Atheism is an idea. Most often (thank God), it is an idea lived and told with blunt jumbo-crayon clumsiness. Some child of Christianity or Judaism dons an unbelieving Zorro costume and preens about the living room.
Behold, a dangerous thinker of thinks! A believer in free-from-any-and-all-goodness! Fear my brainy blade!
Put candy in their bucket. Act scared. Don’t tell them that they’re adorable. Atheism is not an idea we want fleshed out.
Atheism incarnate does happen in this reality narrative. But it doesn’t rant about Islam’s treatment of women as did the (often courageous) atheist Christopher Hitchens. It doesn’t thunder words like evil and mean it (as Hitch so often did) when talking about oppressive communist regimes. His costume slipped all the time—and in many of his best moments.
Atheism incarnate is nihilism from follicle to toenail. It is morality merely as evolved herd survival instinct (non-bindng, of course, and as easy for us to outgrow as our feathers were). When Hitchens thundered, he stood in the boots of forefathers who knew that all thunder comes from on high.
― N. D. Wilson,
Death by Living:
Life Is Meant to Be Spent
For two hundred years we had sawed and sawed and sawed at the branch we were sitting on. And in the end, much more suddenly than anyone had foreseen, our efforts were rewarded, and down we came. But unfortunately there had been a little mistake. The thing at the bottom was not a bed of roses after all, it was a cesspool full of barbed wire.
Notes on the Way