Cranky Old Atheists Helping Bright-eyed Younger Atheists

I love that Atheist Nexus exists as a resource and community for atheists, and I would like to make sure that we maximize that with very real support for each other. As a 41 year old, I guess I'm an "older atheist," and I would like to offer my experience and support to younger atheists who may have a question or two about what it's like "later in life" as an atheist.

I would also add that I'm a father of three girls, so for those who are wanting to start families but are unsure of what it will be like as an atheist in a religious country, feel free to ask me or my peers about that, as well.

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As nature would have it, the part of the human brain that levels out/grounds/deeper assessment of risk-taking, decision-making and the like does not finish developing until about age 25. (Oh the cool things one picks up at a random trip to the science center!). As any animal - humans included - needs to explore, experiment and test out its world to learn/absorb/etc, particularly at a young age, this late-development of our self-censorship makes sense.

In other words, the Mayokittys and Jezzys of the world are biologically more prone to try something different and off the wall without quite so much "Oh my goodness, someone could put an eye out with that!" than we who are obsessing over that first gray hair.

On the other side of that coin, we are social animals and especially at that younger age we REALLY don't want to be alienated by our core group, be it family, schoolmates, friends, peers, whomever. Leading to the teenybopper fashionistas who will buy the latest hip thing for fear of looking like a dork without it.

Ahh, to be teenage again and so much more horribly conflicted between my various biological impulses than I am even now!

Anyway, all that to say I don't think there's any rule in the book that says one generation HAS to rebel and piss off the generation above them. I think it is very healthy for that generation to fact-check the generation above them. Paraphrased from the 90's cartoon "Daria:"

Kids being babysat by Jane and Daria: "So what you're telling us is that grownups don't always tell the truth."

Daria: "Exactly."

Kids: "Then how do we know that you and Jane are telling us the truth?"

Daria: "You don't. And that's the greatest lesson of all."
Simple living will always be counter cultural.
Try it.


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