I beseech you, my brothers, remain faithful to the earth, and do not believe those who speak to you of otherworldly hopes! Poison-mixers are they, whether they know it or not. Despisers of life are they, decaying and poisoned themselves, of whom the earth is weary: so let them go. Once the sin against God was the greatest sin; but God died, and these sinners died with him. To sin against the earth is now the most dreadful thing, and to esteem the entrails of the unknowable higher than the meaning of the earth… What is the greatest experience you can have? It is the hour of the great contempt. The hour when your happiness, too, arouses your disgust, and even your reason and your virtue. Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
Religious criticism, oftentimes by atheists, attacks the low-hanging fruits of religious deficiencies. There is no empirical evidence for the existence of God, scream the enlightened ones. Misogyny and other anti-humanitarian practices are justified, they continue screaming. While these criticisms are valid, although they can be drastically made stronger, the arguments flung across remain unchanged. There exist stronger arguments that demolish the general structure of religion, and institutions the atheists have replaced religion with, that are more effective. Not to mention beautiful, unlike the boring, insipid words of the enlightened ones.
Religion is one example of a True World Theory. A True World theory stipulates a distinction between our current reality, the Other World, and the actual, ideal reality, the True World. The other world inherently possesses a lower value compared to the True World, which represents the holiest and mightiest form of reality that could exist. The goal of human existence is to act in a certain manner so as to reach the True World. In other words, the True World becomes the meaning of human existence itself. Christianity, for instance, fits the description of the True World. Humans are part of the lowly earthly existence, and by acting in accordance with the Bible, and the Ten Commandments, one shall reach heaven. Heaven is a utopia of unlimited happiness free of sorrows. Hence, mankind establishes reaching heaven as the meaning of existence. Other religions follow this structure with minimal variations.
True Worlds need not make metaphysical destinations like Heaven their end goal. Plenty of political ideologies and social structures championed by anti-religious people are True Worlds in disguise. Communism is a perfect example. For Marx, the capitalist society represents an inadequate life for workers. The end created by communism is a utopian society where property is owned amongst its members, and resources are allocated in an equal manner. While capitalism portrays abhorrent libertarianism underneath, Marx’s solution isn’t morally right either. The idea of Romantic Partners, in some cases Marriage, is one example that is overlooked. Our culture dictates that the goal of life is to find a profession, make a career out of it and meet the “right one”. While there is no anthropological or psychological rationale behind this sentiment, there exist several arguments (empirical and otherwise) against the idea of long-term romantic monogamy. It cloaks a utopian promise of a soulmate, that’ll fix your insecurities and propel your life to a happily ever after. Clearly, that’s not going to happen.
A recent example that might be interesting is Andrew Tate. Tate and his fellow influencers (Sneako, Hamza, etc.) conjured the idea of a Matrix. Apparently, all the 9-5 workers are cogs in the wheels of the Matrix. A system used to subdue and enslave mankind to work for the elite. He proceeds to convey the solution in the form of the Real World. A world outside of the matrix where you are not subject to the rules and regulations of society, due to the extreme financial freedom that you will possess. Obviously, one can only possess it by purchasing his online programs which teach people to build profitable businesses. It’s economically impossible to move to a higher financial class in the current capitalist economy (refer to Piketty), because economic status is mostly influenced by factors, not in our control. Anyway, there’s a new True World making rounds on the internet.
Why are people attracted to True Worlds despite them ironically not being true? Firstly, these theories provide the lost crowd of humanity with a false meaning. By their structure, the meaning provided by the former is a result. Getting into heaven, finding a soulmate, and escaping the Matrix are events to be reached to fulfill one’s destiny. But such a meaning can never be objective. For if one were to achieve the said event, the event is annihilated, and the meaning along with it. This actually gives us a glimpse into the nature of meaning. For meaning to be objective, it can’t be predicated on accomplishing anything. If that’s not the case, meaning can only exist in the continuous act of becoming. Hence, the Übermensch. Furthermore, such a consequentialist approach implies a consequentialist morality to life. This can, and will, lead to several decisions that are outright immoral.
“Apart from the ascetic ideal, man, the human animal, had no meaning so far. His existence on earth contained no goal; “why man at all? – was a question without an answer…”Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals
And for the masses, it still is.