I’m just back after a few days back in Scotland’s capital and I came across these words to reflect upon from the Sunday Message bulletin from Mass last week before I left. They particularly resonate with me. We have a modern era in which Christianity is much mocked (perhaps it was always thus), one in which people seem to attempt to impress upon us constantly that our faith is ridiculous and that those that have such beliefs are merely deluded.
I regret this aggressive attitude towards others’ thoughts and opinions generally and particularly in the area of faith. I also applaud and feel encouraged by the words I repeat below:
“It is fashionable today to scoff at people of faith. There is a new, aggressive form of of aitheism on the rise in the West that wants to make non-believers of all people. One of the high priests of this militant atheism is Richard Dawkins. He considers anyone who doesn’t agree with him to be ‘deluded’. He wants to rid people of what he describes as their God delusion.
He and his fellow atheist cheerleaders dismiss believers as ‘childish’, as people who have not grown up. Their mission is to make believers see ‘reason’, to free themselves of their independence on a non-existent God.
This kind of attitude shouldn’t surprise us. Jesus encountered it in his day as well. The so-called ‘learned and the clever’ could not accept Jesus’ message. They rejected it and they rejected him also. They scoffed at those who followed him.
But Jesus says not to put heed in these ‘learned and clever’ ones. He says that the mind can easily become arrogant, self-important, bullying and dismissive. In order to be able to accept his message, one needs an open mind and an open heart.
But that does not mean there is anything anti-intellectual about being a person of faith. Some of the greatest minds in history, from Augustine to Thomas Acquinas to John Henry Newman, have been believers. What they had also is a child-like trust in the Lord, an awareness that before God all the knowledge and reason in the world don’t amount to very much. That is the attitude we are called to have also.”