…is on over at the Register.
I’ve swung far and close to atheism. My experience has been the problem of suffering. Not that there isn’t some good in suffering. Say that a mother who is in labor knows the joy of receiving a child out of love. She knows, hence a reality of the fall, the reward of life of another person is more than the temporary pain which she will face when delivering a child. However, the pain which I believe most atheists generally refer to is which stems as a consequence of evil in and of itself. Why the holocaust? If there’s an all loving, merciful, and gracious God, would the holocaust even happened? I for one, have swung close to atheism because of the rational being inclined by the deep questions of my heart. My heart feels a void and darkness, and not so much my mind. When I’ve gone through divorce between my parents, and the neglect and abuses from it (and there were a lot), I wonder why. As a kid whose life not only stems from that broken relationship (torn apart), but because of the attributes and qualities God gave me (to love, and to be loved), I have such a desire of love which falls upon my relationship with my parents. And since that relationship was and is broken, my whole life in relationship stems from that broken foundation. So, my habitual tendency is so fallen and willed towards sin. Because, there is a gap; a void.
Atheists who find the problem of suffering – very likely for personal reasons in their own lives – have their intellect robbed and snatched by real problems, consequences, and failures in society because of personal suffering (that’s probably why, I strongly believe, their intellect is really dealing with a lot of irrationality.) Thus, even the irrational must be reconciled by God (because of the irrationality of sin – a failure to love and to trust.)
Recall, the intellect cannot fly on its’ own (Fides et Ratio.) Those two wings, as Pope John Paul II put it, are what gives man the ability to make flight as they must fly together (and since we’re referring to the person as the reflective context, you must further then he is referring to the the sacred deposit of faith, which stems from grace depicted in the holy father’s writing.) The deposit of faith, therefore, by recognition of the Holy Father who wrote on the necessity of man to fly on the wings of faith and reason, would then mean that flight is made possibly by the wind of grace; the real miracle that Christ was born of a virgin mother, Christ died willingly even to death on a cross, and truly rose form the dead (a deposit of faith, trust, and hope in a real God whose loving presence is to set you free from whatever bind you’re caught in, and He will literally lift you out of and save you. That is the mystery of God, the Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who are real, and came revealed through the incarnate Son, the Word made flesh; that God dwelt, and still dwells among us in the Blessed Sacrament. The deposit of faith is explaining that mystery as the mystery stand itself, and its’ own terms.) That scared deposit of faith is necessary. So, yes, a man should be able to trust in a God who truly provides miracles, since God created man out of the dust of the earth, and since the consequence of the fall, He came to lift man up out of his sins (which is a real death – eternally.) And Christ, through the Holy Spirit, animates the real life of His father in us to live in the miraculous identity since sin has taken that life away. Sin says all things are impossible. While Christ, and His Father say all things are possible through Him because of His Father.)
The extraordinary thing about the miraculous is that it all has to do with the ordinary; keeping the ordinary life of man in tact the way it was against the onslaught of sin (which its’ power works both visibly and invisibly. St. Paul contended with this by putting himself fully into God’s hands due the miraculous presence of Christ, who knocked him off of his horse, and said in the brilliance and splendor of glory, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”)
If a man broke his leg, and if he couldn’t afford (or couldn’t even get the remotest medical attention) why should he not have the assurity of grace and salvation, and a real miracle as the leper, the blind, the lame, and the woman with the hemorrage were all healed? What is so startling that what was broken is now restored? The man receives a restored leg, and not an extra one. Nor does the blind receive another eye. God restores what is ordinarily there before it was broken. Whereas sin wants men not to rely on God so much that He can and will provide the miraculous (because the miraculous is really the ordinary life in grace man had before the fall.) However, sin confuses and disturbs our vision of that (it corrupts the beatific vision.) Since sin is a vice, you have all the views of the miraculous not necessarily for the benefit of God in His Love. Rather, you have the impairments of lust, sloth, greed, envy, gluttony, and pride getting in the way of someone needing that life of God which was lost by the consequence of original sin.
Perhaps what is truly unreasonable, and even un-ordinary (even inordinate), is the fall (original sin, and its’ perpetual following as it recurs its’ theme in human suffering, and history.) Sin is really the un-ordinary and unrealistic desire to live without the gift of God’s life in true and pure love (to choose the natural order of things outside of God’s presence; outside of His relationship – which is truly un-natural.) And since the fall impairs the sight of that free will gift of love (as God gave in pure mercy; in divine justice; in accord to and with His love as the context in giving free will), sin creates the irrationality and disorder which men (usually atheists) must contend and deal with. The irrationality is the insane proposition to accept a life without God. And in that insane disorder does man have to contemplate. And sadly, when the gift of faith is not there or even realized, does man contend with himself. He then chooses not to believe.
However, God does not look upon the poor and pitiful man in a fallen state of sin going on and in an endless down hill existence. For He sent His own begotten to Son to save and lift man out of the perpetual fall of sin (God loves, and made His love incarnate and real through His Son’s willingness to do so.)
So, the real startling reality of a miracle is seeing the ordinary way, by an act of grace and pure love which God redeems and restores men in, and by, and to Himself (the love of a Holy Trinity; a Holy Family unbroken, faithful, and full of fidelity.) That love, with man, was intact before the fall; before a fallen and broken world. God’s love, therefore, does the natural by bringing about the ordinary means of grace for man’s salvation.) And in his eyes, because of sin, it appears as miraculous. The atheist must then yearn to pray and ask for the real grace and miracle, to receive the graces necessary to be restored in the manner as God has placed to restore him back to covenant communion; a sacred family bond filled with grace, truth, and love. That is what an atheist needs, and keeps on contending with all his irrationality for not desiring it (which is original sin.)