Atheism and Mystery

Yet another article about atheism and faith pops us in today’s set of entries in Arts and Letters Daily ( ). It always amuses me that intellectuals who say they are convinced there is no God or that God is dead must continually dig Him up to examine the matter anew.

Barbara Ehrenreich has written a book (“Living with a Wild God”) with a spiritual dimension that disappoints one of her admirers, A. C. Graying, an Oxford scholar. He writes a review in the Los Angeles Review of Books that

“it is a disappointment when a rational person’s thinking about the unusual, the unexpected, the extraordinary, the amazing experiences of transcendence and unity that many of us have at heightened moments of life, suffers a declension into quasi-religious or supernaturalistic vagueness.”

Part of my fascination with that line is the assumption that rationality and transcendence are mutually exclusive. That is certainly a common assumption these days, but it is quite irrational. To be rational, it seems to me, is to deal squarely with reality.

To many intellectuals, however, it seems rationality is utterly indistinguishable from materialism. It is sad that we have to reduce rationality to a manageable size before we can deal with it. Cutting reality down to the size of our own brains, aside from being childish, makes us profoundly unrealistic, far out of touch with reality.

Atheists and reality, it seems, are not good friends. The mind of the atheist s too small to grasp the fullness of reality and reality is too stubborn to be jammed into small minds.


About mthayes42

I am a retired pastor, interested in the Bible, cross-cultural ministries, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and the current and past history of western civilization.
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