The recognition and experience of the splendor of the world and wonderment about its beauty and variety is what I choose to describe as a theistic reaction to the world. Acknowledging a complex universe without any experience of wonderment, reflection, and awe about an existence that includes love and joy would be a drab and unpoetic awareness such as other creatures on the planet seem to be living through. I characterize it (contrary to the common usage of the word) as atheistic: the explicit, and almost angry, repudiation of even a possible cause of ordered and wondrous complexity.
Where disagreements arise is often regarding the visualization, characterization, and personification of that unfathomable root of ephemeral Reality. Those who deny the existence of a Primary Cause such as is enunciated in traditional religions declare themselves to be atheists, even if they have that transcendent experience of Nature, and they are as eager to demolish the theist’s view as the latter is infuriated by the atheist’s rejection.
This is a tug that is likely to continue for as long as humans rejoice and reflect. It is dangerous only when and where on group gains so much power that it can silence and strangle the other: This has happened in the past, this still persists in some <God-forsaken> regions of the world, and is an ever present threat and possibility even in the most enlightened countries.
January 3, 2009