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(There is no such thing as atheism...

Some comments by the American novelist David Foster Wallace (1962-2008):

“In the day-to-day trenches of adult life,there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshiping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of God or spiritual-type thing to worship is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive.

If you worship money and things—if they are where you tap real meaning in life—then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. Worship power—you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart—you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on.”

Wallace’s thoughts echo a point made by Father Alexander Schmemann (1920-1983), in an essay titled “Worship in a Secular Age.” In that essay, Father Schmemann wrote that man is fundamentally a homo adorans—a “worshipping being” - “the one for whom worship is the essential act which both ‘posits’ his humanity and fulfills it.”

In making this point, Schmemann was writing from the perspective of Christian revelation, which holds that God gifts us with existence for the sake of sharing in His divine life, and our fundamental act in response to this gift is thanksgiving and gratitude in the form of worship.

Wallace, like Father Schmemann, also makes the point that man is a “worshiping being.” Experience shows, he argues, that men and women inevitably end up worshiping something. If it’s not God, then it’s things such as money, comfort, sex, sports, fame, power, success, their bodies, their careers, or most often, themselves - the most dangerous idols of all.)

From: Insights from St. Paul Orthodox Church, Irvine, CA, USA.

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