Why can't agnosticism get a break? Is it our culture's insistence on certainty, either pro or con? Who knows, but here's another example of the obnoxiousness of so many atheists. As Charlotte Harris writes for the Los Angeles Times, atheists all too often turn off those they claim to want to convince with the obnoxiousness of their attitude. They take a flying leap at faith and one ends up just wishing they would take a flying leap, period. Harris writes:
I can't stand atheists — but it's not because they don't believe in God. It's because they're crashing bores. My problem with atheists is their tiresome —
and way old — insistence that they are being oppressed and their
fixation with the fine points of Christianity. What — did their Sunday
school teachers flog their behinds with a Bible when they were kids?
Atheist website after atheist website insists that Jesus either didn't
exist or "was a jerk" (in the words of one blogger) because he didn't
eliminate smallpox or world poverty. At the American Atheists website,
a writer complains that God "set up" Adam and Eve, knowing in advance
that they would eat the forbidden fruit. A blogger on A Is for Atheist
has been going through the Bible chapter by chapter and verse by verse
in order to prove its "insanity" (he or she had gotten up to the Book
of Joshua when I last looked).Lack of scientific evidence for the existence of God proves nothing, of course.
Suggestive hints of what Emerson called "a communication between spirits" beyond our knowing also prove nothing, although such instances usually are much more interesting than rants against faith.
Here's a suggestive hint of such a communication from the Cheever biography, while I'm thinking of it.
Towards the end of his life, Cheever was misdiagnosed and mistreated by many of his doctors, or so his biographer reports with a hint of bitterness. But one young doctor, an oncologist named Robert Schneider, did diagnose Cheever accurately. Schneider, unlike Cheever's other doctors, insisted that Cheever not drink. The misdiagnosing doctors didn't care. Cheever took this as a sign of Schneider's sincerity. Here's what happened when Cheever died:
In Bronxville…the young oncologist was playing with his three-year-old son when a stream of sunlight gushed into the room and he felt so weak he had to lie down. "I thought something bad had happened to someone, I wasn't sure who," [Schneider said]. "Then Mary [Cheever] called and said John has passed. We had a bond. There are people in your life and you're glad they were part of your life."
Folk singer Iris Dement expresses my viewpoint on faith simply and well in her song Let the Mystery Be:
everybody's worryin' 'bout where they're gonna go
when the whole thing's done
but no one knows for certain
and so it's all the same to me
I think I'll just let the mystery be
But speaking of the obnoxiousness of some atheists, here's the astoundingly succinct Ted Rall: