There's an interesting article in the New York Times this morning about atheists who are organizing themselves to find the support of community and to advance their agenda.
Whenever I read something like this, I'm always led into a reflection by how little I am offended as a committed theist and religionist. Why doesn't it bother me? Shouldn't committed atheists offend me? Why don't they?
First, it seems to me that the reasoned and thoughtful atheist is not the real atheistic enemy of faith and religion. The real atheistic danger to faith in God is the practical atheist; the person who may say they believe in God but for whom God makes no practical difference in their life. In fact, I think that the committed atheist is much closer to the theist than the person who may observe a religion on the surface but for whom God has no dynamic place in their heart and mind. The professed atheist is at least trying to be true to his conscience and the reasoning being God created him to be, while the practical atheist fails to truly face the searing and subtle question of God at all. In this they risk breaking the commandment that prohibits the vain use of God's name, and because they are "neither cold nor hot," they can expect to be "spit out." (Revelation 3:15-16)
Second, as I have said here many times, it's hard for me to blame people for not believing in God. This is because it is my experience that most people have been taught--or have somehow absorbed--a concept of God which isn't very believable for a thoughtful adult. The God they think someone wants them to believe in is closer to Santa Claus, Papa Smurf, or the Great Pumpkin than it is to the original Mystery whom we name as Unbegotten Source, Word, and Spirit.
Third, I have a sort of a practical connection with these professed atheists in their desire for the ruthless application of the separation of church and state. Perhaps they want it so that civil society can be protected from religion, while I want it the other way around: so that the faith can be protected from the world and from the numbing lowest common denominator of our American "civil religion."
Check out the article here.