Gaudium et Spes 20

Gaudium et Spes continues its analysis of atheism:

Modern atheism often takes on a systematic expression which, in addition to other causes, stretches the desires for human independence to such a point that it poses difficulties against any kind of dependence on God. Those who profess atheism of this sort maintain that it gives (people) freedom to be an end unto (themselves), the sole artisan and creator of (their) own history. They claim that this freedom cannot be reconciled with the affirmation of a Lord Who is author and purpose of all things, or at least that this freedom makes such an affirmation altogether superfluous. Favoring this doctrine can be the sense of power which modern technical progress generates in (humankind).

I think there is the lure of technology, yes. I wonder how much reliance on human independence is a staking out of personal independence in response to the experience of injustice. In other words, “Now that I’m finally free of my … abuser/corrupt government/the people who tried to keep me down”–fill in the blank–” and God wasn’t with me in any of this, why should I lean on him now?”

Not to be overlooked among the forms of modern atheism is that which anticipates the liberation of (people) especially through his economic and social emancipation. This form argues that by its nature religion thwarts this liberation by arousing … hope for a deceptive future life, thereby diverting him from the constructing of the earthly city. Consequently when the proponents of this doctrine gain governmental rower they vigorously fight against religion, and promote atheism by using, especially in the education of youth, those means of pressure which public power has at its disposal.

They’re talking marxism, right?

The marxists certainly hammered away on the passive approach to life’s problems: “Just wait till you die and heaven awaits in the next life.” Of course that would be unsatisfactory. Not necessarily from a selfish view, but even from the view of wanting a better life for one’s neighbors, friends, and even one’s children.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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