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Atheism and Belief in God
On Sunday, September 29, 2019, the Verbum Dei-Tagaytay community begun a series of formations entitled “Atheism and Belief in God” facilitated by Sr. Grace Gonzales, FMVD.
It was a whole day formation attended by adult/singles and married individuals from nearby Tagaytay areas and some from Metro Manila. The formation activity covered interesting topics such as:
As one of the attendees, we asked mind-boggling questions which could be on people’s minds, like, What is the meaning and purpose of one’s life?; Where does suffering originate?; What is its purpose? These are questions foremost in our hearts and minds which oftentimes we don’t articulate for fear of being misunderstood or branded as weird.
But, our God provides the answers, because man is a thinking and religious being. The Church document, Gaudium et Spes, #19 gives us a glimpse of the answers and some insights on what atheism is all about, the meaning of human dignity and also man’s capacity to know God.
Likewise, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC, Ch.1 # 27-29) tells us of man’s desire for God which is written in the human heart; and how God never stops to draw us to Himself. As St. Augustine expressed it, man is restless until he rests in God.
Throughout history, until the present day, men and women have continued to express their quest for God in their religious beliefs and actions in prayer, sacrifices, rituals, meditations, devotions, etc. hence, man can be called a religious being.
However, due to man’s sinfulness and weaknesses, the closeness to God can be broken, forgotten, ignored, and even rejected by man (GS #19). Thus, we have atheists who continue to reject God and deny any claim of His divine existence. We also learned in the formation, the various causes of atheism, like, man’s desire for autonomy, that he can exist without divine or God’s intervention.An advocate of this belief, Rene Descartes, said, “I think, therefore, I am.” which means, man is autonomous and can be left to himself. Another German philosopher, Frederick Nietzche, even said, “God is dead.” This reminded me of the famous Beatles member, John Lennon who composed the song, “Imagine” with the famous line: “Imagine there’s no Heaven…” Lennon was tagged by many as an atheist because of this composition, among others.
Finally, a very touching and relevant video film, entitled, “God’s Not Dead” capped our formation session. It was a film which depicted a learned professor’s life of denying the existence of God because “he was angry with God for taking everything away from him.”
The question put forward by the student who challenged the professor was, “How can he get angry with someone if that someone did not exist?” Towards the end of the film, the professorwho met a tragic car accident, accepted his defeat and asked for forgiveness before he passed away.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
With thanks to Mila Abigan and the WordNews team
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