I have been raised to believe in God, and I have always felt a presence, though my definition of the source of that feeling has changed over time. But, throughout that time, I truly believed in a higher power of some kind, continually watching over me. I simply couldn’t think of the world without a consciousness such as God. So, I have spent the vast majority of my life assuming that he/she/it existed. It hasn’t been until fairly recently in my relatively short life that I have even seen the world through the eyes of a born-again atheist.
I love to talk to people about the existence of God. Though the theists I talk to may agree with a lot of what I’m saying, if a conversation gets deep enough, we almost always reach a point of irreconcilability. It becomes very difficult to relate to one another, and I think that is because atheists and theists (whatever your definition of a theist may be) live in two different worlds. Our belief or non-belief in God is more than just an opinion; it’s a lens through which we view the world. I understand what it feels like to know that something was watching my every move and listening to my every thought. Even after I began thinking of myself as a non-believer, I had to call myself an agnostic because I still felt “it’s” presence.
So, I want to suggest something to anyone having a discussion about the nature and/or existence of God. When you discuss theology with someone, think of what you consider reality to be. If you are a theist, you know that there is a higher power of some kind, and all of your reasoning stems from that understanding. If you are an atheist, you know that no deity exist, and all your reasoning stems from that understanding. Don’t try to apply the other person’s reasoning to your beliefs because that’s not where it belongs. Instead, put yourself in their world just long enough to help you understand why it is they react the way they do. If the all atheists seem to use the same arguments, remember that theists see it the same way, too.