I was originally going to write a long post refuting Bill O’Reilly’s claim that it requires more faith to be an atheist than not, but I decided not to. I’ve made that argument so many time that the thought of doing it again gives me the same feeling as the thought of doing my taxes. And whereas I’m required to do my taxes by law, I’m allowed to pass on knocking down dumb repetitions of ancient fallacies.
I will say this, though: I don’t get the attitude that compels people like O’Reilly to insist over and over again that they have less faith than the average atheist. Isn’t faith supposed to be an awesome, transformative thing? I’m not one of the faithful myself, but I still appreciate the concept. Obedience to the tenets of the Bible without it — or with a cheapened, diluted version of it — sounds like kind of a hollow experience to me.
But of course, true faith is difficult. The people I know who have true faith and are honest with themselves about it haven’t defeated doubt: they’ve committed themselves to an endless struggle with it. I suppose that’s where grace comes from. If that were O’Reilly’s position — if he wrestled with his belief and approached the subject with thoughtfulness and humility — I would admire him. But evidently he’s decided that faith is too hard and uncertainty too scary to look straight in the eyes. Better to just be ignorant.