Wednesday, February 28, 2018

"Religiously devoted" non-believers

An eminent apologist for the Christian religion, as well as a great mathematician and experimental scientist, Blaise Pascal, helps to provide the needed explanation (about who the book is written for).  He divided all mankind into three groups.  In his view, these comprised:

1.) Those who know God and love him
2.) Those who do not know God but seek him
3.) Those who neither know God nor seek him

Clearly, persons in the first of the three groups are not pagans; they may be either religious Christians, religious Jews, or religious Muslims.  They are persons who believe in God and participate in the worship of him.  Persons in the second and third group do not believe in the God worshipped by religious Christians, Jews, and Muslims.  By that negative criterion, they are all pagans, but with this important difference: Persons in the second of Pascal's groups, while not believing in God, are open-minded pagans- at least to the extent of their being willing to consider the question whether God exists.  Those in the third group are resolutely committed pagans, as resolutely committed as are the religious persons in the first of Pascal's group.
Mortimer Adler, How to Think about God: A Guide for the 20th-Century Pagan, 6.

It is awesome when some light shines through and illuminates something I have been thinking about for awhile.  There is nothing better than an old book to shine light on a contemporary issue.  I could not agree with Adler more.  In today's world, 

There is a growing group of "religiously devoted" non-believers.  

What marks these folks?  They have a deep-seated belief that they are more advanced and sophisticated than people of faith.  When faith is brought up, they smile condescendingly and say how they are glad that religion works for you.  When I see this look, I know continuing the discussion is pointless.  No information, no argument, no presentation will even be considered.  They have rejected the very possibility of ultimate Truth and the existence of the God of the bible.

In its place, they have embraced a dependence upon themselves, their judgment, and their ability to find "happiness" in our fallen world.  Increasingly, they also trust in either politics or a rejection of politics and an embrace of self-sufficient anarchy to provide answers to life's most pressing questions.

This is going to sound unfair, but I wonder what would happen in our world if sincere, thinking, and articulate believers were brave enough to share how following and walking with Jesus actually answers life's most pressing questions?  Instead, most of us live like our "religiously devoted" non-believing friends.