Atheism & Civilization

7338586-3x2-700x467The thinness of the new atheism is evident in its approach to our civilization, which until recently was religious to its core. To regret religion is, in fact, to regret our civilization and its monuments, its achievements, and its legacy. And in my own view, the absence of religious faith, provided that such faith is not murderously intolerant, can have a deleterious effect upon human character and personality. If you empty the world of purpose, make it one of brute fact alone, you empty it (for many people, at any rate) of reasons for gratitude, and a sense of gratitude is necessary for both happiness and decency. For what can soon, and all too easily, replace gratitude is a sense of entitlement. Without gratitude, it is hard to appreciate, or be satisfied with, what you have: and life will become an existential shopping spree that no product satisfies.

To regret religion is to regret Western civilization.

— Theodore Dalrymple

A Fabulous Illusion

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Some say my faith is no more than an illusion, and insist there is absolutely no scientific basis for it. Others claim that Jesus never existed, that he is no more than a myth. It’s all a fabrication.

If that is the case, I have a lot of questions…

How is it that this “illusion” has turned my life around? (And the lives of millions.) How in the world does it empower me to live with hope, to experience deep joy, and to walk through life with purpose and a song in my heart? How is it that the deeper I go into this “illusion” the richer my life becomes?

If Christ never existed, why do I find such satisfaction in prayer and praise? In studying His Word? Where does this power come from that helps me to love my enemies, to choose right over wrong, to forgive 70 x 7, to have a heart full of gratitude, to smile at storms, to keep getting up when I stumble, and to face death with confidence?

If this is all an illusion—what a fabulous illusion!

I think I’ll stick with it.

It sure beats anything I had when I tried to live life without Jesus.

–J. O. Schulz

Why would I live in your novel?

We have been created as recipients. I look at the stars, at the grass, at my fat-faced children, at my fingernails, and I am oppressed by gratitude I have been given a belly so that I might hunger. I have been given hunger so that I might be fed.

I look in the atheist’s mirror. I look at his faith in the nonexistence of meaning. I look at his preaching and painting. I see nothing but a shit-storm.

Why would I walk through that door? Why would I live in your novel?

―N.D. Wilson
Tilt-A-Whirl