A reader writes:
I am deeply disturbed by your blanket denunciations of "Nonbelievers". As many readers have noted in the past, the strength of your blog is your openness to differing opinions. The core of your appeal to me, at least, is the erudition and morality you try to bring to every debate. You seem to lose it a bit when tackling this one. In your response to Jerry Coyne, you compare "these atheist bigots and these fundamentalist bigots". Don't you realize that they're one and the same? Their -isms are different, but the core is the same. Atheist figures like Dawkins disgust me, a (hopefully) moral atheist, when he says things like, "When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When a million people suffer from a delusion, it is called religion.". How dare he condemn someone for finding the beauty in a religion, as you have? Religion, in its proper place, can serve as a beacon and a profound influence for good.
I do not believe in a god, but I can appreciate that sense of awe and majesty.
The moral lessons of the Bible do not depend on belief in the Almighty. One should attempt to follow Jesus' example not because it will lead to heaven, but because it is simply right to do so. Furthermore, I contend that there is profound beauty in the belief that there is no god. Consider the implications thereof. All of this - this entire universe - is the way it is through a series of incomprehensibly tiny occurrences billions of years ago. There was no guiding hand - it just happened. The majesty of that? It simply boggles my mind. But not only that -- We can work to understand it! All of it! Nothing in the universe is the way it is just because someone made it that way. There are reasons for everything! There are explanations and causes and effects and uncountable numbers of things which exist the way they do for no particular conscious reason at all, but fit together and make perfect sense. Completely. There is no hand-waving and dismissal of anything as divine. It is all natural, it is all scientific.
I realize that nothing in faith precludes the pursuit of the scientific quest for knowledge. It does, however, place a limit on it - we can never seek to truly understand everything about the creator. He is the Ubermensch that we can not ever hope to fully comprehend. Knowing that nothing in the universe is beyond our (eventual) understanding, though... that's the most magnificent thing I can imagine. Boundless science is, to me, more sublime than any theism.
The fundamentals on both sides of the faith/faithless divide can be wacky. It is just a bit insulting for you to lump all atheists together when you (rightly) object to atheists lumping you in with the Christianists. Properly understood, atheism can seek to attain the same sort of majestic beauty coveted by the religious.
Of course, Asimov already delightfully reconciled the secular advancement of knowledge with the concept of a Creator.