Several of you replied to Julian’s claims about atheists’ deafness to religion by pointing out that most atheists were raised theist by theists so we’re not deaf at all, we’re familiar with the music. It’s a good point, but at the same time – I’m not sure it’s always true. I’m not sure that being raised theist is enough to make one not deaf to religion.
I was nominally raised as a theist, sort of, but it never took. I think I probably am deaf to religion in the sense that Julian had in mind – I think that’s what “it never took” means. I should add that I’m glad to be that kind of deaf, but still – I think Julian is probably right that people like me don’t “get” whatever it is that real believers do get.
I never really believed any of it. I can’t remember the faintest trace of feelings of love for or trust in “God.” Nothing. All sorts of tv cowboys and characters in novels were far more real to me than “God” ever was. This means that I don’t know what it’s like to really believe it. I probably can’t even properly imagine it, because the awareness that I don’t believe it gets in the way, like a filter.
If I’m right about that, though, it could be argued that what Julian is really talking about is credulity. I know, his point was that there’s more to religion than what-is-believed and that it’s the “more” that we’re deaf to – but I don’t think that works. I think if you don’t have the requisite credulity about god then the “more” doesn’t hook you in that way – that intense, felt way whose opposite is deafness.
That looks as if I’m paying myself a compliment for not having credulity, but I’m not, really. It may have been sheer shallowness that saved me. I just preferred the tv cowboys. I’m serious about that: my childhood was made up of pretending to be either tv heroes or characters from for instance The Secret Garden; fantasy all the way.
I did at least know it was fantasy though.