Why do people deny that God exists, if they can know him by reason?

“To know the invisible God is a great challenge for the human mind.  Many are scared off by it.  Another reason why some do not want to know God is because they would then have to change their life.  Anyone who says that the question about God is meaningless because it cannot be answered is making things to easy for himself. [37-38], 357″ – YOUCAT (5)

Another reason why some do not want to know God is because they would then have to change their life.

 This is an interesting section of the YOUCAT, particularly in light of this weeks Presidential election, and I think it is helpful in answering the question that many have asked – “What the heck happened?”

There are many answers to that question available from political pundits.  Many have cited the changing demographics in the United States and their lack of attention from the Republican Party.  Others have talked about the impact of Hurricane Sandy and Chris Christie’s embrace of President Obama.  Still others have noted the superior “ground game” of the Obama campaign.  Just Google “Why Romney lost” and you’ll find multiple opinions depending on the source. And while certainly many of these factors are valid and require consideration I believe the problem is deeper than that.  Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, I believe, hit closer to the issue.  O’Reilly stated that “the USA is a rapidly changing country”  and Hannity noted that “America is not the center right country that it once was.”

The deeper issue is the continued decline of morality in the United States and the failure to recognize, and come to know God.  In fact, we continue to push Him further away.  We have begun a transition from a nation indivisible, to a nation divided; from a nation with liberty and justice for all, to a nation with liberty threatened and justice meted to those in the way.  We move from “One nation, under God” to a nation that believes it is above God, if they even believe in Him at all!  According to recent data from the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life

“The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace. One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling.

In the last five years alone, the unaffiliated have increased from just over 15% to just under 20% of all U.S. adults. Their ranks now include more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics (nearly 6% of the U.S. public), as well as nearly 33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation (14%).”

It’s no surprise then that the YOUCAT cross-references this question with number 357 “Is atheism always a sin against the first commandment?”, to which it states “Atheism is not a sin if a person has learned nothing of God or has examined the question about God’s existence conscientiously and is unable to believe.”  It goes on to state that, while the line between being unable and unwilling to believe isn’t clear, “the attitude that simply dismisses faith as unimportant, without having examined it more closely, is often worse than well-considered Atheism.”

So, back to the issue of WHY …  The answer is, simply, because it’s easier. If I choose to believe that God doesn’t exist, or that organized religion isn’t for me, then I am not bound by any standard.  I can do what I want, have what I want when I want it and be satisfied.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it this way:

“For the truths that concern the relations between God and man wholly transcend the visible order of things, and, if they are translated into human action and influence it, they call for self-surrender and abnegation. The human mind, in its turn, is hampered in the attaining of such truths, not only by the impact of the senses and the imagination, but also by disordered appetites which are the consequences of original sin. So it happens that men in such matters easily persuade themselves that what they would not like to be true is false or at least doubtful” (CCC-37, emphasis mine)

Once we buy in to this idea of God, then we must surrender.  We have to deny ourselves indulgence in our “disordered appetites.”  Right now we face a time when we need to pray that people can turn away from these and show a willingness to come to know God.  Our nation needs to be a nation “Under God” like perhaps no other time in our history.  So let’s all rise up to the challenge and pray for those that don’t know Him, that they may open their hearts and minds and discover Him.  And for the rest of us, let’s pray that we may come to know Him anew.

Be not afraid!

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