Grace is an ether. It is the volume that infiltrates our soul with the entirety of all the elemental kindness and generosity of a holy existence.
Grace is the frame of context we swim through and which houses, shapes, and bears the gifts of faith we inculcate in our hearts. Similar to the physics experiment which demonstrates that if we toss a ball in the air while we are on a moving train, it will not go flying past us and depart our moving relative field of perception. The ball will rise and fall into our hands because the ball too is moving at the same velocity and within the same physical realm as us. The ether which houses us is hauled by the rapid train as a container of reality, the ball included, and even those moments we toss the ball in the air when it is not in contact with the solid, fixed disturbers (our hands), it does not leave us for a different set of physical laws. This ether is like grace. Grace does not descend, it does not fill, it is not handed to us. Grace simply is. Religious people elevate grace as the basic elemental component of a beatific god. Grace is all that precedes and all that follows god and consequently, this glorious existence is infused with grace for grace is all and grace is the ether of holy existence upon which the gifts of religious beneficence are awarded to the human race.
Can the atheist know grace? In other words, does grace live in our bones or does it dart furtively in our minds? Does grace spring from our lineage, from eons of evolution, or is it breathed upon the wings of a spiritual fog that predates human consciousness? Is grace eternity?
I think the atheist can know grace, for grace is life. Grace is the monumentally stacked odds against existence, from the very unlikely occurrence of fertilization leading to a chance zygote which may eventually unfold and multiply to create the complex living system of a human being.
Grace is our unlikely existence.
Grace is our random assemblage. Grace has no mind. Grace retraces our existence and claims us as its own. And we in turn claim it as our guiding force. Grace could happily exist without us flooding this magnificently unlikely planet. Grace is mere happenstance that we have named, idealized, worshiped and deified.
The religious man paints grace with the brushstroke of godly motive and the atheist paints grace with the fortuitous appearance of coincidental building blocks of life. Grace is etched in that reality in which we are accidental passengers. Grace was the gift we stole and called our own under the pretense of ceremony.