It is quite extraordinary how religious people seem to be comfortable telling atheists that they are arrogant for asserting publicly that there is no god. Those on the liberal end of the political spectrum tend to be particularly prone to this failing, perhaps feeling the need to protect their flank with the ‘religious moderates’. (Connie Schultz is another columnist who does this and whom I challenged in the past.)
As part of this effort they sometimes equate atheists and religious fundamentalists. One example I came across recently is Leonard Pitts, a syndicated columnist for the Miami Herald, who in 2011 expressed his displeasure with us atheists who annoyingly keep asking believers to produce credible evidence for the existence of god. He thinks we are arrogant for saying that god does not exist since no such evidence has yet been produced.
He begins his essay with a quotation from a 4th-century Christian philosopher named Gregory of Nyssa that pretty much tells you what his argument is going to be: “That which is without quality cannot be measured, the invisible cannot be examined, the incorporeal cannot be weighed, the limitless cannot be compared, the incomprehensible does not admit of more or less.” Or as Pitts puts it, “God is not proven. God is felt.”
Unsurprisingly, Pitts finds common ground with Marilynne Robinson whom regular readers of this blog will know that I find insufferable because of her wooly-headed thinking buried under layers of metaphors that obfuscate rather than clarify.
Both of them seem to not realize that there is no difference between the imperceptible and the nonexistent. They both seem to think that because they ‘feel’ god, that this makes god real, though how they know that this feeling is caused by an external agent and not by the same workings of the brain that give them other feelings is never explained. When Pitts ‘feels’ thirsty, does he think that some supernatural agent creates his desire for a glass of water? How would he know if this is the case or not?