It takes a village

by Don Hartness

For an alternative take on the source of suffering, I am including an additional post from The Twilight of Atheism by Alister McGrath (for a short primer on this work, click here).

Note McGrath’s point on humanism (which I’ll cover in depth in a future post). Atheism often ridicules theism and the religious for their belief in some invisible sky-god. What atheism often fails to understand is that the act of worship, at its core, is simply whatever a human being holds in highest reverence. If a person does not worship a god, then that person will worship something else de facto. The only question is “what”?

Without further ado…

“Atheist writers often appeal to the presence of suffering in the world as a decisive refutation of the existence of God. How can there be a God, when there is so much suffering and pain in the world…Who wants to believe in a God who is detached from the pain and sorrow of the world – who somehow evades the suffering of the world he is supposed to have created? For many, the trauma of Auschwitz can only mean the supreme triumph of atheism: who could believe in God in the face of such horrifying acts of violence and brutality?

It is only fair to point out that those who planned the Holocaust, and those who slammed shut the doors of the Auschwitz gas chambers, were human beings – precisely those whom Ludwig Feuerback declared to be the new “gods” of the modern era, free from any divine prohibitions or sanctions, or any fear of future divine judgment…if any worldview is rendered incredible by the suffering and pain of the twentieth century, it is the petty dogma of the nineteenth century, which declared that humanity was divine. It requires an act of blind faith that ignores the moral wasteland of the twentieth century to agree with the shallow judgment of Algernon Charles Swinburne: “Glory to man in the highest! For man is the master of things.” This “master of things” has much to answer for – more violence, bloodshed, and oppression than any naïve Victorian optimist could ever have imagined.” p. 183-184”