Hi, Dena! So as you may remember from the piece I wrote that you commented on, I’m more agnostic than atheist. But as someone who was raised Catholic and left the faith behind, I do have some strong feelings about the questions you asked, so I’ll go ahead and give it a shot.
“Do you miss the comfort of your faith? This is one of the hardest for me to understand. I need my faith to sustain me through dark days and fearful trials. Does that mean I am weak-minded in your eyes?”
I do very much miss the comfort of my faith, though you might have figured that out from my writing. And no, I definitely do not see you or other Christians like you as weak-minded. At least, you’re no more weak than any other human being out there. We all need coping mechanisms in our lives. For you, faith fills that void. Some people turn to drugs to deal with pain. Others prefer something more healthy, like therapy or physical exercise. Point is, each of us has an emotional threshold, and we all need something to pull us back from the brink whenever that threshold is breached. So in that sense, we are all quite fragile. And that’s okay. It’s just part of what makes us who we are.
“How do you deal with the grief of losing someone you love when you believe their existence is over and the separation is forever?”
So as an agnostic, I’m entirely sure that when our loved ones pass away, they’re gone forever. I do, however, acknowledge the strong possibility that there is no afterlife, and it’s a possibility that I find extremely upsetting. That’s probably why I do not handle loss very well at all. I tend to shy away from confronting it. When someone close to me passes away, I prefer to try and move on as quickly as I can without ever really dealing with the grief. I know that’s probably not the healthiest way to deal with loss, but I’ve yet to figure out a better way.
“What do you think of Christians, in general? Do you see us as judgmental hate mongers?”
For me, this is very much a case-by-case issue. I’ve traveled around enough to know that the Christian community is hardly the monolith that some atheists and agnostics think it is. My judgments about people are based solely on who they are as individuals, and they depend much more on actions than beliefs.
“ How do you explain the mysteries and the wonders of this world?”
I always look to science first for an explanation. And if science can’t answer it, I turn to philosophy. And if philosophy can’t answer it, I simply wait until someone comes along and figures it out. I know that sounds like a cop-out, but it’s the most honest answer I can give.
Regarding the specific examples you give, such as the one about narrowly avoiding a car accident, I chalk that sort of thing up to pure chance. That seems like the most logical explanation to me, though I could certainly be wrong!