A reader writes:
I wanted to let you know that I've enjoyed your dialog with Sam Harris. I have appreciated the civility, the respect, and the acceptance of ambiguity in both of your positions.
I was raised in a religious household, but gradually became aware that I needed more evidence for the existence of a god than I was finding. There was no falling-out with God, no anger, no sense of betrayal or loss. There was simply the realization that we are in fact on our own. Having said that, I still believe that a familiarity with religion is important to everyone. I'm deeply appreciative of the teachings of Jesus, infofar as we can attribute them. I just don't believe in magic.
But atheism is not for the faint of heart, and I don't recommend it for everyone. One must find a way to act ethically without believing in divine supervision. One must give meaning to a life that may have none--and must extend that meaning to others. One must maintain a capacity for awe and wonder. And one must deeply, deeply appreciate the chain of events that have led to beings that can contemplate what it all may mean. And finally, one must be able to live in a world in which the majority consider atheists to be bad people.
But again, thanks for the dialog. I appreciate a religious person who is courageous enough to listen. The actions of fundamentalists (Christianists as you properly call them) belies a deep fear of engaging the world. God or no God, that's no way to live a life.