I’ve had some pretty interesting conversations with a couple of atheists through the years. Personally, I believe their beliefs are often, but not always, a reactionary counter to religious extremism, and the only way they’ve found to reject religions they consider oppressive and often hateful, is to simply (and wrong-headedly) stake their claim to the belief that there is no god at all.
But, I believe, and have had the opportunity to share with some of them, that there is a middle path, an acknowledgment of an Eternal Ground which, to me, is the initiation and flow of everything that is, the source of all universal energy, but is beyond all human words, concepts, or understanding. The trouble comes when humans attempt to use their language and their limited concepts to describe the indescribable.
When we tag something as awkward and inefficient as words and mental concepts to something that is totally outside the realm of words and mental concepts, it causes problems. There have been a few times I’ve made some progress in getting atheists to admit there could be something such as the Eternal Ground. Once I was even able to get one guy to agree that if he just didn’t have to put a name on the concept I suggested, that requires all the ritual and dogma that comes along with most major religions, he would be good with that. It would be something he could work with.
I remember smiling at him and saying, “…me too…I just think the word God is more compact and easier to say than Eternal Ground.” 🙂
Oh, and I’ve always thought that people who spend time in big city traffic jams probably question the existence of God more than others.