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There is No Such Thing as a Thankful Atheist Comments

Until the scientist learns to give thanks, he will never get to the answer of contingent existence.To confront the reality of our contingent existence means--if we are to use our highest form of thought--that we give thanks, that we be grateful.  And this, ultimately, yields to faith, what G. K. Chesterton called "faith in receptiveness," a faith in receptiveness which gives rise to a receptiveness to faith. Continue Reading

1 - 10 of 19 Comments

  1. jay
    1 year ago

    Thanks for the article. It does underline points about atheists. 1. Logic conundrums are not solved by science. 2. The human mind investigating the human mind is a poor tool. 3. Atheists have a yearning to participate in the greater society, in which they still remain a tiny minority, by retaining/adopting quintessentially spiritual terms ie. Thanksgiving to delude either themselves or others. What exactly does the wish of Happy Thanksgiving mean from an atheist? Probably not more meaning than the forced politeness of Have a Good Day that we say to the postman, bus driver, and store clerk.

  2. Gabriella
    1 year ago

    Emily! - and who created your parents, sisters, friends, etc? They created themselves? Who kept them sane and healthy, inspired, loving? God, in His endless Love for us, did! - And everything else comes from the awesome power of the Almighty.
    Emily, humble yourself, acknowledge the existence of God and discover the endless source of Joy, Love and Truth.
    God loves you regardless of your disbelief, He is waiting for you to love Him back.

  3. Edward Q Guerrero
    1 year ago

    Mr. Somerton, thanks for sharing your conversion from a spiritual void to Christianity. I trust by what you write about...repeating the cliche': [You've] Been There, Seen That, Done That is what qualifies you! Your inspiring comment I will always use as a benchmark. Not only using to teach my family about these things that are mentioned here on Catholic on Line, but to bolster my journey, prayerfully and hoping, along the way to a perpetual/permanent place...eternity.

    To me, your quotes are master pieces!

    "In fact, even now, I do not sustain these things by any volitional involvement at all. And that's because I am a contingent being, and the One Who both creates and sustains me, Who says "Let there be" and Who has never stopped saying it, takes care of all of this and knows exactly what He's doing!" Amen to that!

    "I have gradually come to realize that I did not create myself in the womb, did not start my cells dividing, my heart beating, or my consciousness developing."

    Not exactly by yourself, but God's gift to you, the brain, what help orchestrate your human biology development. Not going through detail, but I've come across a researcher who was born in 1898, who professed that our human brain had more functions than we are taught to use. He was not a teacher that devised hypnosis, but used a vis-a-vis process with people worldwide who experienced miracles in their lifetime, to develop his knowledge about the functions of our brains. In his essays he would allude to your similar thoughts about the "One Who both creates and sustains me". Another Catholic publisher wrote on a prayer of his: "As surely as you have created me in your image and likeness, you can also recreate me now and restore me to health."
    In final observation..... quoting you again.

    "To all my atheist neighbours, I would simply say this: recognize that we are creatures, called into being by our Creator and Sustain-er, and that this is an invitation to gratitude and joy! It is precisely at this way that our Father in Heaven -- God -- reveals Himself to our awareness and our capacity for awe and wonder. Embrace this gift."

    Yes expect our awareness and capacity for awe and wonder...for this we have to use our gift of imagination to affirm our faith by our praise and thanksgiving to witness His promises of things to manifest....to come to pass. YES ALWAYS, DO EMBRACE HIS GIFT BY GIVING THANKS!

  4. Emily
    1 year ago

    I am an atheist, but I am in no way a "self-caused being." Who clothed me when I couldn't do so myself? Who fed me? Who taught me to be tolerant and respectful of differences? Who gave me the opportunity to go to college? Not any god. It was my parents, my teachers, my siblings, my friends, and my benefactors. And I am profoundly grateful to them.

  5. bryan
    1 year ago

    Hi,

    This is a very nice thought provoking article.

    Should the "athiest scientists" learn to give thanks first before knowing the answer to their existence or should they know the answer to their existence first to lead them to know who to give thanks to?

    Materialists folks, athiests or not, are using the so called scientific method to gain knowledge about our existence.
    Meta-Physical folks, athiests or not, are using logic/philosophy to gain knowledge about our existence.
    Religion, athiestic or not, use knowledge revealed through the prophets or through mental discipline.

    So I guess the most ideal thing to do to obtain a more accurate answer about the existence of life is not to be a fanatic to just one area of concern. There is really no such thing as science vs philosophy vs religion, but there is only politics.

    But then again, faith is just a matter of trust. I'm just fortunate enough that I find to trust int The Lord Jesus Christ and the one and only Holy, Apostolic and Catholic church he founded.

    Regards and God bless

  6. Josephine Boone
    1 year ago

    I am a scientist and I am thankful for many things: The Tyndall effect which makes our sky glorious blue; The second law of thermodynamics that explains so much about order and disorder. Natural selection, which allows an amazing variety of living organisms to populate every niche on this planet. Gravity and space-time and much more. Today I am especially thankful for my education.

  7. Trinbagonian
    1 year ago

    ABE, my mind is too inadequate to comprehend such circular thinking.
    You said:
    "Science is a good method with a proven track record. But science is not all-powerful, nor does it make us all-powerful. The older I get, the more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know. I think science works in that way too: it draws attention to the areas of our ignorance and reveals them to be far vaster than we would have otherwise imagined."

    ABE, I agree with your statement. Now, do you mind replacing "science" with "religion" to see if you would agree with the new statement? If you agree with the new statement interchanging "science" with "religion", I think that's something else we agree on.
    Thus, can we agree to keep our minds open to both concepts?

    I speak about religion not only based on the learning that others have shared but on real encounters with God that I have had. God has proven He is real and living to me and not as tiny little green men either. He gave me real physical healing twice. During both times I was not into religion (I thought it was beneath me, to tell you the honest truth). One of those times he used medicine, opening me up to the benefits when before I was not. Science and religion at work together.

    You weren't there for the observation but I share this with you. But then you don't know me and so you may not believe. So, I ask that you just keep yourself open to the possibility:

    Religion is a good method with a proven track record. But religion is not all-powerful, nor does it make us all-powerful. The older I get, the more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know. I think religion works in that way too: it draws attention to the areas of our ignorance and reveals them to be far vaster than we would have otherwise imagined.

  8. DLL
    1 year ago

    How can anybody write graffiti on a wall that says,"thank God I an an Atheist",and expect to actually be taken seriously. Question?? Upon what concrete basis is the belief in Atheism founded? Do not define it as a simple definition! How specifically does one concretely,scientificly or otherwise,prove that there is no God? What are the moral as well as ordered principals that govern a/the "Decent"behavior of each and every atheist??? How is the atheist superior to the "religious faith based individual"???? How is an atheist less delusional than religious people??? If everyone was atheist would we finally have world peace??? Was John Lennon really greater than Jesus Christ and more correct when he sang his "Imagine"Song"??? Help! I need somebody to Help! Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sex,Drugs and Rock and Roll! Is that the real sense of being as the people of the Woodstock generation believed? Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus,Madonna why are they not considered at least moderately delusional? Help! Indeed someone to Help!

  9. Abe
    1 year ago

    "I think you are wrong that whether we are the cause of our own being, or merit our being, or somehow have done something to deserve our being is an "opinion." Is it you 'opinion' that you caused yourself to be, or your 'opinion' that you did not cause yourself to be. If the former, then please tell me how you caused yourself to be before you were you. I think you are confused. There is no opinion to it."

    See what you just did there: You've put words into my mouth that I certainly never wrote. This phrase "merit our being" was what I claimed to be a matter of opinion. This second thing you refer to, "that [I] caused [myself] to be" I something I have never claimed and you can go through my post with a fine-tooth comb and you will not find me claiming it to be so.

    Indeed, I bet you cannot find one quote from a prominent atheist which endorses that claim. In other words, you don't know what you are talking about, so you decided to pull an assertion out of your hindquarters and treat it as a fact.

    We shouldn't be surprised; This is the modus operandi of religions generally.

    For someone who writes with such an air of authority on the subject of atheists (not actual authority, mind you, only the pretend kind) you do not strike me as someone who knows or has even met many atheists. If you had had such experiences, and also greater scruples re: the commandment against bearing false witness against one's neighbors, you would be much slower to misrepresent other people's views.

    "I am not anthropomorphizing the universe at all, since I claim that logic requires me to transcend the universe and posit the existence of a creator that is entirely transcendent. While you might accuse of me of anthropomorphizing the transcendent, you certainly cannot accuse me of anthromorphizing the universe."

    You certainly are anthropomorphizing the universe. You cannot make a valid claim that "logic requires me to transcend the universe" because in order for you to even have knowledge of such a thing you would have to be able to comprehend the universe. How can you know something "transcends" the universe when you don't even know what there is to know about the universe that is to be transcended?

    You have conflated the limits of your own mind with the limits of the universe. In that way, anthropomorphizing the universe is a pretty apt description of what you are doing.

    "As to your accusation of egotism, I disagree. Humility, thanks, appreciation, receptiveness of the possibility of an "Other" is exactly the opposite of egotism. It is egotistic to be proud, ungrateful, unappreciative for our being and not receptive to an 'Other.'"

    It is egotistic to assume that pride, gratefulness, and appreciation are all-important to the universe, that indeed, there exists some all-encompassing force governing the universe that responds to such things. Have you ever heard the song that goes, "You're so vain / I bet you think this song is about you"? That's religion, writ large.

    It lets you think you have a power over things that you, in actuality, don't have. And no, your imaginary avatar does not have that power either, because it is psychological in origin, a mode of wish-fulfillment, and little more.

    "Prove to me that observation is the only reality: that all there is what is immanent, and then explain how it came to be."

    Prove to me that it is not--but of course, you can't, because there can be no knowledge without experience. The very concept of "proof" requires experience. Sure, you can try to claim things that haven't been experienced as "proof," but the very same arguments can be made for sparkle ponies and celestial teapots as can be made for your theology. In other words, if you water down the standard for knowing something which is set by the empirical worldview, then there is no way to distinguish between crazy things we which we have no basis for believing in (like sparkle ponies and celestial teapots and the particular god or gods you happen believe in) from things which we do have a basis for believing in (like the scientific method, which has an infinitely better track-record of determining what is true than do all of the world's religions.)

    As to your request that I "explain how it came to be," I will not engage in triumphalist rhetoric about how "we don't know now, but we WILL know!" I'll leave that sort of thing to the people who were proclaiming solar eclipses to be evil portents before science proved them wrong. The very fact that you think it is necessary for me to show such a thing illustrates an elementary difference between my worldview and yours: You MUST have an answer, and if no answer is immediately forthcoming, you attribute whatever it is that eludes your understanding to your imaginary deity.

    This is not how science works. Science is based on the view that humans are generally ignorant about the world around them, and the only way for us to cure our ignorance is to mess around with (or "experiment") with the universe around us in order to see what happens when we do. Knowledge is based upon observation--which sets a clear limit to what we can know. If we can't observe it, then we cannot truly know it. If something is mysterious to us, then there is no solution other than to try our best to observe it in order to gain what little knowledge we can gain.

    So, for example, you've raised the issue of the First Cause, and you have asserted (without any evidence) that your particular deity (which you seem to know an awful lot about for a phenomenon which is so remote from your observation) is THE First Cause. The truth is, you don't have a clue what caused the Big Bang. You weren't there. You're just some guy living 13 billion years after the fact. If this was 2500 years ago, you'd be telling us that Zeus did it. When it comes to the subject of the First Cause, you don't know anything.

    Now, regarding the First Cause, scientists aren't much better off than you are. Okay, maybe slightly better off, since they generally don't have any pretensions to knowledge on this score, whereas you do. But they are genuinely puzzled regarding what caused the Big Bang. My own instinct here is that there are many things we do not understand about the universe, which, if we did understand them, would explain the First Cause question. However, it is important to recognize that the universe was not designed for our understanding. We happen to understand things, but that does not mean that we are necessarily going to understand everything.

    Science is a good method with a proven track record. But science is not all-powerful, nor does it make us all-powerful. The older I get, the more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know. I think science works in that way too: it draws attention to the areas of our ignorance and reveals them to be far vaster than we would have otherwise imagined.

    "Hopefully sometime, someplace, someone will draw you out of your Humean empirical world where there is no love, no justice, no friendship, no sacrifice, no beauty, no good, no right, no purity, no forgiveness, no desire for eternity, and no God."

    Once again, you are putting words into my mouth. I did not deny the existence of a single one of the things you list here. (Although I will say that "God," as you conceive of it, seems rather unlikely, in the same way that "little green men" seem unlikely, in that they seem far more likely to be anthropomorphic projections upon the universe, reflecting common human desires [what psychologists call "wish-fulfillment"], rather than something that actually exists independent of such fantasies.)

    As for justice, friendship, sacrifice, beauty, good, right, purity, forgiveness, a desire for eternity: I actually do think these things exist, except they may not be what you think they are. As Friedrich Nietsche pointed out in his essay "On Truth and Lies in the Non-Moral Sense," merely because we have a word to describe something does not in itself prove that the thing that we are describing actually exists, nor does it prove that what we are describing actually is what we say it is.

    It seems to me that justice, friendship, sacrifice, beauty, good, right, purity, forgiveness, and a desire for eternity (Can I throw in Love? Let's throw in Love.) are all phenomena that exist in the world in certain forms. They are, among other things, thoughts, and thoughts are, essentially, brain activity. One can posit the existence of the Soul, although it's kind of unnecessary, since the brain actually does all of the things which are commonly attributed to the soul: thinking, moral reasoning, caring, loving, admiring, etc.

    Now, maybe you think this is an impoverished conception of justice, friendship, sacrifice, beauty, good, right, purity, forgiveness, and a desire for eternity; I don't think so. Is something less meaningful because it is material? Only if you are, for no particularly good reason, biased against the material. Only if, for no particularly good reason, the material isn't good enough for you. I could say I sympathize, but I don't, for someone who thinks this way is no better than a child who whines because their birthday present isn't good enough.

    I say: Sorry. The universe doesn't exist to placate you.

    I was also amused by this comment from another poster:

    "Paganism & Atheism are but two sides of the same coin."

    Actually, if you read about how Greek religion was actually practiced, and what the Greeks actually believed in (I recommend Walter Burkert's Greek Religion, an extremely thorough book on the subject) you will find that they are in many ways very similar to modern Christians. I was struck while reading the chapter on Zeus on how similar the god of the Old Testament and Zeus actually are. People have all sorts of misconceptions about the ancient Greeks, don't even get me started.

  10. Trinbabonian
    1 year ago

    Thanks Mr. Greenwell. In my simple way, while I think atheists (and all persons) should learn to thank God, I don't believe that the majority of atheists are not thankful. If they were, I think by reason, they would commit suicide. The very act of living is an act of thanks. In fact, the few atheists I know live a full life and do a lot of good (as if to want to qualify their life). Christians will not agree with all the atheists do in their lives but nevertheless, they live. And in living, they must make decisions about the kind of life they wish to live ... what's good and what's not ... what to pursue etc.... for they are grateful for life.
    We may not agree with whom (or what) they seemingly thank, but I think they are thankful. I think they cannot bring themselves to give the HIGHEST (God being higher than science) form of thanks and praise owed for their lives. And in the highest ways (the Mass). And yes, as such, their thanks is a lack of thanks. Their thanks is lacking, low, basic.

    I think atheists are very wounded. It's very sad to live a life not thanking God, devoid of ritual thanksgiving to Him, and then die. It's a very sad course of events that brings someone to prefer Godlessness. Still, I think giving any form of thanks is itself a Godly act so the atheist cannot really live Godless. This is an oxymoron.


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