On Atheism

“But your Internet friends aren’t really atheists at all,” Mr. Magundi told Brielle. “They say they’re atheists, the way they might say they’re Steelers fans, but they don’t believe what they say. When they insist that the Bible, alone among ancient texts, is without literary merit—when they insist on spelling ‘God’ with a lower-case g, though they still capitalize ‘Woden’ and ‘Kukulkan’—then I know that they’re not atheists at all, but believers in a state of desperate rebellion. An atheist would judge the various books of the Bible the way he judges Gilgamesh or the Bhagavad Gita; he would treat the Christian God the way he treats the Greek Apollo. He would not insult a being he did not believe in. Your friends are desperately trying to convince themselves that God does not exist the way a five-year-old desperately tries to convince himself that Santa Claus does exist. There are thoroughgoing atheists in the world who exhibit none of these peculiarities; they do not rebel against God any more than they rebel against the Easter Bunny. The so-called atheist who is in a state of constant rebellion actually clings to belief in God with more tenacity than a revival preacher.”

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