Friday, January 14, 2011

I forgot the rules of blogging...

Never email drunk and never blog overtired.

My favorite atheist (MFA) wishes to remain anonymous, so I will honor shis wishes.

First of all, I'm glad you commented, as it gives me a chance to clarify. I've found that my struggle in the whole blogging enterprise is hampered by the fact that 1. I never have a good first draft and 2. I write better when I'm challenged. Back-and-forth is a better method for me.

I'll ask MFA a series of rhetorical questions and I think you'll know both what I meant by that phrase and whether or not you fit into that category.

Do you actively seek to remove all notions of God from the public square? Do you complain to the town hall if the fire station puts up a sign that says Merry Christmas? Do you take offense to public displays of the manger scene? Do you lobby for schools not to recite the Pledge of Allegiance because it mentions God? Do you ridicule any family members or friends for their religious faith? If applicable, do you undermine attempts your spouse may make to teach religion to your children? Do you openly mock those whose beliefs differ from yours at every turn? Do you reject any ethical standards that are Judeo-Christian in nature simply because they are Judeo-Christian? Do you see all people that hold religious beliefs as de facto idiots, and reject everything else they may say, do, think, or believe as therefore tainted or invalid?

Are you unable to read any story of good things that religious people may do without commenting about rubes, myths, and superstition? Can you bring yourself to admit that despite all the bad circumstances of history, religion has had some positive influence on the world? Are you able to refer to the leader of the Catholic Church without calling him the "poop"? Are you capable of having a rational discussion with a person of faith on matters of faith or morals and at least consider what they say without telling them to STFU?

Here I have to diverge from the format a bit to explain myself. Common vs. uncommon are a bit vague, but in this context I intend them to relate to being reflective vs. unreflective.

The common person is unreflective, unexamined. His [un]beliefs are fixed without thought. He has no humility before the truth and has not, no, cannot conceive that the world is not as he sees it. He is not interested in a search for truth, and should he recognize the truth, he must deny it to save face.

The reflective man is uncommon. He seeks the truth and is humble before it. He questions assumptions about the world, his neighbors, himself. He recognizes that his knowledge is limited. He tests the validity of ideas against fact, history, logic. He recognizes that some things are known with certainty, some with probability, some with faith. He follows the truth and is willing to be changed by it.

Both words, common and uncommon, may apply to atheists, agnostics, or those of a creed.

Please re-read that last sentence.

MFA, I do not know what is in your heart. As a Catholic, I believe in the eternity of the soul, I believe in Heaven, I believe in Hell. And I don't want to see anyone headed for Hell. As a Catholic, I hope for the conversion of the whole world, starting with my own daily conversion. I hope for all to receive the mercy of God, for all need it.

Now, I cannot bring that about. I have to do my best, live my life as holy as possible, witness to those around me by example. As St. Francis said, preach always, when necessary use words. The header of my blog is my daily reminder of my own aptitude to get in the way of the Gospel, and I pray that God will break me of that failing, for my sake and the sake of others.

Yet [far] short of the conversion of the world, I have to, as much as possible, live in peace with others. I am responsible to do my part in building a kingdom of peace and justice. I aim to live peacefully with all those of good will, no matter their creed. With the cooperation of all people of goodwill, we can live in harmony.

If you or any other atheist, or anyone, for that matter, wishes to live in peace and freedom, they find a willing partner in me. If they wish to help those in need, respect the rights of all to live freely, and recognize the same self-evident rights that the Founding Fathers of our country enshrined in our Declaration and Constitution, then I am an ally. True freedom, as Pope John Paul II reminded us, is not the freedom to do whatever we want, but the freedom to live as we ought.

Those who seek to squelch faith are on a fruitless task. Man is created with a desire for that which is good. We seek happiness and recognize the possibility of happiness which does not fail, which does not end. Universally, we desire freedom and righteousness, though we often seem them only dimly, and realize them dimly.

I believe, as the Church teaches, that this desire is intended to guide us toward the God who created us. This desire can only be fulfilled in Him. His love for us is the source of all life and is the source of true happiness. As St. Augustine said, "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in You."


1 comment:

Mike in CT said...

And, for the record, this is not a straw man argument. I have met and talked with many people that fit the description above.