There seems to be a whole class of people who like to call themselves atheists but seem to go out of their way to praise the virtues of belief. Francis Schaeffer rose to prominence as one of the creators of the Christian right as a powerful political fore. His son Frank Schaeffer was once a vigorous member of that movement but then became disillusioned and moved away from evangelical Christianity to join the Orthodox church.
From there he went on to become that strange hybrid, the atheist who yearns to believe in god. In fact, the title of his new book is Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God. He even prays every day and goes to church every week. In other words he practices more religion than most people who are avowedly religious.
Schaeffer seems to revel in absurdities and contradictions.
“I do not always believe let alone know if God exists,” Schaeffer writes in the book. “I do not always know he, she or it does not exist either, though there are long patches in my life when it seems God never did exist. What I know is that I see the Creator in Jesus or nowhere. What I know is that I see Jesus in my children and grandchildren’s love. What I know is that I rediscover hope again and again through (his wife) Genie’s love. … What I know is that sometimes something too good to be true, is true.”
What on earth does all that mean?
I get it that for people who once believed, realizing that there is no god can be unsettling. But why it sometimes turns people’s brains to mush is quite puzzling.