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1/1/17

Atheism Versus Spiritual Freedom Is Like Comparing Despair With Hope - even in 2017

Albert Camus  attempting to rationalize an irrational universe
Albert Camus was born in Dréan, Algeria November 7, 1913 and grew up in Algiers, Algeria when it was a part of the West African French empire. He died in a car accident in 1960 in Villeblevin, Burgundy, France.

Camus was born and raised a Catholic, despite his father’s Protestant upbringing, and received communion at the age of 11.1 Much of Camus’ work is saturated in religious imagery.

His "Myth of Sisyphus" is based on a popular Greek myth and "The Fall" contains references to and symbolism from Catholic theology and cosmology. The title itself is an allusion to the Biblical story of Adam and Eve.

However, Camus ultimately became an atheist and, as a thinker, he considered religious faith to be “philosophical suicide.”3 This idea was based on Camus’ philosophy of the absurd.

According to Camus, mankind was perpetually attempting to rationalize an irrational universe. This process of rationalization resulted in the absurd and religious belief fell into said category.4 He said:

    "We turn toward God only to obtain the impossible"

Nevertheless, some maintain that the religious imagery and symbolism in Camus’ work indicated a sort of conflict within him, and that he actually craved something spiritual.6 But perhaps it was only Camus’ struggle with the absurd. He was, after all, one of the men he described.

This brings is to opposing the argument many Atheists have against the inner spirituality of mankind.

" If there were no God, there would be no atheists," said G. K. Chesterton. '

Though atheists may argue that the existence of a supreme being is impossible, their arguments often reveal a belief that God just doesn't behave as they think he should. In a debate,

Christopher Hitchens complained about war and killing in the Old Testament. He said he wrote his book God Is Not Great in response to the murders in Muslim countries that followed the publishing of cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. None of these are arguments against God's existence, but rather arguments against how God and especially his followers act.

That is why traditional atheism is a highly moral philosophy, and one worthy of respect, even while we strongly disagree with it. In his book "The Twilight of Atheism", Alister McGrath describes the atheism that emerged during the Enlightenment as "one of the greatest achievements of the human intellect, capable of capturing the imagination of generations." Lewis shared the same respect for this godless tradition.

Introducing one of his tutors, Kirkpatrick, in "Surprised" by Joy, Lewis calls him an atheist, but hastens to qualify the description: "He was a 'Rationalist' of the old, high and dry nineteenth-century type.

For Atheism has come down in the world since those days." In his science fiction novel "That Hideous Strength", Lewis developed a character based on Kirkpatrick and included him among a small group working to save the world from evil. Maybe Lewis simply harbored fondness for his teacher, but I suspect he saw some spiritual hope in the old man's atheism.

Such hope is not misplaced. Timothy Larsen, professor of history at Wheaton College and author of Crisis of Doubt: Honest Faith in Nineteenth-Century England, says he has come to see doubt as a way in which we can start to take our faith seriously:

"If you haven't doubted, you haven't re-owned your faith."

Victorian atheists, Larsen discovered, that many atheists converted back to Christianity. "Some actually are really trying to answer questions. That's why they sound so angry," he says. "They're in a struggle for their own soul."

The church's often inability to answer the problem of suffering is still atheists' most common complaint against God, and it teaches us how we may be setting people up for spiritual disappointment and failure.

Maybe the modern church puts too much emphasis on better living through God. Or perhaps we don't adequately explain that God suffers with us and redeems our suffering without eliminating it.

Whatever the cause, atheism remains an attractive worldview for those who have witnessed suffering or been in pain and can't reconcile the idea of a good and powerful God with the reality of life on earth.

Let's face it: Atheism is in. Not since Nietzsche have disbelievers enjoyed such a ready public reception to their godless message—and such near-miraculous royalties. But even that hasn't put them in a good mood. Christopher Hitchens, who wrote 'God Is Not Great" and "How Religion Poisons Everything" says "many of the teachings of Christianity are, as well as being incredible and mythical,also  immoral."

A feuding Richard Dawkins even suggests that believers "just should shut up." Apparently, many Christians did not get that tmemo.

Other authors—including Douglas Wilson and Francis Collins—have quite capably refuted the new atheist shtick. But remembering Bertrand Russell's famous essay, "Why I Am Not a Christian"

Here is a Reader's Digest excerpt of why you should consider to become a Christian if you are an atheist.

Creation: The universe, far from being a howling wasteland indifferent to our existence, appears to be finely tuned through its estimated 13.7 billion years of existence to support life on this planet. Tinker with any one of scores of fundamental physical laws or the initial conditions of the universe—such as gravity or the cosmological constant—and we would not be here. As physicist Paul Davies has admitted, "I have come to believe more and more strongly that the physical universe is put together with an ingenuity so astonishing that I cannot accept it merely as a brute fact."

Beauty: Beethoven's Ninth, a snowflake, the sweet smell of a baby who has been sleeping, and a sunset beyond the dunes of Lake Michigan all point to a magnificent and loving Creator. And isn't it interesting that we have the capacity—unlike mere animals—to gape in awe, to be brought to tears, before them?

Atheists may have an arsenal of arguments against God his Biblical guaranteed assurance that "it will come to pass".

 But at heart, rejection of God seems not to be a purely logical choice against the possibility or desirability of God. Rather, it is often a rejection of God's people.

Atheism's recent popularity should serve as a warning to Christians.  Special apologetics conferences and passionate rebuttals may have their place. Certainly Christians should be ready to respond to Atheists with well researched reasons for their faith.

But before we begin dueling on blogs and arming ourselves with television talking points, let's learn to see atheists not only as deniers of God, but as wrestlers with him. And let's always remember that Atheist's deepest arguments against those who believe in God are the people they're arguing with - even in 2017.

EU-Digest - editorial


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