Atheist Christopher Hitchens invested a lot of thought in refuting the existence of God. At, of all places, St. Philip's of the Hills Episcopal Church, Tucson, Arizona, I found out why yesterday.
There, University of AZ philosophy professor Julia Annas explained how atheists see a universe without god. Essentially it's very important to them to present evidence that belief in god is folly. They just don't blow off god, as do secular humanists.
Many philosophers, pointed out Professor Annas, are atheists. Some replace the old-line notion of god with the veneration of science. All are off the hook from the angst myriad believers in god experience about the nature of the god, interpretation of the being's values and behavior, and how that entity is evaluating their behavior - or even thoughts.
Professor Annas' talk was part of the special series on catastrophe at St. Philip's in which different disciplines, ranging from religion and science to philosophy and psychology, relate to destructive natural phenomena like earthquakes and ebola.
Sunday's was the third lecture on this I had attended. What I have gotten out of it, on a pragmatic level, is to let go of the search for meaning. I simply don't have to carry around the burden of trying to figure out why catastrophes happen, not on the macro level and not in my little life. I can simply focus on how to change enough to cope with what those catastrophes bring.
Next week the series will present the psychologist's perspective on catastrophe.