Sunday, April 20, 2008

Christian Atheist

Oriana Fallaci, June 29, 1929 - September 15, 2006

Oriana Fallaci was an eminent Italian journalist and I have read her writings with appreciation for whom and what she was. She represented herself as a Christian Atheist, an anti-jihadist and spoke her mind. I saw her as these representations and also as a patriot and a pagan.

Just what is a “Christian atheist”? Her description from her book, The Force of Reason”, best describes her beliefs.

“I am a Christian atheist. I do not believe in what we imply by the word God. I think that God has been created by men and not vice versa. I think that men have invented Him out of solitude, powerlessness, despair. Meaning, to give an answer to the mystery of existence. To attenuate the insoluble questions that life throws on our faces. Who we are, where do we come from, where we are going. What was here before us and before these worlds billions and billions of worlds spinning in the universe with such a precision, what will come afterwards? In other words, I think that we invented Him out of weakness, namely out of fear of living and dying, Living is very difficult, dying is always a sorrow, and the concept of a God who helps us to face those two challenges can bring infinite relief: I understand it well. In fact I envy those who believe. At times I am even jealous of them. Never though, never, to the point of developing a suspicion and therefore the hope that a God exists.”

Working Theology:
“Nevertheless, I repeat, I am a Christian. I am even though I reject various Christian precepts. Such as the matter of turning the other cheek, of forgiving. (An error which encourages wickedness and that I never commit). Notwithstanding the refusal of various precepts and particularly forgiveness, clemency, I am a Christian because I like the discourse which stays at the roots of Christianity. Because it convinces me, it seduces me to such an extent that in it I do not find any contradiction with my atheism and my secularism.”

“The idea of a God that becomes Man, meaning the idea of Man who becomes God. God of himself. A God with two arms and two legs, a God made of flesh one who goes around making or trying to make the Revolution of the Soul. Who speaking of a Creator seated in Heaven (otherwise who would listen, who would understand?) introduces himself as his Son and explains that all men are brothers of his Son. The tenderness, his let-the-children-come-unto-me, I often wonder if Jesus of Nazareth temperament really was that meek, that sweet, that tender. As a man, not as a God, he stops the cowards who are out to stone the adulteress and thunders: He who is without sin first cast his stone As a man, not as a God, he blasts against slavery, and let’s say loud and clear: who, before Jesus of Nazareth, lad ever blasted against slavery? As a man, in conclusion, he fights. He grieves, he suffers, he certainly sins. As a man he dies. Without dying because Life does not die. Life always resurrects, Life is eternal. And, together with the discourse on Reason, on Freedom, this is the point that mostly convinces me. That mostly seduces me. Because in it I see the rejection of Death, the refusal of Death, the apotheosis of Life which can be evil: yes. Which is also evil, which eats itself. But its alternative is Nothingness. And let’s face it: such is the principle which leads and feeds our civilization. Christianity is the greatest revolution humanity his ever accomplished.”

Is being a Christian atheist an oxymoron? What part of Fallaci’s philosophy can a Christian espouse and still be a Christian and/or an atheist?

As I read from Fallaci’s beliefs, above, her human predicament of “soul sorrow” is obvious. How does she answer the questions, ‘is life worth living, how does the real and ideal come together and what happens when I die?’ It appears that the dilemma of self preservation and death are ever before her. Missing in her philosophy are the three conditions that Christianity makes peace with in soul sorrow, which are ‘hope for personal immortality, a rational view of the universe and knowledge of truth.’

“In sum, without hope, nothing has real meaning. Without a rational view of the universe, hope cannot be secured. But without a knowledge of what truth is, a rational universe cannot be recognized. Christianity alone—can make peace with these three conditions (without which we can not enjoy existence) for human happiness.” Edward John Carnell

Rom 1:20-21 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

1 comment:

Jim said...

fascinating read!