Atheist Belief is an Homage to God

Atheist Belief is an Homage to God June 26, 2016


To the reader of self-hell(p) books,
This little book about heaven-help.
–Fabrice Hadjadj, The Resurrection

Fabrice Hadjaj, whose work I’ve promoted for several years in posts such as For Catholicism the Spirit is the Root of Evil not the Body!Even Demons Believe: Converting the World Will Not Make Everyone HolyDifference, Disharmony, and Drama Are the Essence of Marriage, and Does Catholic Monasticism Have a Sexual Orientation? is finally available in English translation thanks to Maginificat Publishers.

Yes, these are the same folks who send your their exquisitely designed devotional books monthly.

51jGUGuuCELI’m progressing in my reading of their translation of Hadjadj’s The Resurrection: Experience Life in the Risen Christ. Its use of paradox and irenic irony really appeals to the Rabelaisian Catholic in me:

God envelops us so thoroughly that we almost have good reason to think that he does not exist (and, in fact, he does not exist in the same way as creatures do).

Then he makes a striking pregnancy analogy:

The fetus does not see his mother; and if he can think that he has no mother, it is just because everything is a sign of of her presence, because she is present everywhere–and not only somewhere inside her belly.

Then he goes back to the atheists:

The atheist belief is still an unconscious homage rendered to the immeasurable goodness of the eternal One.

This is both fun putdown and a great elevation of the atheist position.

312gGfgZdEL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_It’s a little bit like what another great French theologian, Simone Weil (with whom Hadjadj shares a Jewish-atheist-socialist background), says about atheism in Gravity and Grace:

That is why St. John of the Cross calls faith a night. With those who have received a Christian education, the lower parts of the soul become attached to these mysteries when they have no right at all to do so. That is why such people need a purification of which St. John of the Cross describes the stages. Atheism and incredulity constitute an equivalent of such a purification.

There are similarities with Kearney’s project, which I outlined in Anatheism: The Hospitality Before Theism and Atheism, but Hadjadj has a lot sharper edge to him. Hadjadj’s writing has more paradox and is more subversively orthodox.

I’ll get back to The Resurrection: Experience Life in the Risen Christ as soon as I finish it. It’s a remarkable work so far and I don’t expect Hadjadj to let up.

In the meantime take look at what Cosmos readers thought remarkable this week:

  1. Fr. Z Wants to Make America Afghanistan
  2. Churchill’s Dream of a United States of Europe Dies with Brexit
  3. Before Brexit: The Catholic Imagery and Origins of the EU
  4. Love Hurts: Orlando Shooting Was Mateen’s Revenge on Lovers, Not Terrorism
  5. Ever Wonder What a Sex-Change Operation Looks Like?
  6. The Orthodox Believer’s Tale of Jesus’s Wife
  7. Sources Close to Orlando Shooter Confirm Omar Mateen Was Gay
  8. Rene Girard: No, Christianity is Not a Religion of Peace!
  9. Subversive Orthodoxy Meets the Libertarian Preferential Option for the Rich
  10. René Girard: Is Christianity a Myth?

You’ll also want to read Freedom of Religion Isn’t Free.

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