Tag Archives: atheism

I Am [not] An Atheist

Bashing atheists isn’t really my thing, and it’s not what this post will be about.

The thing is, I write a blog for young Catholics (and then I guess for anyone else who wants to read it), and I talk a lot about how much I love the Catholic faith and how great Jesus is and all that…and all along this “God” character is sort of just accepted as a given in my world.  Yes, I was raised by parents that believe in God, and no, I’ve never seriously doubted His existence.

See, to me, Romans 1:20 has always summed up all the proof I’ve ever needed for God’s existence:

Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made.

Translation: Look around!  This place is stunning!  Human beings are amazing!  Look at all the tiny intricacies of even the smallest organism on the planet!  Believing that this all happened by mere coincidence is a heck of a lot harder to swallow than believing in God.  At least that’s the way I look at things.

Big shock: the author of the Catholic blog believes in God.

But that doesn’t mean that I’ve never had questions; nor does it mean that I can’t recognize faulty logic when I see it, which brings me to this:

By now you have hopefully realized that I did not create the above meme.  Truth be told, I actually find the list of reasons given at the beginning of the picture for why this person is NOT an atheist to be far better reasons to say there’s no god than the one they seem to think packs the most punch (but those can be the topic of another day’s post).  Today we discuss “the burden of proof” and the “scientific method” (which, FYI, was developed by people in the Catholic Church).

Let’s start by acknowledging where the meme is right.  It’s impossible to prove the non-existence of something.  Science will never be able to prove that anything, let alone God, does not exist.

Now, I’m not a scientist and I won’t pretend to be.  But I’m 100% certain that science has no business outside of the natural realm.  If a god exists, then by definition, it’s not a natural being; it’s supernatural.  Since science can only tell us about the natural realm, it’s entirely possible for a supernatural being to exist without natural, empirical evidence (sight, sound, taste, touch, smell) for it.  Science cannot disprove god; but asking science to prove the existence of god misunderstands both science and the question of a god.

I know what you’re thinking.  Why not only believe in things that science can prove, then?  Things that we can see with our own eyes, things that we can hear or taste or smell or touch.  These are the only real and verifiable things, according to the logic of the above meme.

Sounds simple enough… but nobody actually lives in that world.  There are tons of things we believe in but cannot prove with the scientific method.  The most striking of these is love.  Love isn’t something we can smell or touch, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t believe in it simply because we can’t examine it under a microscope.  We experience love.  We know the pain of when love is lacking.  Try as we might, we can’t deny the existence of, or the need for, love.  Yet science will never be able to prove that love exists, and it would be silly to ask that of science.

If your only reason for not believing in God is because you can’t prove His existence with the scientific method, not only are you missing the point of science, you’re [presumably] missing out on some of the most beautiful aspects of this life.  Come into the real world, where “real” isn’t limited to only those things which we can smell, taste, see, hear, or touch.

 

Everyone Worships Something

As you may have noticed, a lot of people dismiss faith in, and ritual worship of, any sort of deity as something for the simple-minded.  A common mindset holds that the truly educated and evolved “liberate” themselves from the shackles of religious devotion and place their trust in things more concrete and absolute (i.e. material), OR, more likely, these people reason that nothing is absolute, and so they resolve to have faith in the one thing they know is certain: that nothing is certain (it’s supposed to be ironic and deep, I guess).

But truthfully, when it comes right down to it:

Everyone.  Worships.  Something.

There’s no escaping this fact.  Even self-professed atheists make gods of something (if not many things) in their lives.  And it’s almost inevitable that a sort of religious system or habit develops around whatever it is that we make a “god” within the structure of our life.  Whether it’s our physical fitness, our job, a relationship (or the idea of a relationship), or anything else that we become devoted to throughout life.  It’s human nature.  We like structure, and our structure tends towards what it is that we value most.

Of course, it’s not just people without a professed religion or faith who make “gods” of things other than the God of the Bible.  Certainly even us Christians can be guilty this.  What’s the first thing on our mind when we wake up in the morning and the last thing we think of before falling asleep?  To what (or Whom) does our heart truly belong?  These things are what we worship, despite what it may say on our Facebook profile.

The bottom line is that it’s an inescapable part of our nature: this yearning for something beyond ourselves, a yearning—ultimately— for the divine.  This is why it’s so tragic when we, as human beings—not simply as Christians, settle for worship of lesser goods, especially in the name of “liberation”.

“Any liberation of man which does not enable him to become divine betrays man, betrays his boundless yearning.” –Pope Benedict XVI*

We’re created for something beyond ourselves.  We’re created for the divine. Don’t settle for anything less.

(*no, this does not mean we’ll all become gods who are worshiped as God the Father, but that we will become sharers in the divinity of Christ: the “Son of God [who] became man so that the sons of men could become sons of God – Saint Athanasius)