Damn, this thread is moving faster than i anticipated -- the point regarding the relationship between optimism and religion goes to JLN.
Perhaps I'm a "lazy atheist" in the sense that I simply turn away when the issue of theism is raised*. It makes no sense to me. An energetic or religious atheist I am not: I do not believe in a NoGod and worship Him.
* But I am not lazy: I've meditated virtually EVERY day for 35 years, and I have a long record of academic study.**
**I'm not claiming that the results of both efforts have been as good as
The objection I've always expressed to Frank Apisa, A2K's most enthusiastic agnotics, is that I cannot bring myself to assume the evidence, or lack of evidence, is equal on both sides of the issue of a god's existence. My general experience is overwhelmingly consistent with the atheistic position; none of it supports that of theism. Ergo, I cannot sit on the agnostic fence. Yet, I stress, I do not consider myself an ideological atheist.
i appreciate the nuance of your response, and i tend to agree with you. i don't recall whether you are familiar with Spinoza or not, but i tend to regard myself as a "negative pantheist". i "believe" in the interconnectedness of all things while having no faith in the absolute, and, at the same time, i look to science and philosophy to build the case for this interconnectedness from the ground up.
i also meditate, practicing zazen, and re: intellectual matters i tend to employ a sort of eclectic pragmatism/pluralism. But i do so with the assumption that it is bound to fail as a consequence of transiency-- i call it "impragmatism". i think of it as a sort of perspectivist epistemology and faithless faith.