Back when I took Philosophy, I was a little annoyed that several people ditched during the second half of the class.
And now I know why!
I just finished talking to an old high school friend of mine who was ditching his Philosophy class today:
Me: "Oh really? Why're you ditching?"
Him: "The subject. I'm going to wait until the teacher's wrapped it up before I go back, and he should be done tomorrow."
Me: "What subject is it you're ditching, if you don't mind saying?"
Him: "The existence of God."
("Oooooooh," I think, "I wish I was in his class!")
Me: "Duuude! I loved it when we got there!"
Him: "I'm not too fond of it. It just makes me mad. I don't like me when I'm mad, other people don't like me when I'm mad, so I was just like 'screw it, I'll come back when it's over.'"
I was initially struck by how bizarre a reaction that was. How could anyone, when faced with such an important question as "Does God exist?", just get mad and run from the issue?
And then I remembered that, when my Biology teacher in high school brought up the "white moths getting eaten because the Industrial Revolution made trees black" example of natural selection, my old Mormon self reacted exactly the same way as my friend is acting now. I didn't know how to combat it. I didn't know how to argue with it. And I hated it for challenging what I believed, so I reacted purely emotionally against it. I wanted the question to just go away. It made me mad.
I wish I'd spent a little more time with my friend, in retrospect, to find out what, specifically, made him mad, but he knew I was a rather open and opinionated Atheist and I knew he was in his church's band, and it was clear he was trying to steer clear of that subject.
And now it gets me thinking. Maybe everyone who runs from the "Does God exist?" question does so because they, at some level, have doubts. They don't think He exists, but don't want to think about it for fear of emotional or social repercussions. Or maybe it's just that the whole topic is one that requires a lot of time and thought and they'd just rather not deal with it.
My entire experience so far with the God Debate has been with outspoken advocates of each side — the titans of Atheism and Theism — battling it out in an apocalyptic war for souls. Each side takes up arms, presents arguments, presents counterarguments (and, in the case of the Theists, makes shit up and argues emotionally), and tries to get to the truth of the issue. And now, it seems, I'm seeing a third group. A group that has a concept of God, is familiar with the idea that it exists, but doesn't want to think about it. Much like political moderates who see both Democrats and Republicans and say, "I don't care; leave me out of it."