Oddly enough, I have never really struggled with belief in God. I can emotionally understand a crisis of faith over something like anachronisms in the Book of Mormon or sermons on blood atonement. These are not the sorts of things that trouble me now, but I can imaginatively enter into the emotional logic of such a crisis. Out and out atheism is more difficult. I can certainly intellectually appreciate the arguments that could be marshaled against God. There are perfectly plausible and respectable reasons for becoming an atheist or an agnostic. I can even parrot back to you descriptions of the emotions that might be involved. I have read Camus. Ultimately, however, on some deep level I just donâ€™t emotionally â€œget it.â€
After moving to Williamsburg, we adopted a four-year-old Black Lab named Maggie. Labs are beautiful, wonderful animals, but if they donâ€™t get regular exercise they become utterly psychotic and will destroy your home. As fate â€“ and my anti-morning wife â€“ would have it, I am the dog walker in our family. I hate getting out of bed, but I love the walks. The Virginia Tidewater is one of the more beautiful spots on earth. A quarter mile from our home there is a bike trail that winds its way through cornfields, woods, and marshes. Sometimes Maggie and I drive a mile or two down to the banks of the James River and walk along the estuary looking out toward the Chesapeake. Walking along the beach, watching the early morning mist hover above the surface the water, which reflects the blaze of color from the fall trees, and partaking second-hand of that special joy that a dog gets when it rouses a flock of geese and sends it honking over the river, the beauty and goodness of God is so imminent and overwhelming that atheism becomes, for me, an emotional impossibility.