One of my Facebook friends is clearly a “cool kid” at the lunch table (even though she’s a grown woman she plays it off well). She is not a religion-basher so much but it’s clear that many in the crowd that hangs out with her make fun of Christians at the drop of a hat.
Yet even so, she can easily get away with posting a Facebook photo showcasing a quote from Carl Jung referring to our “souls.” Nobody batted an eye (as far as I saw) or said, “Science has disproven that” or “I can’t believe in this day and age, there are still people who believe in souls.”
You see this pattern a lot. For example Bill Hicks absolutely excoriates religious believers, but he in turn was quite spiritual, and I think many of his fans probably liked that aspect of his worldview the most.
So what’s going on here? Well I have a few explanations:
(1) Deep, out-of-the-box thinkers aren’t necessarily atheists, they just can’t stand organized religion. For example, Hicks mocks Christians for sure, but I don’t remember him ever mocking the actual teachings of Jesus. (Though maybe I just missed a bit where he does.)
(2) For people who pride themselves on being educated, there is a lot of apparently irrational stuff in the Bible, so they can’t endorse those well-defined doctrines held by most theists. In contrast, a vague, “hey man there’s something bigger than me Out There” vibe can’t be demonstrably refuted.
(3) For the partying libertarians who populate my Facebook News Feed, a vague spiritual Oneness with the Universe is fine, since they can keep doing what they want. But if there is an actual sentient Being who–yikes!–is even remotely related to what those preachers are talking about, then that’s a serious buzzkill, so let’s not even get in the same ZIP code as that notion.