Fr Rodney Kissinger, S.J.
God is the foundation of our faith, the foundation of our lives, and the foundation of the whole of reality. God is the “really real” the source of all reality. Without God we are living in a dream world, a world of fantasy, a world of creatures without a Creator.
Yet it is the constant temptation of man to deny that there is a God. The culture in which we live feeds on and fosters this temptation. Our culture is permeated through and through with atheism. Atheism, that is, not as the conclusion of a proof, but as an assumption which forms the basis for a practical way of life. The assumption goes like this: whether or not there is a God, to be concerned with God is an impediment to life. The result of this assumption, of course, is indifference, indifference to God.
But God is the one Person to whom we cannot be indifferent. If there is a God, He must be affirmed with the totality of the First Commandment. He must be the center of our lives, motivate our actions, and permeate the society in which we live. On the other hand, if there is no God, we cannot tolerate even the mention of God’s name. To live as if there were a God, when there is no God, would be the ruination of man.
The root of much of atheism is the conviction that belief in God and belief in man are contradictory. It is either God or man, you can’t have both. Christianity claims that God and man are not in opposition, but are complementary, they are correlatives. Only with God can man be authentically and fully man. Nothing is as inhuman as secular humanism, man without God. Without God human life is devoid of meaning. Cut off from his transcendental roots, man is lost, all his actions become absurd; absurd in the sense that some radical existentialists define as “man’s insatiable desire for life to make sense and life’s inexorable refusal to do so.” Or as Shakespeare put it, “Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
No one can say that the problem of God is not his problem. Because if there is no God, no one is permitted to say or think that there is. That would be a deception that would be the destruction of man. On the other hand, if there is a God it is not permitted that anyone be ignorant of God. This ignorance would be the destruction of man. So the most relevant and the most radical question is: “Is God a myth or a reality?” Everything else flows from this. Our “God-view” determines our “man-view” and our “world-view.” There is no brotherhood of man without Fatherhood of God. If there is a God, sacred and secular is a false dichotomy.
There is a God, and that we know that there is. We know this intuitively, naturally, and spontaneously. And we can formalize and confirm this intuitive knowledge with intellectual arguments, our own personal experience, and the testimony of the vast majority of the human race.
But we live in an information-centered society. The sum total of our knowledge has more than doubled in the last 20 years. Most of this is scientific knowledge, knowledge of secondary, proximate causes. The sheer volume of it obscures the knowledge of the ultimate, primary cause, God. It does this much like the clouds obscure the sun.
Today we are seeing the gradual secularization of the western world. Europe which once was so thoroughly Catholic today is almost completely secular. The European Union refuses even to admit its Catholic roots. And the United States today is well on its way to becoming secularized.
THE HOUND OF HEAVEN
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