In large part, I say that I reject all religions because the principle of “otherwise” has served humanity supremely well. To reject all religions is not to say that I do not take their claims into account. The claims of religion are actually very important to those with an Atheistic framework.
We’ve realized that for centuries, and perhaps from our very point of origin, that human knowledge exists within a vacuum. We are in a vastly dark cavern and our limited access to all that can be known in this universe has sent us branching off into what appears to be millions of different directions.
Different cultures with different sets of learned behaviors and approaches to morality and truth have illustrated that nobody truly has a leg up in regards to religious claims. Also, as an Atheist I want to affirm that human spirituality is important. We all long for an intimate connection with reality.
There is something to be said, perhaps much to be gained from those who have explored the depths of isolation from their cultures and the chaos of daily life and business. As far as exploring and being curious about mystical experiences, I say have at it! This is yet another avenue that can be very helpful in understanding our position in this universe.
It is when people make exclusive knowledge claims about the overarching purpose for our existence that a red flag goes up for me. Human beings, as far as I can tell, do not have such credentials. We must recognize our limited nature. The limited scope of all human knowledge and experience. When we fail to do this, the probability of error increases substantially.
The second downfall to claims of exclusivity is the intentional separation and lack of cooperation that it creates between competing bodies of religious thought. I’m about to say something rather controversial. Human lust for the sacred gets in the way of discovery. Call it lust, desire, zeal, what have you. What I am saying is that the condemnation of competing religious claims does nothing to promote further discovery of the truth.
Isolation from other bodies of thought breeds a lack of trust and consensus about what the most effective approach to true and lasting knowledge is. It puts labels of evil and apostasy where an otherwise foundation of mutual respect could exist. The otherwise principle will lead to further humility and openness among genuine knowledge seekers. Consensus and cooperation is a beautiful thing, it makes us appear just a little smarter.