There have been certain influential thinkers (Marx, Freud, Huxley, and Sagan to name four) who have implied or explicitly stated that any concept of God is merely a fabrication of “wish fulfillment.” Although this idea is nothing new and is widely circulated, it none-the-less requires some illogical gymnastics. Maybe I am an exception, but if anything, my “wish” would be to live a life of hedonism where I could “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we shall die” and disappear into unconscious oblivion with no concern about eternal consequences. Perhaps others have different agendas, but why would I wish to be responsible for moral failures and evil intentions, and why on earth would I wish to be held eternally accountable to a God with very high standards? This paradigm is not what people want to hear, so of course, it is not a very popular message. However, the rest of the story is that God’s stringent requirements are, ironically, choices that enable us to live a good life, and that God loves us more than we can comprehend, so much that he actually endured the penalty for our going astray. So what is the theory? Do we wish to be loved to that degree and “God” is the only contrivance we can come up with?
I believe – based on simple observation of myself and those around me – that the overriding “wish” of mankind is to be independent, self-governing, autonomous, and free to plot one’s own course and to pursue one’s own happiness without restrictions. This was the original sin and it has been perpetuated throughout all generations. Secular humanism is the “wish fulfillment” of this innate driving aspiration. Many human beings want to be their own god and can often be seen making their own rules and figuratively flexing their own biceps whenever possible. It is almost as if to say, “As long as I don’t harm anyone else or interfere with their autonomy, then leave me alone to my own devices. Don’t bother me with that cosmic kill-joy you call God.” This paradigm is what most people want to hear, so of course, it is a very popular message. And so now, armed with a slew of materialistic dogma, there are those who can finally exhale with a great sigh of relief and announce to themselves that God is dead. Maybe I am wrong, but that is the only wish fulfillment I see going on in the world.