There is such a thing as a religious temperament. It involves the will to believe in order to assuage an ache. It rejects, it recoils from, the sense that contingency is everywhere and everything, that there is nothing beyond it. As Alfred North Whitehead wrote, “Religion is the vision of something which stands beyond, behind and within the passing flux of immediate things.” There is, however, a conservative sensibility that finds flux exhilarating, that is delighted rather than depressed by the idea that there is no beyond and that everything is contingent. A secular conservative sensibility, even a secular conservative aesthetic, finds beauty in the Darwinian view of the world, a beauty that is a close analogue to the conservative vision of a just society respectful of, and dependent on, spontaneous order.
— George Will, The Conservative Sensibility
I was pleasantly surprised to come across Will’s description of himself as an “amiable atheist” in this section of the book; I hadn’t known that about him. The world of online atheism was, ironically enough, one of the first places where the Great Awokening took hold. They, and almost all other progressive blogs and websites, quickly became unreadable as the fanaticism grew, and as a result, most of the pop culture/current events sites I visit these days are conservative. I had just resigned myself to the background hum of axiomatic assumptions that without a belief in monotheism, life is meaningless and Western civilization is doomed. Most of all, I like the emphasis of that last sentence: if the fragile miracles of society and commerce can emerge spontaneously and organically, and be all the more beautiful and worthy of grateful devotion for that reason, I don’t see why the miracle of life itself should be any different.