by Farris Johnson, Clemson University
Although I was raised in the conservative Bible belt, by middle school I had left any "faith" I might have had behind. I gravitated from a very early age towards liberal politics and humanism. As a young high schooler I made the intellectual leap from agnosticism to atheism and continued on in my humanist pursuits by working for many political campaigns and non-profit organizations.
As an atheist, I realized my claims about God, immortality, & morality was rendering a certain meaninglessness over life - however this is certainly not how I lived. I lived for political and social projects, I used language like "progress" and "injustice" while simultaneously knowing that if I were pressed to provide a definition to such things, I couldn't give an honest answer for why I believed they existed or even what they meant. Life was lived in two realms: 1) I knew there was a meaninglessness, non-absolute, subjective, and as far as I knew, possibly incoherent habitat for my 'existence,' but 2) I put this knowledge in a box in order to proceed with my own personal meaning. I realized that essentially, I was using some Grand Lie which ascribed unintelligible significance to my relationships and passions and work. As unstoppable meaning-makers, I think a secular person's difficulty is in eventually accepting that any meaning they create is nothing more than a very serious game of make-believe.