"Man has been forced to vegetate in his primitive stupidity; nothing has been offered to his mind, but stories of invisible powers, upon whom his happiness was supposed to depend. Occupied solely by his fears, and unintelligible reveries, he has always been at the mercy of his priests, who have reserved to themselves the right of thinking for him, and directing his actions."- Baron d'Holbach, 1772
The Baron's words are just as true today as they were in 1772, but the referents have changed. The "invisible powers" offered to man today are not angels and demons, but obscure material forces. These are the forces that make him contented or depressed, form his character, and direct his life without him knowing it. In place of the priests of old, we have "experts" who dispense therapy and pills to relieve his depression, other experts who construct government education and welfare programs, without which obscure social forces will inevitably turn him into a criminal, and yet other experts who inspect his genetic code like tea leaves and tell him that he is doomed to be a loser anyway. Instead of confession, we have therapy; instead of the sacrament of baptism, we have the sacrament of abortion; instead of Calvinism, we have genetic determinism. Man still vegetates in his primitive stupidity... but I cannot help but think that vegetating in front of American Idol is a little more primitive than vegetating before the Te Deum at High Mass.
Man's happiness depends on invisible powers. Unfortunately, that's just the way it is whether you are an atheist or a Calvinist, or something else altogether. The decisive question is not whether you can get rid of the stories altogether, but which stories you will believe.