Religion has always been a big part of human life and history. As time progressed the grip religion had on people’s lives lessened and personal freedom to choose has become a right instead of a luxury. The number of people committing atrocities in the name of their god has decreased to a small number of extremist organizations considered fanatics within their own religion. That, of course, does not change the fact that many people and humanity itself lost quite a bit because of the beliefs of the powerful. Free will becoming a birth given right led to the development of brilliant minds which have helped and are currently helping to disperse the damage dealt by the dark ages.
Many famous scientists, such as Hans Bethe, Niels Bohr, Raymond Cattell, Stephen Hawking, and Peter Higgs deny the existence of a force greater than the human mind. Stephen Hawking has not only brought us scientific discoveries that help us understand the universe and help us progress as a species, but he has also become a symbol of success against all odds and an inspiration to many. Even with his disabilities, he opened a new door for humanity.
Authors such as Seth Andrews, Philip Appleman, James Baldwin, and Nadine Gordimer, also neglect the divine. Within their works, they promote understanding and compassion. They talk about the troubles of regular people. Nadine Gordimer specifically wrote about the dangers of human segregation and hate. She fought the Apartheid and was a close friend and advisor to Nelson Mandela. She also aided in the research and prevention of HIV and AIDS. Douglas Adams, on the other hand, writes in a more peaceful time, he contributes by telling grand stories of adventures beyond the limits of human capabilities, daring us to dream and explore. People such as him are key to the proper development of new and young minds.
People like Arthur Schopenhauer gave us new ways of thinking, of understanding ourselves and those around us, forged new paths for many schools of philosophical thought. He sought and understanding amongst western and eastern philosophers regardless of skin and religion.
For the time being what the dark ages have done has not been reversed, but these people sure have helped in doing so. Making steady progress is the key to growth, and people like these ensure such a prospect as their free-thinking allows boundless potential.