October 16, 2010

Atheism And Agnosticism - WWJD?

Did you ever get the feeling you are being watched?  It can be creepy, but most of the time it just is what it is. 

That is, being watched is an every day reality.  That is because we are accountable to someone most of the time throughout all stages of life, be it our parents, our siblings, our aunts or uncles, our teachers, our husbands or wives, our boss or our very own children. 

It can be a creepy thing, like the picture to the left, but in general, I think it is a good thing.  I think we want to do good by those who watch us, and I think the roles each of us plays is a positive catalyst for right action and right speech.  It makes us a little more conscientious when we do something or say something.

A natural extension of this would be with God, with a God, or with some gods, in that we would be accountable to Someone beyond mankind for our overarching journey of life from conception to natural death (hopefully).  At least that is my thinking, and the thinking of many, many other people in our world.

Atheists and agnostics, however, can't wrap their brains around that concept, just like I can't wrap my brain around their concepts: 1) God does not exist, or 2) the existence or non-existence of a God is unknowable.  So where do we go from here?  Let's ask Jesus.

[Jesus] said to them, "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15) [emphasis mine]

Jesus says go and preach the Gospel.  He did not give any qualifiers.  He simply said go and preach.  It doesn't matter if the people believe in God or not.  Go preach.  That's WWJD.

Jesus never said preaching would be simple.  On the contrary, He said it would be hard.  Take a look: 

1) Then he said to all, "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?  
Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. (Luke 9:23-26)

2) As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go."
Jesus answered him, "Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head."
And to another he said, "Follow me." But he replied, "(Lord,) let me go first and bury my father."
But he answered him, "Let the dead bury their dead. 28 But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God."
And another said, "I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home."
(To him) Jesus said, "No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:57-62)

3) Great crowds were traveling with him, and he turned and addressed them,
"If any one comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26-27)

4) In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:33)

Based on my own experience, and the advice of many sage saints, I think the only thing to do, when you don't know what to do, like I don't with atheists and agnostics, is to preach the Gospel by living the Gospel and by praying for the conversion of all souls. "Preach the Gospel and if necessary, use words," kind of thing. So even when we think it is impossible to communicate with atheists and agnostics, we can still do so with our actions.  We would still be doing right by Jesus.

Happy St. Teresa of Avila Feast Day!


images - http://www.crunchgear.com/2009/01/18/fight-piracy-by-being-a-snitch/


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