The following lecture of mine was a response given to an atheist who made the following comment to a person who expressed a belief in God on one of the online political boards I frequent (in bold face):
Just please try to keep most of your Bible-induced schizophrenia to yourself. It scares me when grown men talk about God as if he is real.
Here was my response to the above quoted atheist:
Larry, I do wish you would keep in mind that not everyone in this world who agrees with the manifold problems caused by Christianity and the other two major organized religions of the world has embraced atheism as a result. There are alternative spiritual systems that have little in common with organized religion which also serve as an alternative to atheism that works well for many people, including myself (I am Wiccan). I am not saying that you should join one, or that everyone who disagrees with organized religion are automatically suited for one, or that atheistic schools of thought do not have an important place in the world that deserves respect and tolerance. But the haughty and arrogant attitude expressed by many atheists like yourself towards any and all aspects of spirituality or views of the universe that are not entirely materialistic is really grating to those who do have a spiritual foundation in their lives.
While I cannot prove the existence of any non-human intelligence that may exist on another plane of reality to you, please keep in mind that you cannot disprove it either. Assuming in knee-jerk fashion that something definitely does not exist simply because you cannot see it or prove it with modern scientific technology and methodologies is not rational or scientific. Need I remind you that until the mid-to-late 19th century, scientific technology wasn't advanced enough to prove the existence of unseen entities (living and otherwise) such as microrganisms and molecules, atoms, and the entire sub-atomic realm? And this despite the fact that certain educated individuals in ancient societies once posited the existence of microorganisms, only to be refuted by the dominant school of thought extant during their time period. This was because at the time, it was impossible to prove the existence of these microscopic life forms with the primitive level of technology and scientific understanding of the universe that was then available to those ancient civilizations. It was only within the past two centuries that science developed the technology and testing methods to prove that life can exist on a scale too small for the human eye to see, and with that discovery came the realization that these unseen forms of life (e.g., bacteria and viruses) possess the capacity to influence the macroscopic world we are familiar with in a major fashion, and in many different ways.
Time and future technology will tell if we can one day prove the existence of entities--be they inferior, on par, or superior to our fully material species in intelligence--that may exist on a 'higher' plane of reality as our own, and yet be capable of influencing the world we are familiar with in sometimes major ways, and possibly forming mutualistic symbiotic relationships with intelligent species like the human race as many microorganisms are known to do. Hence, dismissing the existence of such intelligences out of hand at this point in our limited scientific understanding of the universe simply because you loathe organized forms of religion and their often negative meddling in the political affairs of the world is not rational, not scientific, not enlightened, and most importantly, extremely rude to people who do not see the need to embrace atheism to deal with the admitted problems that organized religion has caused the world. If you want us to respect your fellow atheists and their worldview, then they need to show a little respect and tolerance too, especially with those of us who do not ignorantly follow the words of some pontificating, politically-motivated clergy while practicing our spirituality.
The following is a slightly edited version of a response of mine to a comment made by an atheist on a political forum which clearly illustrates precisely why I chose an alternative religious/spiritual system rather than running into the arms of atheism upon becoming dissatisfied with organized religion. It also makes it clear why I do not consider atheism to be as rational a school of thought as its adherents often purport it to be, and why it's every bit as political in its own way as organized religions are. The comment from the atheist in question that I responded to is in bold face and my response is in standard text.
I have seen exactly what the power of prayer gets you, which is nothing.
Your callous ignorance on this subject knows few bounds, huh? There have been studies which suggest that those who truly believe in the ability to make changes in the environment in conformity with one's will, and who focus a strong degree of mental and emotional energy in doing so--especially if working together in groups--can effect certain changes in harmony with the physical laws of the universe, and I have seen this occur myself in the past. There is a good scientific basis for this, and it lies in the realm of quantum mechanics, where it's shown that mental perception and thought can actually affect the subatomic world in various ways, sometimes simply by observing the position of a subatomic particle. But because the word "prayer" was used, for purely semantic reasons you dismissed it out of hand due to your dislike for anything to do with religion.
This is one of the major reasons why I did not ultimately choose atheism as an alternative to organized religion when I became sick of the latter for probably most of the same reasons that you did. This is because I have found that atheism most certainly does not expand my understanding of the universe and its mysteries in many cases, and its ideological attitudes are often inimical to the advance of certain areas of science rather than supportive of these advances. In other words, running into the arms of atheism in response to a justified dissatisfaction with the politicized elements of organized religion is for many individuals simply based on a desire to spit in the face of religion out of petty spitefullness rather than looking past its politicized and moralized elements to look for whatever info it may suggest about the fundamental nature of the universe, even if spoken in symbolic rather than scientific language. In my opinion, this attitude is highly political in and of itself, and is hardly rational or any more enlightened than the ignorant attitudes of fundamentalist true believers or Biblical literalists. It's a small wonder that the only branch of science that atheists tend to dislike is quantum physics, despite the fact that an ever-growing number of respected and renowned physicists (including Stephen Hawking in the present, and Albert Einstein in the past) are coming to agree that the quantum level of existence has a major effect on the macroscopic world that we experience in our daily lives, and is very likely the basis for many aspects of reality that have been referred to as "mystical" or "paranormal" in the past. We should not confuse science with scientism.