The Faith of Atheists

Atheismby Bill Kassel   7/28/14
My parents’ marriage was mixed, religiously, and while neither was active in their faith, the differences were a source of conflict. Their solution: negligible church participation.

And so I received very little faith formation as a child — not enough to shield me from the inevitable agnosticism that took hold in my teen years.

Perhaps I should be grateful for this. Because, while I ultimately became Catholic, my early spiritual rootlessness gave me a sensitivity to the feelings of those for whom belief can be a challenge (or an affront).

It’s true that thoughtful individuals can conclude intellectually that there’s no God. Throughout history many have, and some still do. But I believe that comparatively few people become atheists by conviction. My experience, rather, is that people come to doubt God’s existence — or decide outright for non-belief — because of several factors:

• They’ve confronted some evil or tragedy so great and shocking as to contradict any understanding of God as loving, compassionate or just, and make all religious precepts seem like lies.

• They’ve experienced profound personal loss or disappointment. It might be the death of a loved one, the breakup of a family, an ongoing sense of deprivation, or the withholding of love and encouragement. Any of which can force someone into an extreme state of self-reliance that’s unhealthy and leaves them totally isolated, convinced nobody on earth or in heaven could possible care.

• They’ve had some disillusioning encounter with a church or with individuals who represent themselves as faithful and moral but behave otherwise. This can be as directly hurtful as experiencing cruelty, rejection, or abuse, or merely observing motives and attitudes that suggest hypocrisy.

• They’ve never witnessed any particular benefit of religion — especially so in the lives of people they’ve watched go from church to church searching for fulfillment that remains elusive. It’s easy to draw the conclusion:

“Believing never did a damned bit of good for my (mother, father, fill in the blank ____ ), so why should I expect anything better?”

• They’ve discovered that they were misled about religion by people who are themselves ignorant of true Christian teaching or who mistake superstition for doctrine.

• They’ve fallen under the influence of charismatic individuals — relatives, acquaintances, teachers — who are emotionally committed to religious denial. These days, it’s hard to avoid such folks. College and university campuses, in particular, are aswarm with them.

• They’ve never come upon an argument for faith that’s convincing, or heard the Christian story told in a way that seems plausible to them. It’s especially defeating when Bible passages appear to contradict the evidence of science or when faith arguments rely too heavily on miracles. We live in a time when people aren’t always comfortable with the supernatural — ghosts, auras, and astral projection, okay; Jesus rising from the dead, not so much.

There are other discouragements to faith as well. And of course, not everyone touched by some demoralizing life situation goes all the way to atheism. Many find themselves in something like the agnostic confusion I experienced.

Also, it’s common enough to just drift away from religion with no formal or overt break. In fact, people often continue to identify themselves with the church of their upbringing or even maintain some indeterminate belief in God; it’s just that faith ceases to count very much in their daily lives and moral judgments.

But confirmed (or at least acknowledged) atheism is different from mere ambiguity or equivocation. It’s not so much a matter of belief being absent, but of someone embracing an alternative philosophy that’s renounced any allegiance to the traditional Judeo-Christian conception of God. From that perspective, most atheists aren’t nonbelievers at all, but rather believers in something else.

I think this is especially true of those motivated individuals who loudly proclaim their atheism to anyone who will listen and are committed to proselytizing others on behalf of what they see as intellectual, spiritual, or moral liberation. Their true religion is rejection.

In recent years we’ve been inundated with news stories about surveys purporting to show a steep decline in religion. While it’s true that church attendance and denominational loyalty have fallen, I think much of this research indicates something different from loss of faith.

For instance, in a 2012 Pew Research study, 37 percent of respondents identifying themselves as unaffiliated with any church nonetheless claimed the popular tag, “spiritual but not religious.” This is a testament to the enduring human impulse to believe — or at least to want to believe, which is very close to the same thing.

But it’s easy to miss this reality. The Pew researchers apparently did, when they wrote…

“There is little evidence that the unaffiliated are, by and large, ‘seekers’ who are searching for a religion that fits them or that they have embraced New Age spirituality, Eastern religious ideas or other beliefs from non-Abrahamic faiths. Only about one-in-ten U.S. adults who identify their current religion as ‘nothing in particular’ say they are looking for a religious affiliation.”

The researchers (or whoever wrote the report) obviously interpreted their survey findings only in light of practices that could be identified as conventionally religious (and, given its popularity, even so-called New Age spirituality might fit that description nowadays).Yet, in the very next line they observe that…

“The unaffiliated are about as likely as others in the general public to believe in reincarnation, astrology and the evil eye. And they are only slightly more likely to believe in yoga as a spiritual practice and in spiritual energy located in physical things such as mountains, trees and crystals.”

What could be more religious than ideas like “reincarnation, astrology and the evil eye?” They reflect mystical traditions that predate Christianity. Then too — slightly more likely to believe in yoga (whose basis is Hinduism) or in spiritual energy being located in physical things (which is Pantheism)? This all sounds like religion to me.

There may be psycho-physiological explanations for the impulse to believe. The online journal Science 2.0 recently (July 6, 2014) reported that:

“Cognitive scientists are becoming increasingly aware that a metaphysical outlook may be so deeply ingrained in human thought processes that it cannot be expunged.

“While this idea may seem outlandish … evidence from several disciplines indicates that what you actually believe is not a decision you make for yourself. Your fundamental beliefs are decided by much deeper levels of consciousness, and some may well be more or less set in stone ….

“This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since we are born believers, not atheists, scientists say. Humans are pattern-seekers from birth, with a belief in karma, or cosmic justice, as our default setting. ‘A slew of cognitive traits predisposes us to faith,’ writes Pascal Boyer in Nature, the science journal, adding that people ‘are only aware of some of their religious ideas.’”

Support for this way of thinking about religion also comes from research based on an evolutionary point of view…

“Social scientists have long believed that the emotional depth and complexity of the human mind means that mindful, self-aware people necessarily suffer from deep existential dread. Spiritual beliefs evolved over thousands of years as nature’s way to help us balance this out and go on functioning.”

I think what we see here is how God intended us to be. And it goes a long way toward explaining such interesting recent developments as the emergence of atheist churches. People crave community, after all, and community is based on shared outlook and the need for mutual encouragement — motivations that are all bound up with the religious impulse.

It also may account for the aggressiveness we’re observing among many nonbelievers lately. If, as atheists claim, they’ve succeeded in freeing themselves from superstitious encumbrances, then they should be able to just laugh off the peculiar whims of the faithful. Yet they’re increasingly touchy and defensive.


Because they feel their religion has been attacked.

The historically dominant influences of Judeo-Christian monotheistic beliefs and moral traditions, and all the related cultural practices, are a rebuke to them. Even the parish down the block (with its church bells and tax breaks) can be a real piss-off.

Nonbelievers probably always felt this way. But recognizing their minority status, they largely kept their feelings to themselves. I can recall how, when asked casually about my religious affiliation as a young man, I’d divert my eyes and mumble shyly, “Well, I’m not really a churchgoer.”

The advent of the Internet has changed the public posture of nonbelievers. Online communication provides a means for them to exult in their non-belief and connect with likeminded souls. So, while atheists are still in the minority, they’ve been able to join with other people who harbor doubts about faith and so build up a critical mass that appears larger and more convinced than it actuality might be.

The impact on society is undeniable. And the effect is magnified by Hollywood and the media, which have always had a soft spot for questioners of societal norms. Add to that the predilections of those who like their non-belief spiced with a certain carpe diem hedonism, and you can see why we’re currently experiencing a veritable tsunami of anti-religious/anti-traditional-values propaganda.

(To be clear: I don’t equate non-belief with immorality. But it does correlate with a strongly protective sense of personal autonomy — What I do and whom I do it with are none of your damned business, so keep your Bible off my body!)

I think it’s important for people of faith to grasp what atheism really is all about. We’ve tended to treat nonbelievers as…well…nonbelievers. But for the most part, this description doesn’t fit. They’re not people with no religion; they’re people who have a different religion.

Even secular science is demonstrating that fact.

I’m not sure how this understanding should by reflected in our outreach to them. But I suspect it requires more than just assuming we’ve got Good News they haven’t heard yet. In fact, I think that’s an assumption which has probably been rather off-putting, because it confuses principle with ignorance.

Just as the Apostle advises us that “No one has ever seen God” (John 1:18), we must acknowledge that God’s truth is not always self evident — at least not to everyone. We have to make a case.

With this in mind, a proper understanding of non-belief may demand a greater respectfulness on the part of believers. Because there are very rational and explainable reasons why people turn away from faith — reasons which might have set any one of us on a similar path, had we walked in their shoes.

Which is not to say we should accept atheist pretensions to greater sophistication, or tolerate their intellectual snobbery in assuming we need to grow out of our pious fantasies. Even more important, we must object strenuously whenever someone tries to paint religion as the source of all the world’s woes or the enemy of progress.

That’s the devil’s lie writ large, and we should give it no quarter.

As Christians, we’re called to evangelize because we have an important message which must be shared: the way to eternal life. But if I’m right about the nature of atheism, then what we’ve called evangelization might be better approached as — in a certain sense — interfaith dialogue. And dialogue requires understanding and genuine good will. On both sides.

It would be interesting to see how nonbelievers would respond to our invitation to talk on those terms.

BillKasselBill Kassel is a writer, communications consultant, and media producer based in Michigan. His essays and random rants can be found online at • (3412 views)

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27 Responses to The Faith of Atheists

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    I suspect the key to militant atheism is a form of self-deification combined with hatred of the existing Judeo-Christian culture. After all, do atheists react to people mentioning the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, or the Tooth Fairy (or, quite often, the demon Allah) the way they do the Christian religion?

    Elizabeth is a Southern Baptist and I’m a deist (with occasional agnostic tendencies) from an Episcopalian background, so we have a similar sort of difference. This doesn’t keep her from being active in her church. Recently I noticed someone saying that people need to share values, which may be why our religious difference isn’t a problem. (Elizabeth once described me as an agnostic who was also a Christian conservative.)

  2. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    This is a good article by Bill. And he’s much to ecumenical for my taste. 🙂 I like to whack the atheists upside the head, for they usually deserve a good rhetorical butt-kicking.

    It seems to me that God is either a product of wish fulfillment or he is the very Necessary Being without whom existence would make no sense and the idea (let alone the reality) of coherence would be impossible and a logical absurdity.

    In short, with a bit of elementary understanding, one will find that the comic book view of the universe is held by and large by atheists. That doesn’t mean I hold to anyone’s specific religious views for how the way things really are. I, frankly, don’t think we have much of a clue. Maybe some do. I don’t.

  3. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    If, as atheists claim, they’ve succeeded in freeing themselves from superstitious encumbrances, then they should be able to just laugh off the peculiar whims of the faithful. Yet they’re increasingly touchy and defensive.

    I found out just how sensitive they are when I wrote the piece, “Atheistic Fundamentalists”.

    One man cut all connections to the site because of this. You would think I had kidnapped his baby.

    Which just goes to show that atheists can be as irrational as they claim believers to be.

    • Rosalys says:

      I just followed the link to your other article (I hadn’t read it – it was before I discovered Stubborn Things.)

      Wow! 82 responses! I’ve never seen 82 responses to any article on this site! Must be a humdinger of a discussion. It’s 2 a.m. and I’ll have to leave it until tomorrow to read them.

      • Rosalys says:

        I just finished my 2.5 hour class at Stubborn Things University entitled Atheistic Fundamentalist. Quite a read and quite an education.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          I am glad to hear it was of use to you.

          I just reread the article and some of the posts. I must say, there were some pretty good thoughts there.

          I think Brad should do a book on this stuff. “The Best of Stubborn Things”.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      One man cut all connections to the site because of this. You would think I had kidnapped his baby.

      As I say, it ain’t a discussion unless there is at least a meltdown. That’s when you get to the truth of things.

      And I’ll stand by my original statements in that thread. I think atheism is the religion of the aggrieved while Christianity (when it’s not running madly toward socialism via “social justice”) is the religion of the hopeful.

      One produces a nasty sort. The other a fine sort. It’s as simple as that. Life without a bit of humility and gratitude is a life that is as smooth and pliable as a piece of coarse sandpaper. And it shows. I’m rarely disappointed by the noxious behavior of atheists.

      They say you are what you eat. Well, you are what you think as well. If there are more supernatural elements to this as well, then so be it. That’s just icing on the cosmic cake.

  4. Rosalys says:

    Two of my coworkers claimed to be atheists.

    One of them railed against Christianity, spewing forth venom on a regular basis. I came to the conclusion that he didn’t really not believe in God. No, he hated God. A very, very troubled man who on occasion tried to be/do good but with the wrong motivation. He did and said things sometimes which made me think he wanted the approval of God – but on his own terms, not God’s. He was a self centered and miserable individual who often talked about committing suicide until one day when he finally did. What a sad and tragic waste of a life!

    The other man I think is a real atheist. He doesn’t waste a lot of time and energy attacking other religions; he simply doesn’t believe. Of the two he was much, much easier to get along with.

    • Rosalys says:

      I might add that my coworker who committed suicide was a leftist in his thought and my other easy-to-get-along-with colleague is very right of center.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Yes, I’ve found it interesting how much of militant atheism involves reacting to the Cross the way Dracula does. A genuinely rational atheist wouldn’t believe religious references are valid, but wouldn’t react angrily to them either. And it’s interesting how few of them (Hitchens was an exception) react negatively to the demonic Allah of the religion of Submission.

  5. faba calculo says:

    “…we must acknowledge that God’s truth is not always self evident — at least not to everyone. We have to make a case…there are very rational and explainable reasons why people turn away from faith — reasons which might have set any one of us on a similar path, had we walked in their shoes”

    Interesting article, both well laid out and fair.

    In my experiences in talking with theists (OK, Christians), I’ve found it rare indeed to come across any who acknowledge anything close to the above. I’ve found it much more typical for disbelief to be necessarily equated to knowing rebellion against God.

    In the case of those who think that the non-believer will face an afterlife of eternal conscious torment, that equation may make some sense, as the alternative would be that God lets people go to such an eternity merely for having weighed out the evidence incorrectly. (That, at least, would be the case for those who emphasize the role of free will rather than divine election in the decision making process.)

  6. I really appreciate the even tone of this article. I especially liked the classification of the differing motivations for atheist conclusions. The church — writ large — is at fault in much of the anti-Christian sentiment we see in atheism. So many theological aberrations are very visible to the thinking person, and are often repugnant — legalism, for instance, gives the impression that Christianity is all about following the rules. We who are Christians have a duty to “be able to give an answer,” to be well-enough informed about our theology to talk intelligently and lovingly about it, to counter the anger and ignore the superiority complexes of those who can’t find the light in the forest. Thanks for an excellent piece.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      The church — writ large — is at fault in much of the anti-Christian sentiment we see in atheism.

      One of the things that I think Christians need to take to heart is the idea of “Onward Christian Soldier.” I still have the song bouncing around in my brain from Sunday school classes from way back when. Christians need to be a bit more self-confident.

      Stipulation: Yes, there are obnoxious, holier-than-thou Christians. Their are obnoxious, holier-than-thou people in all walks of life. That is a given.

      But I really have to have a friendly disagreement with you on this one, Deana. One can blame Christians for many things, but not for the typically rot-gut attitudes of atheists. They have created that all by themselves.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      The church — writ large — is at fault in much of the anti-Christian sentiment we see in atheism.

      Only in the sense that it exists. One should not overlook the fact that much of what passes as anti-Christian sentiment is really anti-Western sentiment. The two are so intertwined that I am not sure where one begins and the other ends. In addition to this there is often a strong anti-free market sentiment.

      Much can be said against “the church”, but only a dishonest person could blame his “atheism” on any church.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Extremely well said, Mr. Kung. Thanks for filling in for my half-realized post.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        There are a lot of Americans today who consider themselves to belong to no church, but remain theists (and possibly even Christians). That’s how one reacts to church corruption (such as the Catholic pedophilia scandal). Someone who blames God for the failings of humans is just using that as the excuse.

  7. Oh — I agree that an atheist’s anti-God stance is entirely his choice, but the church is guilty of many of the infractions held against it. We have advertised badly and twisted the gospel into something that is far from the Good News it really is.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I wish I could get Elizabeth to check out this site, especially the religious pieces (and their responses). I think she’d find much of the material interesting, and might have much worthwhile to say.

  8. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    There’s a reason I’m a bit more fire-and-brimstone about atheism. It’s because I think the majority of what we call “atheists” are the equivalent of undisciplined boys. Let us not forget those famous words of Thomas Sowell: “Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late.” This is most likely the case with Libertarians as well.

    And so I believe it is the case with most atheists. There is a reason that “obnoxious and self-righteous” tend to go hand-in-hand with advocates of atheism. These are the counter-culturalists who have added to the choir of those short-sighted and somewhat narcissistic people who pick at the bones of Western Civilization and say “What a good boy am I” for having done so. They are just another Vandal who thinks he is superior and righteous by taking an ideological sledgehammer to the past — to tradition of any kind — never having to be *for* anything. As a friend of mine says, these are the types of people who need a little bit of civilization beaten into them.

    It’s one thing not to believe in God. Fine, it’s a free country. And I think the vast majority of such people call themselves agnostics. It’s not just that they are leaving open the possibility of god and are somewhat humble in their declarations about what “is” at the most ultimate level, although that is a part of it. I think they call themselves “agnostics” because they know that atheism, by and large, isn’t a philosophical presupposition but a creed, and a noxious one at that. It’s a creed much more likely to be aligned and defined by Leftism or socialism than by a mere philosophical statement of the disbelief in God. One could, in theory, be a raving conservative and not believe in God. But “atheism” takes this belief to a more active and Leftist political level.

    So instead of letting some of these dishonest people hide under the philosophical title of “atheism,” I say we out them for who they are. They are the very vanguard of those who would tear down every decent principle that our civilization is founded upon. And I, for one, am not going to pretend otherwise. For those who have sincere doubts about God, well, I do as well. But I have very few doubts about the fact that atheism will destroy all that it touches while The Good News tends to bring something much better.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      I just finished reading the book “Allan’s Wife” which is part of the Allan Quatermain series. In one scene Allan has been speaking to Indaba-zimbi, a Zulu wizard who used a wonderful simile about rain when discussing life and death. I found Quartermain’s remarks about this to be pertinent to our discussions here.

      “He was a strange man, this old rain-making savage, and there was more wisdom in him than in many learned atheists-those spiritual destroyers who, in the name of progress and humanity, would divorce hope from life, and leave us wandering in a lonesome, self-consecrated hell.”

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Boy, that Haggard does not sound like your typical Ron Paul voter. 😀

        That’s a great quote, Mr. Kung, and I’m glad you’re continuing to enjoy the Allan Quatermain series. I am presently at my 9th (or so…depending upon how you count them) book: Finished. I’ve read about a chapter into it before getting side-tracked by a Dalrymple book and a couple others. But I will return to it, for sure, because it’s the wrapping-up of the whole Zulu escapade. Sort of an unofficial trilogy in that regard.

        As I noted in your original thread, I make allowances for two types of “atheists.” And those quotes are necessary around “atheist” because when dealing with this modern Orwellian-infused culture, we must get to the meaning and essence of a thing rather than allow that meaning or essence to be disguised in words, often intentionally dishonest and manipulative words.

        Case A: I do not believe in a conscious being commonly referred to as “God.” I believe the universe arose from merely physical and random processes.

        Case B: I am anti-Christian, angry, and just plain spiteful of the very idea that there could be a loving god. And I dislike the fact that there are happy Christians in this world when I am so miserable myself. I hide my true identity behind a veneer of being for “reason,” “science,” and “rationality.” And I almost always am supportive of the Left. My “atheism” is one part non-theism (the thin philosophical component) and twenty parts left-of-center political and social beliefs.

        If anyone disagrees with this assessment, fine. But that is how I parse this question. And I think there are very few people in Case A. In fact, they are like the mythical “moderate” Muslim. Everybody sings his praises, but as a functioning belief and practice, it is a negligible and unimportant component.

        • Timothy Lane says:

          Here’s how I look at liberals, and the method is applicable also to other beliefs (such as “scientific” creationists or atheists):

          First, I disagree with them most of the time (perhaps not so much for atheists, at least in those in your group A). But we all have places where we disagree — for example, Elizabeth is a Southern Baptist and daughter of missionaries whose father was a CO during World War II, whereas I’m a military brat raised Episcopalian and now more or less a deist.

          Second, I find much liberal disputation reprehensible (for reasons we have all stated many times). This is also true for atheists of your group B. But, again, we’re all imperfect. If they can accept my ethical criticism of their arguments (as well as my disagreement), then we can get along.

          Finally, there are those who actually hate those who oppose them. This is very common among liberals; I’m not sure how common it is among atheists. Naturally, my response to those who hate me is to hate them back ten-fold. (Do unto others as they do unto you — and a lot harder.)

          This allows you to accept as reasonable those atheists (and there undoubtedly are some) in group A while criticizing harshly those in group B.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            I’m going a bit old school (aka “divisive”) on this subject, Timothy, in order to draw out the essential elements. When pushed (by someone such as yourself), I will grudgingly admit that there is such a beast as a conservative atheist.

            But what I think is essential to understanding this topic is to be able to differentiate between the metaphysics and the various social and political creeds. There is the belief in no God or gods, and then there is this other thing that is more of an identity, creed, and/or political position thrown in on top of the “no God or gods” aspect.

            Granted, as a conservative, I will state that these aspects are also integrated. Belief in the metaphysics of “no God or gods” will tend to lead to a different world view, a different (and usually lesser) morality, and a different politics. But it is statistically possible to find an atheist conservative just as it is possible to find a four-leaf clover. But their once-in-a-blue-moon occurrence should not obscure what I think are these two essential aspects: the metaphysics and the various social and political creeds — both which share the word “atheism” and both (particularly the latter) which hide many other elements inside of that word.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Very interesting article. As you say, it’s a reminder that a large bloc of atheists want to feel aggrieved (which is only natural for liberals, since self-professed victimhood is their goal in life — perhaps that’s why they don’t seem to be very happy people). The surprise is that this happened in the Seattle-Tacoma area, not in the more conservative eastern part of the state. Or maybe that’s why it was so “controversial” (which, in Liberal Newspeak, means “undesirable to liberals”).

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Or maybe that’s why it was so “controversial” (which, in Liberal Newspeak, means “undesirable to liberals”).

        You got that right, Timothy. It’s now controversial to say that marriage ought to be between a man and a woman, that pot is bad for the brain, that America and Western Civilization are a step up over the third world in terms of actual progress, and that there is such thing as good and evil. The list of “controversial” topics keep growing.

  9. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    There’s a pretty decent article by Spencer Case over at NRO about a new atheist channel: Godless Transmissions: Atheist TV Hits the Airwaves.

    Aside from what I think is a really stupid idea regarding yet another useless TV channel for the prime polluter of our culture, I was amused by the sub-headline of this article: “The skeptical channel’s ideological commitments won’t appeal to conservative atheists.” And, after all, as Charles Cooke has proven once and for all, “conservatism is compatible with atheism.”

    There is stupid coming and going in all this. First off, I’m guessing that 99.9% of “conservative” atheists are actually libertarians. And, again, even if you do find that rare two-headed thing called a “conservative atheist,” this is no more significant regarding understanding the nature of atheism than finding a two-headed snake tells you about the nature of reptiles.

    Case does get one thing very right:

    The trouble is, the members of what Muscato calls “the atheist community” are often not merely atheists who are more involved. Many of them see their atheism as a part of a bigger ideological package. In the atheist community, religion is seen as invariably pernicious, and Charles Darwin is elevated to the status of secular saint. The words “reason” and “science” are used as interchangeable synonyms.

    In thinking about atheism, the analogy that popped into my head the other day was a monkey in one of those small cages in a large variety store. This used to be common before the era of more humane zoo keeping. Large stores (such as the old B & I in Tacoma, WA) used to keep monkeys and apes behind glass in very small cages right across from the refrigerators and other goods.

    I remember one time viewing some monkeys or chimpanzees in their cramped quarters while touring the store as a child. The monkeys, having had their horizons shrunk to an incredible degree, had devolved to either playing with their feces or with their own sexual organs.

    And that is how I view atheists. You cannot live in this incredible world and not have some respect for the sublime and the transcendent — unless, of course, you put yourself in the cage of atheism.

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