Wednesday, November 02, 2011


I find atheism pretty tempting at times.

This isn't because it is particularly attractive to me, or because I find atheism a particularly cogent intellectual position.  I just find it inexplicably tempting.  It's encouraging to me that Luther had similar temptations.  Anyway, this is a reflection based on the time I've spent on the border between atheism and Christianity.

The main thing that baffles me about most avowed atheists these days is how easy they seem to find it.  Unlike the earlier atheists - Nietzsche, the existentialists - there doesn't seem to be any struggle involved in their atheism.  It makes me wonder if they get it.  What could be more terrifying that being alone in a meaningless universe?  How can anyone live with the burden of being their own god - deciding for themselves what is right and what is wrong, forced to invest that meaningless universe with meaning conjured up from your own mind?  Shouldn't there at least be a struggle?

Having said that, sometimes I look back into Christian territory, and wonder at the ease with which some people put their faith in God.  Maybe it is a gift, but it eludes and confuses me.  I see so much that seems to speak against God's existence, so much that raises doubts.  Even the clearest revelation of God in history involves a cross; every light seems to be shrouded in darkness.  Shouldn't faith also be a struggle?  And what would it mean to live in a world in which I am not of ultimate significance - where I don't get to decide what life is all about?  Isn't it terrifying to be in a universe that belongs to God, where everything is weighed down with value?

To despoil a phrase of the Duke of Wellington's, there can be nothing half so terrifying as a God who exists, unless it be a God who does not.


  1. You are almost a Lutheran after all ;-)

  2. You take that back!


    But seriously, Luther is a hero of mine. It's just that at the end of the day, I'm a Calvin man. Assuming one has to choose, which of course one does not (1 Cor 3:5!)

  3. This is helpful, thank you.