Wednesday, January 27, 2010


When one is on retreat you have a lot of time to think. Sometimes I think and analyze too much. Just the same this is though that came to me and I throw it out to you just to see what you think. It might be bunk but I like to think not – not because it means I might be actually right about something but because it would mean that there is much more hope in the world than meets the eye.

In his encyclical “Caritas In Veritate” Pope Benedict reminds us that Christ teaches that God is love. Love then is the center of the Church’s social doctrine. Because love is at the “heart” of what we are about, his encyclical then is addressed not just to Catholics or even to Christians, but to the whole world because love is a universal. It takes a particularly bitter person to not have any kind of faith in love.

The love about which he speaks is not sappy, sentimental stuff such as of what Hallmark cards are made. True love, he reminds us, bears truth. Truth and love has order. Christ’s whole mission is bringing all people into unity. Evil divides, grace unites. After Babel all the inhabitants were sent their own way speaking different languages. Christ was constantly calling people to unity – a unity in which we call God our Father. The people who are in ordained, sacramental leadership positions in the Church are said to be in “orders.”

Is it not interesting that left to its own nature tends toward disunity – toward chaos. When something dies it decomposes – falls apart. Left completely on its own all of its components will dissolve, pass, and never return to life again.

Life requires order. God creates. We co-create. God is the source of life – and he continues creating with our cooperation whether it be a baby or a skyscraper. Truth and order.

So we come to people who say they do not believe in God. In effect they say they do not believe in love –in truth nor order. Yet outside of a brooding teenager’s bedroom there is little evidence that there is anybody who does not see some use – does not believe in love and truth and order.

Love and order is the basis of life. Without it nothing can exist. So does belief in Love – an adherence to order and truth - not constitute the rudiments of belief in something which law abiding atheists say do not exists? They may deny that the Love they honor is what we say God is – but if we both believe that which is the fundamental force in the world is truth and order and love – is the only difference the fact that we prefer to name it God and they don’t? (This is not to deny that beyond this very simple formula there lies a great gulf of ideas and beliefs that are no where near reconciled.)

Even belief in the Darwinian Theory, while not containing the fullness of truth, may be a first step in belief in a God otherwise denied. After all what is stated in the Darwinian theory? In a chaotic universe there came order, consciousness ex nihilo (from unconsciousness), there is life and love and order. A total denial of God would have to include denial that there is truth, order, and love.

A supposed atheist may argue that they can love perfectly well without God thank you very much. It could be argued that this is the same thing as saying, “I never use chick peas! I use garbanzo beans!” In other words it is the atheist’s job to argue that, “I believe in order in the universe, but I denies that there is something that allows for order in the universe.” I find this a more difficult position to hold than that there is no God.

Love, truth and order – this are basic attribute of God. To acknowledge their existence is the first kernel of belief in God as He has revealed Himself to us.


ck said...

Love, love, love it!

To touch one specific note, some atheists would argue that since nature sometimes makes "mistakes" that if there is a God, He's incompetent. I've often noticed when I'm on a long drive how random the trees seem on either side of the freeway, dense here, tall there, seemingly ugly dead undergrowth, but how calming they are. Then I think, what if the forests were immaculately manicured? Wouldn't that be maddening to know that mile after mile would be "perfect".

Kinda like how women who've "had work" to look more perfect tend to look like Picasso was their surgeon. God's imperfection was better.

Or when someone has a Down's Syndrome child that becomes the light of their life and that makes saints of the whole family.

It makes me think how nightmarish the world would be if it followed human "perfection" and how superior is God's "imperfection". How much more orderly is his disorder.

Anonymous said...

Excellent! I truly enjoy your blog. Keep up the good work - you're adding "soul" to the web.

Cracked Pot said...

Perhaps the atheist doesn't want to acknowledge the ONE who brings order because that ONE would be much smarter than the atheist. The atheist, no dummy, would then feel required to get to know this smarter ONE and what this ONE might be expecting of the atheist. It's perhaps more comfortable for the atheist to decide that he/she is smart enough to manage his/her own life.

Anonymous said...


In nature, even when things dissolve, they may not come back to life again on their own, but they bring life to other things. Plants decompose creating compost, which feeds other organisms and plants. I think the same may be true in the human realm. The response to when a situation falls apart or a human tragedy occurs may be the seed to start something that will grow greater than what came before it. Everything has a purpose.

Fr. V said...

Point well taken Anon. I agree - but at heart I don't think this changes the point.