An Andrew Sullivan reader writes: “Telling me what you don’t believe tells me very little, but it’s a really cool way to get into the conversation in such a way that everyone has to defend their positions except you — you get to attack.”

That’s just it, though. We have never been formally a part of any conversation in a significant cultural way. “Science” and all of its powerful and persuasive arguments against the idea of any form of sentient deity, has been relegated to some form of perverse parallel to religion, and often its culturally inferior antagonist. David Attenborough said of creationism that “It’s like saying that two and two equals four, but if you wish to believe it, it could also be five.” Why are those of us who are happy with the correct answer of 4 obligated to be “against” anything? The burden of proof is clearly on those who seek to answer 5, yet they cling to the cultural inertia of their customs and beliefs as if that alone is proof of the divine.

Don’t get me wrong, I have great respect for the religious impulse, and think that there is grace and beauty in all of the major creeds at their most philosophical. But if you don’t choose to accept the burden of proof for your beliefs, you absolutely have no right to mock us for accepting the world as it has been proven to work without the need to posit the wholly unlikely scenario of a deity.

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