In a recent interview with Oprah Winfrey, the long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad claimed that to her the notion of a God was like that of the God of Albert Einstein: the sum total of humanity, and the human experience, “the billions of people who have lived before us, who have loved and hurt.”
This prompted Oprah to make a rather large and extraordinary claim: unless you were a believing theist, you can not experience true “wonder” and “awe”. She said that Nyad’s belief in humanity and the human experience was vindication of the “mystery” of God and his creation.
I have a suggestion for anyone who shares Oprah’s opinion: if you want to be truly awe-inspired, go online and look at the photographs that have been taken by the Hubble space telescope. Read about the paradigm-altering work being done at super-collider in CERN. Read just one page of Stephen Hawking, and learn about the Event Horizon, the fact that we may soon know not just where the universe originated, but where it is heading for.
I submit that there is infinitely more to be inspired by in the work of Einstein and Newton and Hawking and Darwin, than any of the lurid fantasies of Tertullian, who imagined with relish the idea of being able to observe the torturing of the damned in Hell from the window of Heaven.
Atheists have the entire world, and the cosmos, to inspire us. We do not need to invent or create stories of burning bushes or people being raised from the dead to inspire us, and see the wonder of our world.