adrift on a sea of irrelevance

Arguably, the debate concerning the existence of God has been waging for a very long time, and no doubt the battle will continue into the far distant future. Perhaps it may even go on until the end of time itself when, irrespective of which side of the argument you reside, it will be resolved without the necessity for further controversy. Rest assured, eventually the answer to the question will become perfectly obvious to everyone.

Ship of Fools

Ship of Fools

What is perfectly obvious today is that a large majority find themselves holding to a belief in a Divine Presence, the Source of all that exists, and the Creator of us all. Those who do not hold to such a belief are decidedly and quite thankfully in the minority, albeit an irritatingly vocal and generally unhappy lot. What is difficult to determine with any precision or accuracy is the population of those who proclaim a belief in God but find the matter largely irrelevant within the conduct of their daily lives. Assuredly and equally unfortunate, their numbers are both significant and growing.

It is important to note that the preponderance of the population will readily admit to believing in God; that is and never has been at issue. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI explains this with remarkable insight when he writes that it is “not as though God had been denied—not on your life! He simply was not needed in regard to the ‘reality’ that mankind had to deal with. God had nothing to do.” He further writes, “Has not Christian consciousness acquiesced to a great extent—without being aware of it—in the attitude that faith in God is something subjective, which belongs in the private realm and not in the common activities of public life where, in order to be able to get along, we all have to behave now etsi Deus non daretur (as if there were no God).[1]

God declared irrelevant

God has no relevance to man, or so man proclaims. Without God there is nothing and no one to establish an objective moral code or to elevate the respect due every human life. We are living in a society, and in a world, where God has been declared irrelevant, where there is no absolute truth and therefore all truth is both subjective and relative, and where one lives by a self-imposed, ego-centric moral code. Take but a cursory look around and you will see the countless vacuous minions who have so fully subscribed to such a self-absorbed, self-immolating, amoral, narcissistic culture.

In an allegorical tale perhaps best known as the Ship of Fools, Plato describes a vessel populated by deranged, frivolous, or oblivious passengers aboard a ship without a pilot. They are completely ignorant of where they are going and care nothing for the circumstances of their fellow passengers or for themselves. What is most disconcerting is how Plato’s prescient philosophical musings fall far too close to the current cultural lineation to provide us with any small comfort.

Those who find no relevance for God are like the fool who built his house on sand.[2] Without a foundation constructed upon the solid rock of God’s law, a fool’s house, his life, and those who built likewise, will be lost to the vagaries and fickleness of the slightest breeze or the mildest weather.

The Calculus of Relevance

This attitude that dismisses and discards God to the trash heap of irrelevance carries with it implications and ramifications often not immediately apparent or readily realized. Removing God from the Calculus of Relevance eradicates the foundational underpinnings for moral behavior. If man, absent God, decides what is right or wrong, good or bad, true or false, then morality becomes the plaything of subjective argument and personal relevancy.

What subsequently is elevated to greater importance, what is deemed most relevant is neither God nor His commandments upon which we are obliged to adhere, but that which we decide is right for us, what is of personal relevance, the moral code which we choose to define and follow. There are no absolutes, no objective moral code upon which one is forced to conduct one’s self. I choose, I decide. I win, you lose. I’m right, you’re wrong. I’m good, you’re bad. I live, you die. Please take careful note of the fact that the central tenet upon which life (or more specifically, life other than one’s own) is now subjectively focused is on “I” which quite clearly dismisses the inconsequential existence that is not “I”. Only “I” am relevant, all else is of no great import, entering the conscious mind only to the extent that it is relative to the all-important “I”.

A loss of value

It does not take much effort to see how deeply ingrained this subjective, relativistic misanthropy has enveloped and ensconced itself within the very fabric and timbre of our lives. The dehumanization and devaluation of human life is both glaringly and publicly evident in the unfathomable volume of judicially legal – although objectively and morally unjust and illegitimate – terminations (killings) exercised through acts of abortions, euthanasia, and assisted suicides, the horrendous acts of barbarism, terrorism, and genocide perpetrated on a global scale, and the widespread and growing pandemic created by the pornography, sex and slave trade industries.

What makes this so terribly appalling is that we appear to have lost the ability or desire to be horrified by any of it at all. We have become dead to life; overwhelmed by the realization that so much of mankind has declared both God and His creation to be irrelevant. We have largely and in a very real sense abdicated our rational minds to unthinking, mindless groupthink, all while having an unreasoning compulsion to “just get along” with that thousand-pound gorilla standing menacingly before us. Man’s inhumanity has supplanted and suborned any vestiges of that humanity which has been gifted to him by God.

The missing constant

Without God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – at its core, life as we understand it, becomes nothing more than an amorphous existence, without meaning or purpose. And if one’s epistemology holds that life is irrelevant then it necessarily follows that the value of any and all life is worth little or nothing at all. If life holds no value, then assuredly love is lost as well, for love can only embrace that which it holds most dear. To love and to be loved presupposes and requires an existence worthy of love, both human and divine.

Here we may finally deduce that essential element which has been so blatantly and quite surgically excised from the calculus, and that is the relevance and essential presence of God. God is the purest and ultimate form of love, for He is Love. God created us out of love and loves all of His creation without condition or qualification. God’s love for us preordains our value, for love of a nullity is irrational, it is absolute nonsense which makes no sense at all.

God is the essential Element, the Constant upon which all life is derived. Remove God from the calculus and nothing remains, absolutely nothing.  God does matter. God is relevant. It is only the foolish who would dare to declare otherwise.

 

[1] Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Introduction to Christianity, 2000.

[2] Mt 7:27.

Deacon Chuck

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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