene, and know that the most basic meaning of life is not to end it.

I wish people more enjoyed Christ the way they enjoy Santa, a mythical figure loosely based on someone historical but altered to express basic cultural values in vivid ways.

This is how religious figures are enjoyed in many cultures. In the US today, many people take Christ too seriously in my opinion.

It’s lovely that children think Santa is real, eventually waking up to a more realistic understanding yet retaining a warm place in their hearts for the mythical figure. The goddess in this story would be a good candidate for such childhood reverence and cultural appreciation.