There are various reasons why I'm happier after ditching religion some fifteen years ago. Feeling ordinary is one reason. I get a lot of satisfaction from no longer believing that I'm on a special path that leads back to God.
Of course, virtually every religion believes that same thing.
So religious people are like the children in Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon. Everybody is above average. Or at least that's what those who embrace religion think.
Supposedly they've been singled out for special treatment by God, Jesus, a guru, good karma, whatever. So the pressure is on to live up to a belief that they're destined to enjoy a life, and/or an afterlife, in a fashion denied to ordinary people.
This leads to constant questioning by the Chosen Ones.
Am I falling short from what is expected of me by the divinity I believe in? Is there more I can do to live up to the moral standards, or commandments, of my faith? What worldly desires stand between me and the exalted spirituality I aspire to?
By contrast, us ordinary people are content with living an ordinary life in ordinary ways.
We don't agonize about whether we're doing God's will because we don't believe in God. We don't worry about what will happen to us after we die because we don't believe in an afterlife. We don't worry about meeting a divine moral standard because we don't believe in divinity.
Sometimes I'm struck by an overwhelming sensation of gratitude for having found the freedom to simply be who I am, where I am, how I am.
I feel deeply happy to have been deconverted from religious fantasies. No longer do I consider that there is a gap between what I should become and the reality of my present state of being.
Sure, I still have goals. I still worry about this and that. (Such as whether Biden will defeat Trump this November.) My mood goes up and down.
But all of this takes place against a backdrop of an ordinary life. I feel a stronger kinship with other people, because I no longer identify with a religion that taught its devotees to feel special, being on a path to God-realization denied to others.
I understand the appeal of feeling special. All I'm suggesting is that feeling ordinary is a wiser way to live.