Sunday, January 11, 2015

Understanding Atheism

The Mystery Atheism => Self Rejection

"What the atheist does not see is that in rejecting God he rejects himself... Vincent P. Miceli, S.J., The Gods of Atheism (Harrison New York: Roman Catholic Books, 1971). p. 11

"If we look at man as he really is known in our concrete experience, we see that his reality is built on the metaphysical fact that his being has its origin in participation in being. His nature craves further participation in being and all his activities are a driving toward a goal which consists in perfect participation in being, in communion with his fellowmen and with the Transcendent. We see that each person's dynamic, physical and metaphysical nature, from its very conception, grows up automatically, spontaneously reaching out for more being, for the plenitude of being. At the moment when the person dramatically breaks the barrier of the womb and appears on the stage of world history, he is caught in the acts of crying, clutching, straining to grasp, to be with other persons and things, to attain greater degrees of being. This spontaneous language of cries and gestures revealing the hunger for greater being testifies to man's innate drive to transcend himself, not merely horizontally to men and things but also vertically to God. Thus, 'to be' means 'to be with'; for man especially, esse est co-esse. Human existence, if it is to be authentically human, must be existence in communion. Isolation and alienation are the death of human persons. Ia a metaphysical depth far below the sociological surface, "No man is an island..." pp. 10-11

"...In refusing to give himself in spirit to God, he refuses to transcend himself in the experience of a felt and lived communion with God. In effect he banishes God from his own horizon and exiles himself from the infinite visibility of God. He determines to contract his vision within the blinders of time. God no longer influences his life or his world because God, by man's decree, no longer lives or indeed exists anywhere. p. 11

"What the believer must somehow demonstrate to the atheist is that when man chooses God he simultaneously chooses the spiritual plenitude of his own person; he decides to achieve full subjecthood, to reject retiring into the shell of objecthood. p.12

"...[W]hen a man is dealing with realities which cannot be objectified, he cannot use effectively the problematic approach to these realities if he would grow in a valid understanding of them. Why? Because such realities do not exist solely outside the knower; such realities necessarily include and involve the knower as a subject. For example, I cannot regard freedom as outside myself, nor myself as outside freedom. Freedom, as such, is not an object for it includes me and it includes me as a subject who is quite concerned about my freedom and the freedom of my fellow man. Here we have a vision of the greater, the infinite range of the mystery of being. Every question bearing on a mystery recoils upon the questioning subject who will never be able to give a perfect answer or produce a perfect solution to the question. The reason is that the area of the mystery being investigated is ontologically infinite, too profoundly fruitful to be fully comprehended by the limited mind of man. Love, participation in being, hope, freedom and their contraries hate, alienation, despair, serfdom are not merely problems; they are inexhaustible mysteries in this non-theological sense of the word. For these realities involve each human subject in his ontological, intellectual, psychological and historical development. p. 10

"[T]he possibility of choosing atheism is simultaneously the opportunity of choosing God. Atheism is possible in order that man may accept the challenge to choose God and make that choice of God with the same qualitative love of preference with which God chose to love, create and dwell with man. In other words, atheism is possible in order that the whole man, knowing and loving, may attain the moral heights of being with God through his free cooperation. If God could be accepted with the same ease as we accept the law of gravity, faith and love of preference as priceless moral values would no longer be existent. And man could no longer follow his noblest vocation--his struggle to participate in God's moral goodness. God has to be won, to be achieved as the result of a long struggle that overcomes many difficulties. Only the violent bear Him away or, to be more correct, are borne away by Him. There is no easy way to God. The person who sulks in atheism because he has no sensible evidence, no solid physical facts for God's existence opens himself to the critique of being petulantly unreasonable in demanding what is impossible... p. 14

"...[T]he modern atheist is not an atheist because he is incapable of finding and using the means to encounter God. Indeed, his denial of God is his choice of a crusade against God... p. 17

"...What contemporary adventurers in atheism have failed to see, as de Lubac so soberly observes, is that "man cannot organize the world for himself without God; without God he can only organize the world against man. Exclusive humanism is inhuman humanism." (Henri de Lubac, S.J. The Drama of Atheist Humanism [New York and Cleveland: Meridan Books, World Publishing Company, 1965, p. ix.) p. 17

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