The concept of “latent religion” is interesting to consider. It manifests itself in the formation of metaphors. We are compelled from within to express figuratively the urges that seem to be built-in. Religion itself is our metaphor for that by which we try to make comprehensible who we are, where we come from, and why we’re here. The latent questions deep inside us have genuine specific answers that our minds cannot wrap themselves around. So, to answer the urge to know, we devise constructs that suffice, to varying degrees, to satisfy our understanding – metaphors; and the need for the religious metaphor is latent, I believe, in all of us.
Latent religion, with its accompanying metaphors, is as present in the atheist as it is in the saint. However, it can be ignored. The seed comes as standard equipment but its nurture is up to us. We have a lifetime to respond to the urge. We have a lifetime to construct our metaphor. Indeed, in a very real sense, our lifetime is the gift during which we choose to respond to or reject this urge which moves us toward our spiritual destiny of union. For us, metaphors seem the only way we are able to deal with the spiritual, and this fact alone is evidence of the latent religion in all of us. Yet it is so easy to ignore. It is subtler than the consciousness of our respiratory or cardiac functions. But, ignoring it results in a spiritual demise as opposed to a physical one.
I don’t see how any man or woman can believe with conviction that he/she is an agnostic or an atheist. They may say it, they may argue it, they may swear it; but deep within themselves they cannotembrace it.