I had a bunch of good stuff I wanted to write regarding what I wrote in comments on this Matthew Yglesias post on religion. But that was earlier in the day and that train of thought got derailed. Oh well, it was pretty good, if I remember correctly. You can search out all the stuff I wrote, if you're interested. It was basically about how weird some atheists are towards religion. I personally find religion interesting as a thought experiment and don't understand why some people are so hostile to it.
And the thing is, the "big A" Atheism position really is faith-based. You simply cannot disprove the existence of God or even take a stab at the likelihood of his existence. It's just impossible. And as I said in comments there, science can't answer religious questions any more than religion can answer science questions. These are just two completley unrelated fields, and if science can answer the question, it's no longer a question of religion.
And it's obvious that they have a big problem with the concept of "faith," with several atheists there insisting that faith requires proof...or something like that, I just couldn't understand it. I mean, if you've got proof, then it's not faith. I don't see what's so confusing about this. But as one commenter wrote "That's neither faith nor belief. That's dilletantism." I am unfamilar with that last word.
And another weird thing is how they can insist that gods don't exist. How the hell do they know? To make a claim like that requires proof, and as they already know, you can't prove a negative. Now, in their minds, they seem to think this gets them off the hook, as if they no longer have to prove that gods don't exist and that they automatically win the debate unless Christians can prove their god exists. But they don't. In fact, it means they don't get to make those claims at all. If you can't prove your claim, then it's not fact-based. And that's particularly true if you're making a claim that can't be proven.
And that goes for belief in gods or pink unicorns or the tiny blackhole I use to clean out my fingernails. If you can't prove that something doesn't exist, you don't get to claim that it doesn't exist. It's that simple. The rules of science just can't be used in the way these people want to. And as I said, science cannot be used to answer religious questions. Science is stuck working with the things we know and can't answer the things that aren't knowable. And once you start theorizing about a being that can do anything, all bets are off.
And the worst part is that they clearly don't know what Christians really believe, and seem to believe that most Christians are fundamentalists who only accept a literal interpretation of the bible. One guy refused to believe that Catholics had accepted evolution until I quoted Pope Ratzinger saying he does; yet the Catholics accepted evolution awhile ago. These people are waging a war that they don't even understand.
Anyway, you get the idea. I had meant to write a full post on the subject, but this is the best you get. Sorry.