Should Atheists Respect The Religious?

Andrew Sullivan —  Sep 8 2013 @ 8:09pm

Non-believer Sigfried Gold argues in the affirmative. One reason why? Faith isn’t as easy as atheists sometimes imagine:

If the language expressing that faith sometimes seems over the top, full of hyperbole, expressive of an impossible certainty, let us have some sympathy for what believers are trying to overcome with such language. People don’t believe because they are certain; they use professions of certainty as a support for a nearly unsupportable belief–and, again, they do so because it is worth it to them.

The more evidence we provide that belief is wrong, the harder believers will work to maintain their faith. Their beliefs and justifications are riddled with absurdities, but demonstrating that only serves to push each side further into its corner. The question for thoughtful atheists is not how believers manage to sustain their belief, but why they choose to do so: what do they get out of it? They are not primitive people needing myths and fairy tales to explain a frightening universe. They gain a source of hope, purpose, camaraderie, and moral guidance that some atheists find enviable.