Before you fire up those nasty emails, there's not going to be any faith bashing here. In fact, I'm going to defend your religious beliefs. Sort of.
So there I was, enjoying some home made soup at Stormy's Tavern in Northfield, IL when I slipped down the slope of atheistic entreatment.
Atheists can be a demanding lot, insisting that for God to exist, there must be proof. Some of them-not all-can't seem to come to terms with the fact that faith, unlike science does not require proof.
It only requires belief.
Before we go any farther, we should clear up one common misconception. Faith and religion do not necessarily go hand in hand. Sometimes in fact, they can be completely incongruous.
That means they don't really go together, like plaid shirts and striped ties.
A certain political party has come under the control of a group of people who identify as religious, but are completely devoid of any compassion for their fellow human beings.
Some atheists like to point to the pervasive evil within the Catholic Church as evidence that God doesn't exist. In reality that only proves that perverts walk among us and some are priests.
It may be true that the Catholic Church is the oldest, most powerful and successful criminal enterprise in the world, but that still doesn't disprove the existence of God.
The fact is that the existence of God can neither be proven nor disproven, a statement with which both sides can adamantly disagree. That doesn't make it any less true.
People of faith can point to things all around them as evidence of a divine being. Trees, clouds and childbirth are all seen as the handiwork of the Creator.
On the other side, the lack of burning bushes seems to confirm atheists' assertions that there is no God.
Right about here I need to come clean and confess to a complete lack of belief in any kind of supreme being. The possible exceptions being Neil Degrasse Tyson, Oprah and John Lennon.
Speaking of astrophysicist Tyson, he describes himself as agnostic, which is really a socially acceptable euphemism for atheist.
Tyson doesn't waste any time though, trying to make others believe as he does. His only goal is to open our eyes to the wonders of the universe.
Proselytization is generally strident, annoying and condescending and it doesn't matter if it's religious in nature or anti-religious.
Only people who are already singing with the preacher want to hear it.
With regards to individual beliefs, the concept of burden of proof does not apply. If you gave me 100 reasons not to put ketchup on hot dogs, my answer to all of them would be the same.
"But, I like ketchup."
Ironically, atheist preachers and Bible thumpers both serve the same purpose, providing an echo chamber for their followers to reaffirm what they already think.
Personally, I reserve the right to believe what I choose without having to justify it to anyone. It only hurts when religiosity gets out of hand and tries to impose itself on the rest of us.
It's hard to imagine that anyone could be argued into or out of a belief in God. We can't even disabuse people of the notion that raging savages are invading our country to commit crimes in America.
Those of us who have managed to retain some semblance of sanity know that All the President's Men are all the crime wave we need.
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