Atheists and ‘The Church of the One Truth’
… And nothing but the Truth: atheism and the audacity of the Catholic worldview, Part 2
In the Church of the One Truth there are no ceremonies, no sacraments, no saints. There are no cathedrals, no worship, no mass. There are no sacred books, sacred music, sacred creeds. There is no morality, no accountability, no judgment.
In the Church of the One Truth, there is simply one solitary and singular truth. This singularity is the explanation for all times, all places, all things and all people. The sole truth of the Church of the One Truth is that the universe in its entirety is simply material. Everything is material, physical, observable. In other words, everything is simply one of two things. Everything is either matter or energy. All things are entirely tangible. Or, they don’t exist at all.
The Church of the One Truth reduces every facet and feature, every aspect and dimension of the universe and all it contains to a solitary physical truth that manifests as either matter or energy. And, because everything is either matter or energy, all existence, all life forms, all human experience are simply the product of matter and energy, an effect of the material of the universe.
For us as human beings, this means all thought, all emotion, all reason, logic and common sense are not actually real. They are illusions. Yet, these illusions we all experience as real, these illusions we use to explore, manage and change our environment have no actual reality whatsoever. For if all that exists is matter and energy, then these experiences we find so inherent to human life are simply and profoundly illusions, illusions brought on by biochemical activity. They are simply neural activity of a physical nature and nothing more.
In the Church of the One Truth, human experience becomes an illusion. To this Church, the ultimate and the final, real reality of these aspects of human experience are simply the product of neural activity, electronic impulses that are only and completely biochemical, the product of matter and energy.
Within this sole dogma, everything is lost. Everything becomes an illusion. Right and wrong disappears in the face of the relentless logic of biochemistry. Beauty also follows suit. Even logic, reason and common sense are destroyed by the irresistible invasion of the materialist truth of matter and energy. The nobility and depravity of the human experience — love, compassion, self-sacrifice, as well as hatred, revenge and selfishness, all are completely and conclusively conquered by this biochemical creed. The solitary dogma of the Church of the One Truth leaves humanity wandering in a worldly wasteland without the ways or means of validating human experience or for finding real meaning and hope.
Also, as an unavoidable and relentless result of the materialist truth, The Church of the One Truth also becomes the Church of the Infinite Illusions. For if everything in human experience is the result of biochemistry, then everything in the universe and in human experience becomes an illusion because its ultimate reality is merely biochemical. If all things are ultimately material (matter and energy), then all things must be material. All human things, tangible and intangible, are not what they are, not what they seem, not what we experience. They are merely biochemistry.
The insidious, irresistibility of this relentless truth has severe and catastrophic implications for collective human society, too. When morality and reason are matters of biochemical activity alone, morality and reason can provide no real basis for law or for government. When morality and reason are lost to the advance of the biochemical truth, how can power be constrained? How can governmental deliberations be grounded in and sustained by reason and morality? They must inevitably degenerate into politics and self-interest.
But, who are the believers in the One Truth? The informed members of the Church of the One Truth are typically atheists and convinced agnostics. Atheists believe there is no God and agnostics believe there is no way to know if there is a God. They both argue from the standpoint of physical and tangible evidence and will accept no proof other than facts of this type.
Many atheists and agnostics operate as if there was some real reality to the human experience, but when pressed by circumstance or argument, they usually choose to affirm the absence of real morality and the illusion of all human experience. In matters of morality and the purpose of life, they appeal to personal perception and preference and the practicalities of public life, while denying the existence and substance of the objective moral order and its inherent practical principles.
But, there are not nearly as many convinced atheists and agnostics as there are those who adhere to atheistic views just because they fail to explore the flaws in the materialist dogma or because they do not recognize the severe limitations of atheism’s materialistic view of life and living. These people believe in the basic idea of materialism, but they fail to think things through and they often live inconsistent with their undeveloped beliefs.
They are also influenced greatly by our culture, a culture based on materialist beliefs or influenced by them. For many outside the Christian faith live with one foot in a moral universe and the other in the materialistic one. They live their lives oscillating between the materialist view of human nature and a more spiritual and moral one. And, they are often confused by the clash of ideas these different views of the world entail. This confusion is evident in many philosophical and practical ways.
They miss the importance of basic suppositions and the errors of a materialist worldview. For instance, the limitation of materialism begins with a materialist’s appeal to reason. Remember, reason is just a biochemical event according to the Church of the One Truth. When the Church of the One Truth appeals to reason, it appeals to an illusion. This is an act based on a delusion for an atheist, because he knows reason is only a series of biochemical events. Or, it is a disingenuous appeal designed to persuade others.
When reason is really biochemistry, then, as an atheist, using reason to make your case is a flagrant and fatal flaw in your argument. It is an invalid argument because it relies on a reality and reasoning that does not exist within atheism’s materialistic view of the universe.
On a practical level, according to the Church of the One Truth, our mind and our emotions are no longer real either.
For instance, love no longer exists in a solely material universe. For our sensations of love that prompt our loving behavior have no actual reality. They are merely biochemical events. So, next time you hug your spouse or your children or your friends, remember the real and only reality of that act and that feeling is biochemistry. You are just a lump of matter and energy. And, so are your loved ones, a temporary configuration of the material of the universe.
In the end, the Church of the One Truth is the Church of the Infinite Illusions. This is inescapable based on how atheism defines itself and its view of reality. In the Church of the One Truth, there is no real morality, only cultural norms and societal expediencies. There are no commandments, no real rules for life and living, no objective and transcendent moral principles to make them hesitate or to reflect.
As Catholics, it is our job to appeal to atheists’ personal human experience, the experience they do not accept. And, to inform them of their error and persuade them to consider the truth of the Catholic faith, a faith of many truths for life and for living, a faith that validates the human experience in its fullest sense, a faith that edifies the human mind and heart, a faith that brings hope and love into the very heart and society of mankind.
Frank Cronin, formerly an avowed atheist, writes from eastern Connecticut. He has a master’s degree in theology from Regent University. His post-master’s study includes Harvard, Columbia and Holy Apostles College and Seminary. He was received into the Catholic Church in 2007. Part 1 of the series may be found here. Next: “Quidditch and the Truth.”)