Scientific research has allowed us to answer many of the questions in our reality, allowed us to begin to explore this cave we live in and see it with clarity no religion can offer. But there is one question no living thing has an answer too, the question of "why?"
I recently contemplated death, and life, the difference between living and existing. As I thought about death I came to a better understanding of why religion was invented, the sheer terror of thinking about just ceasing to exist sent me into a panic. For the first time in my nearly four decades of existence I was afraid of something, but it wasn't death, it was ceasing to exist.
So I pondered a bit, there is something unique about the human species, something that did change. Scientific research indicates that all our qualities and abilities exist in other species, so I had to dig for a difference between us and the other animals. That difference was not an easy thing to find, but it dawned on me, we ask "why?"
Whether the other species are capable of asking that one question, or they are simply unwilling too ask it, we cannot tell at this time. Though it's probably the single most important question in the universe. Eventually I came to the one question I cannot figure out an answer too, why am I aware?
Awareness is common, many species are aware of the self, but it dawned on me that we are the only ones who appear to have asked why we are aware. The discovery that I have made is that not all humans have, or are even willing too ask that question. Instead they take whatever promise they are handed and accept their fates. So maybe it's not all humans who are unique in this manner, perhaps it's only a few of us that are truly unique.
The problem with this line of thinking is the long list of implications that could, potentially, destroy the very fabric of society. In fact, it has several times in the past. Someone asked these questions, dreamed up some answer that they hoped was correct, and someone else, who was unwilling to ask these questions, saw the answers as fuel to placate the masses, to control the masses. We call these dreams "religion" now.
So here, as an atheist, I propose the new religion of the masses, the one with no invented answers, with only your own hopes to consider in place of a mass produced placebo. There has to be more than this life, not a continual life, or some form or reincarnation, but simply something more. How we live is not an issue, but consider that helping humanity progress and survive does help you to forgo death a bit longer, as well as ensure you at least have a chance to live on after your body dies in the memories of others.
Instead of accepting the dreams and hopes of someone else, keep asking the question, for if there is any hope of something beyond this, it's the questions that cannot be answered that will be the keys to gate. Instead of making decisions based on some ancient texts written to drive the masses into wars, make decisions based on well thought out logic.
The more you look at the universe with logic, the more sense all the simple answers make, like "how" or "when." Logic for these answers will also help you to make better decisions than some ancient texts filled with pipe dreams of barbarians and troglodytes. The most important question to ask is why you are.