I watched a debate some time ago on YouTube with Christopher Hitchens, Dennis Prager, and Dinesh D'souza. It was supposed to represent the atheist, Jewish, and Christian perspective. Of course, when there's an atheist in the room, you'd never know about the long history of tensions between Christians and Jews. (Let's be fair - oppression of Jews on the part of Christians.) Even though Prager and D'souza made a lot of the usual absurd claims, the thing that stuck with me the most is something that Hitchens said that I felt was a bad move. Prager asked him if he ever doubted his atheism, and Hitchens said that he didn't. D'souza and Prager then both went on to say that they doubt themselves. Personally, I thought that made them both look more intellectually honest than Hitchens.
I doubt myself all the time. I always try and consider that maybe there's some angle on the whole theism/atheism debate that I'm not considering. Of course, when I debate and/or converse with believers, I tend to hear the same sorts of arguments that I once used and have long since rejected. Still, maybe I just haven't heard the right argument yet.
Anyway, what prompted all this was an online conversation about the existence of God. The one thing that I really have a problem with is when believers say that they "know" that God is real. They really need to find a better word. They might feel that God is as real, and that feeling might be really, really strong, but that still isn't the same thing as knowing. I know that I have a dog. I can prove it. I can let you pet him. I can show you his poop and the holes that he's dug if he's not around for you to pet. In other words, there's objective evidence. For God, there's only the subjective - which is fine, so long as you can admit that.
Anyway, so this person told me that she (no, this isn't the same person I've discussed in recent blog posts) knows that the existence of God is the one thing that she's not wrong about. That's fine, I guess, even though I tend to distrust people who have such absolute certainty about an issue like that. What's really ironic is that in the same post, she told me that what I needed was some "humility" and the "willingness to admit that you're wrong." If that didn't sink in, reread the whole paragraph. She KNOWS that she can't be wrong about the existence of God, yet I'M the one who needs humility?
What a lot of believers don't seem to understand is that a willingness to admit that I'm wrong is exactly what got me here in the first place! But it never seems to count when you talk to these people that you once believed. Of course, she also concluded that she hoped that one day God would "reveal himself to me". That's patronizing, of course, and I didn't stoop so low as to say something equally patronizing. (You know, I was going to write it right here, but I'm going to be classy today.)
This is a funny thought too. Basically, God's just not bothering to reveal himself. I mean, he did kind of a half-assed reveal when I was younger, because if it was whole-assed then I obviously would still be a believer. Yeah, he'll get around to it, or he won't. It's another one of those "mysterious ways" things - which ultimately explains nothing.