Notice, though, his mention of "the invisible." A little mystery sneaks in there. I often wonder whether some atheists, at least, are repelled by the word "God" and its rigid, anthropomorphic, authoritarian connotations; whether they sense that "reality" (my favorite, multilayered word for the mystery, since you didn't ask) is alive and interactive and powerful, but prefer not to profane that intuition with a name. That would give them one thing in common with the ancient Hebrews.I think Penn nicely covered this point in a part of his essay she didn't quote:
You can't prove that there isn't an elephant inside the trunk of my car. You sure? How about now? Maybe he was just hiding before. Check again. Did I mention that my personal heartfelt definition of the word "elephant" includes mystery, order, goodness, love and a spare tire?The problem today is less what the word means than the way it's been stripped of all meaning.
The essay has great points on the sort of positive atheism PZ Myers called for three weeks ago. My favorite bit is this:
Believing there's no God means I can't really be forgiven except by kindness and faulty memories. That's good; it makes me want to be more thoughtful. I have to try to treat people right the first time around.Read the whole thing.