Is existential awareness necessary towards freedom from religion? Once a person is aware of the absurdities of living, that they are but a decaying bag of chemicals governed by the laws of nature, they would realize that their attachment to religion is just an attachment to their illusory view of life. It is hard to escape the congruent realization that not only religion, but many other beliefs - rights, justice and so on are also illusory crutches we use to deny our own awareness of imminent death. Is it possible to make a religious person think about their death but wean them away from religion towards an acceptance that we don't know why we live and that is okay; that we will rot and be eventually be forgotten and that is okay. In a world that cares not whether or not we live, we have been finding meaning by mass hypnosis starting with self deception. Can we accept defeat against the impertible world and admit our inconsequentialness? This might free us to define our own existence better and be more empathic to fellow humans and other conscious beings that share this existential dread
I think I understand what you’re saying, but I think there’s an odd irony in it. Because, as I see it, what you’re proposing is actually closer to what an authentic religious perspective is trying to achieve.
The freedom from religion that you mention is desirable only when we define religion narrowly and popularly to mean religious literalism and religious supernaturalism. But I claim that a historically authentic religion, rather than providing relief through self delusion or distraction, provides genuine liberation through deep understanding of the actual human condition.
Nothing can currently facilitate this authentic counterbalance to existential despair better that a broad and deep understanding of the interconnectedness of science, history, and art. And how dangerous to our existence some of our evolved instincts, such as supernatural “reasoning” can be.
Authentic religion then, can actually turn existential base metal into liberation gold.