'I'm an atheist BUT ...' As Daniel Dennett noted in Breaking the Spell, a bafflingly large number of intellectuals 'believe in belief' even though they lack religious belief themselves. These vicarious second-order believers are often more zealous than the real thing, their zeal pumped up by ingratiating broad-mindedness: 'Alas, I can't share your faith but I respect and sympathize with it.'
... Look out for it.... Atheists as well as theists unconsciously
observe society's convention that we must be especially polite and
respectful to faith.
Let me not
labour the point. I have probably said enough to
convince at least my older readers that an atheistic world-view provides
no justification for cutting the Bible, and other sacred books, out of
our education. And of course we can retain a sentimental loyalty to the
cultural and literary traditions of, say, Judaism, Anglicanism or Islam,
and even participate in religious rituals such as marriages and
funerals; without buying into the supernatural beliefs that historically
went along with those traditions. We can
give up belief in God while not losing touch with a treasured heritage.
[S]ophisticated theologians like
... If only such
subtle, nuanced religion predominated, the world would surely be a better place
... this kind of understated, decent, revisionist religion is numerically negligible....
[B]ear in mind that I am calling only supernatural gods delusional.
Pantheists don't believe in a
supernatural God at all, but use the word God as a non-supernatural
synonym for Nature, or for the Universe, or for the lawfulness that
governs its workings....Pantheism is
-- "The God Delusion," by Richard Dawkins