hi Jack, Paul Easton, I am an atheist, but not particularly angry, I don’t go on ego-trips or ‘inflate myself’ when debating theology, so I’ll take the bait and respond here. I do get worked up when spirituality and religiosity get in the way of common sense, but for the most part I engage the topic with an open mind & humor, both as a coping mechanism and as a way to build bridges.
of course no one over the age of 10 believes God to be a bearded man on a cloud. By then, kids learn as much about gravity and the consistency of water vapor — in science (!) class. This “maturing” of the God view, however, doesn’t legitimize either spirituality or organized religion. By the age of 10, the indoctrination is difficult to reverse, and while the individuals raised religious may evolve their image of God, they will be too locked into their family’s shared beliefs or their church-community obligations to be able to fully shed/renounce those beliefs. That is the vicious generational cycle of religion — get ’em hooked early, and they’ll never leave.
Except for a lucky few …
This leads to the realization that there are 2 kinds of atheists:
- those raised without any religion
- those who come around to a non-religious view later in life
I happen to be of the former category, hence I feel no pride, no superiority in my being atheist, I am just “eternally” grateful to my parents for not saddling me with that baggage. If anyone, it is the latter category of atheists who have the right to claim an intellectual higher ground.
Jack I also read your other, locked piece just now, the one that mentions the Tao Te Ching. I don’t think any belief system is unique in this — all religions have some version of the same “obfuscation narrative” (I just came up with this but it has a nice ring to it), that (a) our God is the best, but (b) we humans don’t have the capacity to fully understand him so let’s not even try.