Monday, March 19, 2012

Belief in Atheism

Dear Parish Faithful and Friends in Christ,

“The Fool Said in His Heart ‘There is no God’”

Just a reminder that there is a lecture at Xavier University this evening on the subject of Atheism (Kennedy Hall at 7:00 p.m.). I am hoping that this will be a theological analysis of that phenomenon, together with some of the social and moral/ethical consequences of that position; but I am not quite sure what to expect. There are three of us who are going as of now. Please let me know if you are interested.

Atheism (there is no God), like theism (God exists), is a “belief” because it cannot be proved in a definitive manner. Theists will also have to acknowledge that their claim that God exists – experiential as it may be - is a faith-based belief, because proving that God exists beyond any reasonable objection has only proven to be an elusive claim throughout the ages. Yet, an atheist, who is committed to a philosophical materialism (only the material exists), cannot possibly disprove the existence of God (who is Spirit and invisible). In fact, the non-material is simply, by definition, outside of the range of an atheist’s investigations. An atheist claims that what is called spiritual reality does not exist. But does that not resemble a blind man claiming that what he cannot see does not exist? Perhaps it is such blindness that convinces the psalmist that the atheist is a “fool.” If a theist makes a “leap of faith” to claim that God exists based upon either a series of reasonable arguments or a lived experience; so then an atheist makes the same “leap of faith” though arriving at a contrary position. The point is, however, that the atheist has faith that God does not exist. Thus, strange as it may initially sound, atheism is a belief system based upon a faith that cannot be definitively demonstrated.

Another bleak fact of atheism: The atheist will never have the satisfaction of knowing he/she was right! If the atheist is right, he/she will not be able to say: “I told you so!” An atheist faces immediate oblivion at death, so all consciousness and awareness will cease with “brain death.” There will be no way of directly experiencing the non-existence of God. To repeat yet again: Atheism remains an unverifiable belief/faith. The believer, on the other hand, will say when encountering God: “This is infinitely more incredible than I ever conceived it to be!” Human words are utterly inadequate to describe what God has prepared for those who love Him. So, the theist will be able to say: “Ah, I knew it all along!” That experience will be far more than satisfactory. There may be optimistic atheists out there, but we should never lose sight of the utter bleakness of the atheistic worldview. For the atheist we are essentially a talking and walking bag of chemicals fleetingly alive for what amounts to be a “blink of an eye” within a vast cosmic cemetery destined for oblivion.

Keep smiling and have a nice day!

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