Few have helped us as much as Christian Chabanis to know the attitude of people today in the face of God. His famous interviews are an indispensible document to know what the most recognized scientists and thinkers of today think about God.
Chabanis confesses that, when he began his interviews with the most prestigious atheists of our days, he thought he would find in them a rigorous and well-founded atheism. In reality he found hidden behind their serious professions of lucidity and honesty, an «absolute absence of the search for truth».
It’s not surprising how a French writer responded to him, since something similar is going on among us. A great part of those who renounce belief in God do it without having initiated any type of effort whatsoever to seek God. I think above all that so many who confess being agnostics, sometimes in ostentatious ways, in reality are far away from a true agnostic position.
The agnostic is a person who raises the problem of God and, when they don’t find any reason to believe in God, suspend their judgment. Agnosticism is a search that ends in frustration. Only after having begun the search does the agnostic adopt his position: «I don’t know if God exists. I find no reason to believe in God or to not believe».
The posture most common today consists in simply disengaging from the question of God. Many of those who call themselves agnostics are in reality people who aren’t looking. Xavier Zubiri would say that theirs are lives «without the will of real truth». To them it matters little that God exists or doesn’t. It’s all the same whether life ends here or not. To them it’s enough to «live and let live», abandon ourselves «to whatever», without going deeper in the mystery of the world and of life.
But is that the most human posture in the face of reality? Can a life be presented as progressive, in which is absent the will to seek the ultimate truth of our life? Can it be affirmed that such is the only legitimate attitude when all is said and done? Can it be affirmed that such is the only legitimate attitude of intellectual honesty? How can one know that it’s not possible to believe if that person has never sought God?
To want to maintain a ‘neutral position’ without deciding for or against faith is to already make a decision. What’s worst of all is that it’s equivalent to renouncing to seek an approximation to the ultimate mystery of reality.
The posture of Thomas isn’t that of an indifferent agnostic, but one of a person seeking to reaffirm his faith in his own experience. That’s why, when he meets Christ, he confidently opens himself to him: «My Lord and my God». How much truth is contained in Karl Rahner’s words: «it easier to allow oneself to suffocate in total vacuum than in the abyss of God’s holy mystery, but the former doesn’t presume more courage or more truth. When all is said and done, this truth shines forth if it is loved, if it is accepted, if it is lived as the truth that frees».
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf