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An essay from David Warren: “Decension”

August 26, 2013

Have you noticed the stridency of some apologists for atheism, such as say, Harris or Dawkins?  Writing about the conversion of Laura Keynes (Charles Darwin’s great-great-great granddaughter!) to Roman Catholicism, David Warren muses in the essay Decension about how the Holy Spirit is able to use this for good:

What fascinates me is the suggestion that a significant impetus to her conversion came from actually reading the aggressive “New Atheists” of her own (former) tribe. She describes, “the strange mix of angry emotion I encountered there: anger at the thought of God; anger at any restrictions on behaviour; anger at thwarted will; pride in the exertion of will; pride in feeling intellectually superior; contempt for anyone who reveals human vulnerability in asking for the grace of God. It’s important to remember that where there’s anger, there’s often pain. I see a lot of pain there. I think it stems from clinging to the idea that we’re in control, that we have autonomy.”

More: “The question of whether the existence of God is demonstrable by rational argument has kept philosophers & theologians busy for centuries. I’d ask the claimant to explain how closing this discussion furthers the cause of reason. So I’d respond gently, but if I really lost my patience, I’d tell them: ‘Just go & read Aquinas!’ ”

Consider, if you will, gentle reader, what is implied in these remarks. It is that far from leading young intellects astray, the legion of Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, Hitchens (& Grayling, Krauss, Shermer, Stenger, et alia) have actually been doing the work of God. They have been doing it involuntarily, to be sure, but that is the miracle of the Holy Spirit, who stays at least one infinity ahead of the quickest human minds. In this case, they have finally made the argument against God so plain, so obvious, & so symmetrically the reverse of the truth, as to win souls over to the One Holy Catholic & Apostolic Church — in effect, chasing the intelligent over to Christ’s side.

As a commenter on the blog notes, this is a fulfillment of Romans 5:20 – “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.”

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