The writer A.N. Wilson has recently been writing about his return to faith. Associated in his earlier life in turns with the Church of England and with Roman Catholicism, he describes his ‘Damascus Road conversion’ to atheism, which took place in the 1980s.
I’m not sure what flavour of Christian faith Wilson has returned to, but I was struck with one statement in particular in his piece in New Statesman:-
When I think about atheist friends, including my father, they seem to me like people who have no ear for music, or who have never been in love. It is not that (as they believe) they have rumbled the tremendous fraud of religion – prophets do that in every generation. Rather, these unbelievers are simply missing out on something that is not difficult to grasp. Perhaps it is too obvious to understand; obvious, as lovers feel it was obvious that they should have come together, or obvious as the final resolution of a fugue.
Bertrand Russell famously stated that if he found himself called to account by the God he had spent hs life disbelieving in, he would plead in self-defence, “Not enough evidence.” Wilson, I think, points to an important but neglected truth: unbelief in God is not due to lack of evidence, but to our own dullness of perception. Or, as Paul put it in Romans 1:20,
Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.