I’ve been over exposed to religion my entire life and I try to believe in all that stuff but it’s like an algebra problem you suspect you got wrong but you don’t know why you got it wrong or have the intelligence to derive the correct answer. Materialism is the idea that the world we can taste touch and see is all there is. Some reasons:
The colossal failure of prophecy. I don’t care if it comes from a parishioner rolling in the aisles full of the Spirit or a wizard sacrificing a goat in the middle of a flaming pentagram, accurate prophecy from the Dream Team or the Mean Team would go a long way in convincing me that there was something beyond this existence. If someone the beginning of 2019 would have heard a word from the beyond that we need to make two billion N95 masks and they could make a killing doing so, that would have been great. What passes for prophecy is usually as vague as a horoscope. Like “you’re going to meet someone interesting today”.
The lack of scientific evidence for the supernatural. If there were angels, demons, or ghosts it seems like it would end up on social media as most of us can whip out a camera from our pocket at a moment’s notice. We have elaborate scientific instruments to measure basically almost anything from gravity waves to subatomic particles. Incidents where the supernatural has been seen like with Prophet Yahweh seem to point to certain actors able to leverage glitches in the simulation rather than a world whose rules are governed by what our major religions tell us.
The fact that suffering is so incredibly isolating. The problem of evil is correctly on every atheist’s checklist but I think just is big of a problem is people’s orientation towards those who suffer. As a hedge against the idea of chaos and senseless evil Christians try to concoct a redemptive narrative around suffering and pain. Unfortunately this ends up backfiring on them because in order to keep this narrative intact they have to cut anyone out of their lives whose narrative doesn’t end up redemptive, proving that this narrative was a lie all along (just like in quantum mechanics you can’t measure without modifying). When tragic things have happened in my life the people who believed in “God’s plan” were the first to exit. During this time of plague it’s becoming increasingly clear that the people romanticizing suffering and the ones doing the actual suffering are worlds apart. Poverty in the best of times causes incredible isolation (especially as people get past 45) and now Coronavirus is killing these older poor people which is heartbreaking.
The fact the people on the spectrum are generally not religious. I have stated that the brain has to do a lot of heavy lifting to get religion working through/for you. The same social skills one needs to interact successfully with people are needed to interact successfully with a deity. And just like we do communicating wrong (according to society) we are even gaslit for our expressions of religiosity. When I was Christian I had this crazy theory about the color orange being really redemptive and that got pretty laughed out of the room. God is sold as being near those on the margins (as most autistics are) but our experience bears the opposite, not being able to build an image of God in our head that helps us function or being able to be accepted in a community of believers. Granted not every autistic’s experience is this but I’d say a majority are and mine definitely has been.
The observation that the content of Near Death Experiences are more a measure of the person’s mental health than anything else. People pushing the supernatural generally point to Near Death Experiences as proof that there is a heaven. What evidence they don’t admit is there are also hell NDE’s and these are pretty arbitrary, not contingent on people’s virtue or religiosity. The fact that that when they did a study on people’s reaction to shrooms they screened out those with bipolar and schizophrenia is telling. People who believe in the supernatural want us to believe these experiences are more than our brain’s regions communicating with each other differently.