Mark 9:24

Archive for August, 2011|Monthly archive page

Admirable atheists and the schizoid man

In On Atheism on August 21, 2011 at 5:27 am

There are a few atheist personalities I admire with splagchnizomai, and because of their love for truth. Doctrinally, we know atheists can have truth because God is good and without God exists nothing and nobody, and this parallels the notion introduced to me by annotations in The Divine Comedy that every vice is a twisted virtue. Lewis confirms this, most notably in Out of the Silent Planet, where “evil”  has no closer analogue in the Martian language than “bent.”

Truth is always the priority.

I repeat myself: it is a plain fact that there is truth everywhere. Indeed, it is so plain that we need not resort to religious reasoning to make heads or tails of it, though I did take that liberty. Starting from the premise that no man is wholly without virtue or truth, here are at least a few admirable trends in what so many atheists call simply, “the movement.”

  • Fidelity to truth. Rejection of Christianity may often be the first religious experience an atheist has, if from a place of reverence for truth. If from a place of mockery and iconoclasm for the sake of iconoclasm, however, it is a hollow movement.
  • Believing firmly that belief matters. Fr. Robert Barron pointed out the now-obvious observation that atheists care about religion as much as the deeply devout.
  • They are very vocal. In an age when the Gospel is stifled by pseudo-evangelical compromises and platitudes and doing your own thing, atheism rings like a clear bell in a foggy swamp, to borrow a phrase.

Read the rest of this entry »

Do nothing thoughtlessly

In Lay Meditations on August 16, 2011 at 11:07 am

For freethinkers, atheists seem awfully fond of catchphrases. In response you may fairly say that atheists are not necessarily freethinkers, but in so saying you affirm what I have already said. In any case, despite insisting that they have no dogma they do share a great number of high-fivin’ bon mots stripped of context. In most of these we can see a strong pattern, even aside from the mobbish iconoclasm that seems to think breaking the symbols of a thing breaks the thing.

Your ability to whip up righteous indignation does not mean you are right. It means you know how to press buttons.

One of the favorites comes from John Stuart Mill:

It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied.

Is it possible to say such a thing without smirking? I congratulate anyone who avoids that gaping trap without conscious effort, for on the face of things it seems this taken in and of itself can only be said by a man who believes human beings are pigs and he is something more even than that.

This takes a peculiar turn if said by a former Christian. He means to say he was formerly a pig. This would mean that he became not-pig from pig, this despite there being no natural progression between the two. He might as well believe that a thing may come from nothing, and he does.

Read the rest of this entry »