Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It's About Dad

Last week, Mark Shea was a guest on The Journey Home. Mark is an author of several books, a speaker, and one of the foremost Catholic bloggers. His blog is Catholic and Enjoying It.

During the course of their conversation, Mark and host Marcus Grodi discussed the current fad of popular atheism, and Mark noted that all of the arguments against God’s existence boil down to one of two basic assertions: either things are going badly and, therefore, God doesn’t exist or things are going well without God, therefore we don’t really need him. St. Thomas Aquinas anticipated both arguments and answered them long ago.

Mark attributes much of the current vogue for atheism to a statement that he attributes to Pope John Paul II, that the mark of original sin is loss of the apprehension of God as Father. Mark went on to add:

And when you lose the apprehension of God as father, God doesn’t disappear. What happens is, you perceive him simply and solely as master, and then you’ve got a choice. You can submit to him as master, which is what Islam is, or you can rebel against him as master, which is what atheism is. As Chesterton said, it is always the Christian god that the atheist does not believe in. If you don’t believe it, try saying something blasphemous about Thor. You don’t run into people doing that too often.

Yes, it’s true that we live in a society that’s obsessed with sex and this sort of thing. And so it really is true sometimes that, as a wag once said, “The person that says to you that the modern rational intellect can no longer accept the primitive doctrines and dogmas of transubstantiation and the Trinity, what he often mean by that is, ‘I’m sleeping with my neighbor’s wife.’” But far more than that, I’m really discovering that it’s not about sex, it’s about Dad. Great, great anger at the father, and that gets directed at God the Father, and there you go. But it comes back to that remark that John Paul made. The longer I live, the more insightful that I think it is.

And so, it comes down to me. I hold the faith (or lack of faith) of my children in my hands. Their first intuition of God as a loving Father will be my example. It is an awesome responsibility, and I am painfully aware of my every failure and weakness as a parent. I know that I cannot be perfect. I can only try my best, ask God for the grace to do better, and pray that I don’t leave them permanently damaged.

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