Atheism is not believing in God. Not believing in God is easy -- you can't prove a negative, so there's no work to do. [. . .]
I'm saying, "This I believe: I believe there is no God." [. . .]
And then he makes a pretty good case for it.
I'm not greedy. I have love [. . .] it's everything in the world and everything in the world is plenty for me. It seems just rude to beg the invisible for more. Just the love of my family that raised me and the family I'm raising now is enough that I don't need heaven. [. . .]
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.
Believing there's no God [. . .] I can read ideas from all different people from all different cultures. Without God, we can agree on reality, and I can keep learning where I'm wrong. We can all keep adjusting, so we can really communicate. I don't travel in circles where people say, "I have faith, I believe this in my heart and nothing you can say or do can shake my faith." That's just a long-winded religious way to say, "shut up" [. . .]
Believing there is no God means the suffering I've seen in my family, and indeed all the suffering in the world, isn't caused by an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent force that isn't bothered to help or is just testing us, but rather something we all may be able to help others with in the future. No God means the possibility of less suffering in the future.
(Hat tip: The Obvious?)
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 believe in God. [. . .] the God who embraced me when Daddy disappeared from our lives -- from my life at age four -- the night police led him away from our front door, down the stairs in handcuffs.
The God who warmed me when we could see our breath inside our freezing apartment [. . .]
The God who held my hand when I witnessed boys in my 'hood swallowed by the elements, by death and by hopelessness; who claimed me when I felt like "no-man's son," amid the absence of any man to wrap his arms around me and tell me, "everything's going to be okay," to speak proudly of me, to call me son.
I believe in God, God the Father, embodied in his Son Jesus Christ. The God who allowed me to feel His presence -- whether by the warmth that filled my belly like hot chocolate on a cold afternoon, or that voice, whenever I found myself in the tempest of life's storms, telling me (even when I was told I was "nothing") that I was something, that I was His . . .
That stirs a multitude of thoughts. Penn Jillette had a loving family. John W. Fountain did not. Without God, and? or? his belief in God -- his sense of the presence of God -- he, too, might have been lost to the streets. Can you call that only a self-comforting fantasy? Whatever it was, it had the power to save his life. Much to ponder here.
And finally, another journalist, Ted Gup, hums the praises of ambivalence in the face of complexity, and gives it a funny name:
An editor and mentor at the [Washington] Post once told me I was "Wobbly." I asked who else was in that category and drew comfort from its quirky ranks. They were good people all -- open-minded, inquisitive, and yes, confused. We shared a common creed. Our articles of faith all ended with a question mark. I wouldn't want a whole newsroom, hospital, platoon or -- God forbid -- a nation of us. But in periods of crisis, when passions are high and certainty runs rabid, it's good to have a few of us on hand. In such times, I believe it falls to us Wobblies to try and hold the shrinking common ground.