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Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Quote of the Day (6)

“The earth, O Lord, is full of your steadfast love,” said the psalmist.

It may be argued that in a fallen creation the “steadfast love” of God that fills the earth is easier to recognize at some moments than at others. But contrast that with a materialistic universe, where genuine love is absent by definition.

Someone got Catholic novelist John C. Wright going on the subject of the atheistic vs. the theistic worldview and their respective implications, in particular for the possibility of love as opposed to mere sentimentalism.

Atheism and Love
“In the atheist universe, the universe does not love us. Indeed not! The universe is not even paying us the compliment of ignoring us. To speak of the universe ignoring mankind is an unjustifiable anthropomorphism. The universe does not even have the capacity to ignore, that is, to turn its attention away from us as unworthy, for it has no attention to turn. The universe is our word for a mass of disconnected events forming a vast but unintentional, directionless, and dead machine built by nothing for no purpose running onward by inertia until stopped by entropy.

No, even to call it a machine is anthropomorphism, for machines are tools build by design. Chaos is the absence of design.

The godless universe is a meaningless sequence of meaningless matter contorted in meaningless motions.

In the godless universe, there is no one and nothing to love except for other men, or their institutions, or pets, or some other object of sentimentality. Such love is only as deep as any sentiment: it lasts for so long as one’s digestion is sound. All such objects of love are changeable, fickle, mortal, and unreliable. In the long run they are unworthy, and a deep and sick self loathing, irony and cynicism pervades the lives of anyone who lives in this moral and mental atmosphere.

Love alone makes life worth living, and in a godless universe, mankind as a whole has no father, no king, no lover and no beloved.”
Theism and Love
“In the theist universe, divine love created all, and will conquer all, and each life has more meaning that we can imagine, more than we dare imagine, for we shall outlive stars and galaxies by an infinite magnitude, in infinite joy, and bliss upon bliss.

In the theist universe, nothing is meaningless, nothing can be meaningless, because everything is a message from the creator via the medium of Creation itself to us, his creations. And the message is love.”
Of course Wright is speaking too generally here. Theism admits the possibility of a God who is love but does not guarantee it. It equally allows for gods who are indifferent, malevolent or wildly inconsistent in their attitude toward mankind. So the Christian worldview is not merely theistic, but posits a very specific sort of God revealing himself through his word and most unambiguously in the person of Jesus Christ.

Still, Wright’s point stands. In an atheistic universe, love can be no more than a sentiment.

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