The existence of the universe is a mystery. And we are, all of us, embedded in that mystery, and so we need to keep talking about it, like Jacob wrestling the angel, and not drive it away as if it were a vampire and we are the possessors of an intellectual garlic that “tames” it. I think that those of us who call ourselves agnostics or atheists can armor ourselves against the “ontological mystery” (the mystery of being) as effectively as any religious fundamentalist.
The religious fundamentalist intellectually arms herself and controls the ontological mystery by pretending, for example, that the Bible settles all questions about it once and for all. She says prayers to ward off the dangers of the ontological mystery, and reads books of apologetics. These are her garlic waving gestures.
But we agnostics and atheists wave the garlic too. We read, for example, Richard Dawkins’s books and echo his answers in response to every uncomfy question raised about the ontological mystery. Once we do this, and we have arranged our tidy arguments, and identified our targets and classified them, we imagine that we have “settled” something. But the the mystery of existence still sits out there, resisting our “answers.”
And it won’t go away.
What, for example, is this thing called love?