Salon runs an excerpt of the book, Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground With the Religious, in which the author explores atheist fundamentalism:

Our conversation continued, and I offered up petitions that the positive contributions of religious people be considered with equal weight alongside the negative.

“I understand what you’re saying,” I said, trying to weigh my words carefully, “but how can we discount the role religious beliefs played in motivating the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or Mahatma Gandhi?”

“Oh, I get it,” the man jumped in with a sneer. “You’re one of those atheists.”

I wasn’t sure what he meant, but it didn’t sound like a good thing. I shifted my weight from one side to another — another nervous habit — and picked at an hors d’oeuvre that I thought might be some kind of cheese.

“What do you mean, ‘one of those atheists?’”

“You’re not a real atheist. We’ve got a name for people like you. You’re a ‘faitheist.’”

Not a real atheist. I’d heard words like that before — in my youth, when I was told I couldn’t be a real Christian because I was gay. Once again I didn’t fit the prescribed model, and I was not-so-gently shown the door.

The author, Chris Stedman, attends a religion class at Chicago’s Loyola University, where he finds common ground with believers:

The next day, I attended my weekly religion class at Loyola University’s Institute of Pastoral Studies, a Jesuit Catholic-run program for priests, nuns, and lay leaders. As the only self-identified nonreligious person in the class, I was regularly met with many questions. Once, a Catholic classmate cornered me in the elevator after class, proclaiming, “I’ve been dying to ask you about your atheism!” Yet it never felt like an affront — she and the others were genuinely (and understandably) curious.

Sitting in class the day after my botched attempt at seeking secular community, I realized that I felt more at home with my religious colleagues than with the atheists from the day before. I looked around the room, focusing on each individual face; here were people who believed in a God I had theorized away years ago, yet they felt more like kin than most atheists I knew. While my classmates felt that their religious beliefs were right, they not only tolerated my beliefs but also enthusiastically embraced and challenged them.

Read the full excerpt here.

Michael J. O’Loughlin

Comments

J Cosgrove | 10/22/2012 - 2:16pm
Atheism is a seriously incoherent intellectual position.  An atheist can be a very nice person but if they think that logic and science are on their side, they are very mistaken.  Science points to a creator of unknown but immense intelligence.


The Enlightenment was essentially a reaction to the discoveries of Newton who found that the universe was extremely well ordered and functioned like a very accurate clock. Initially the reaction to Newton was this is how God works.  Subsequent to Newton many started to say, who needs God? The world was determined and any invoking of God was unnecessary.  David Hume essentially said everything is determined.  Kant read Hume and for 11 years crafted a reply as to how the spiritual world and the physical world behaved differently.  But the battle was on between those who wanted to destroy Christianity and any organized religion and those who wanted to defend it.


The next major science presentation, I will not call it a discovery like Newton's, was Darwin.  Darwin thought he found how life behaved and we have had theories of evolution based on his ideas since his publication of the The Origin of Species in 1859.  The atheist thought they had the final nail in the coffin of religion.  


The problem is that the science they use to justify atheism is bogus.  Darwin's ideas are very limited and cannot explain major species changes let alone the origin of life.  Modern cosmology shows an incredibly fine tuned universe that is so unlikely that the only explanation that makes sense is that there was a creator.  Or that there are an infinite number of universes and we are just the lucky one that makes sense. 


Science does not point to the Judeo Christian God but it definitely points to a creator.  So maybe our fatheist needs a little prodding in just what  he actually believes and why.