One interesting thing is how old age impacts one's attitude towards religion. At [a recent] luncheon, someone reported on two former...executives who upon retirement had gone into the ministry. [A mutual friend of ours] and I have certainly become more active in terms of church groups. You on the other hand, have become a complete atheist. I am certainly not consistent in my beliefs because I belong to the Anglican Church of North America (which has split off from the Episcopal Church) although I have neither supported the secession nor the opposition to gay marriage. Religion as well as politics makes strange bedfellows.Hmm, I wonder whether aging per se is the operative factor in one's attitude toward religion. I'd say it's more a matter of whether and how a person spends his time thinking about it. There's the believing way of thinking and the skeptical way. As a teenager, I chose the latter, although I didn't come to a conclusion until many years later.
Another, very recent friend, also emailed me. He wrote:
A brief sidebar on religion—a line I've always considered one of the simplest and yet most humorous and profound thoughts on the subject: "If a baseball hitter thanks God when he hits a homerun, shouldn't he blame God when he strikes out?"The baseball example has occurred to me a number of times in listening to people thanking God for this and that. They choose not to condemn God (or come to doubt that He exists) for bad things that have happened to them, but they're quick to fall down and worship Him for the good things that happen. That is, they (1) chose up front to believe that God exists and (2) continually cherry-pick what to attend to in order to ensure that they don't begin to doubt that existence.
This is a prime example of something I've surely said somewhere on this blog, if not more than once: For most people (and for all of us to some extent or other), thinking is mostly a matter of looking for reasons to "prove" what we have already chosen (on other than rational grounds) to believe.
Thanks to Paul Ygartua for Wizened old man - Lithograph