Ah, but you're talking about some of the most educated people in the world at the time. I guess I should have said "most people".
I don't expect the universe to deal with me on my terms, or anyone's terms. The universe is what it is, and we perceive only a tiny fraction of it. There are enormous amounts of stuff about it that we don't know, including a lot of stuff we won't ever be able to know. And I do wonder what that might be, which is why I'm working on science instead of trying to legally scam people out of their money (I guess having a conscience precludes me from the latter, but I think I might be able to cultivate my cynicism enough to do it if I really wanted to). If you tell me that there's a new thing about the universe that I should know, I'm really happy to hear it, but I need evidence. And I have some minimal standards for what kind of evidence I need to take your claim seriously.
I actually don't have a strong preference regarding the existence of gods/monsters/etc. But I think there's no credible evidence for them, just as there isn't credible evidence for the existence of invisible pink unicorns, or homeopathy, or spiderman, or the philosopher's stone. There are piles of crappy evidence of varying heights for each of those things, but having a higher pile of crappy evidence doesn't make any of them more believable to me.