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Atheists Whose Deepest Yearning is to Be Wrong PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Friday, 24 August 2007 08:42
John Allen's All Things Catholic just came out and is dedicated to the remarkable relationship between the famously atheistic Oriana Fallaci and the Catholic Church.

It's all fascinating but two quotes in particular struck me as fodder for a larger discussion:

Allen begins:

"Conventional wisdom has it, "There are no atheists in foxholes." In truth, atheists can be found even in foxholes, but often they're atheists whose deepest yearning is to be wrong."

And continues with a long passage from the man whom Fallaci asked to be at her side as she died: Bishop Rino Fisichella, rector of the Lateran University in Rome:

During those days, a phrase came into my mind from the posthumously published book of Ignazio Silone called Severina. The protagonist is a sister who had left the convent, who is now dying from a wound she received during a protest. At a certain point, one of the sisters from the convent comes to her deathbed and takes her hand, saying, 'Severina, Severina, tell me that you believe!' Severina looks at her and says, 'No, but I hope.' I believe we Christians have a great responsibility to talk about our faith with the language of hope. Quite often, people won't understand us when we talk about the content of our faith. But without doubt, people of today can understand when we talk about hope, if we talk about the mystery of our existence and the meaning of our lives …

Post-modern people are much more intrigued by our hope than our doctrine. Until our existential hope, our serenity, our wholeness, our love, our sanctity is visible, they won't listen to our propositions.

How can we live in such a way that atheists who long to be wrong find in us a compelling reason to doubt their conclusions about the universe and the one who holds it in being?

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