Douglas Dobbins smashes one out of the park in his discussion of the foundational, internal battle we all experience:
>>”The natural person,” writes St. Paul, “does not accept the things of the Spirit of God.” The reason for this rejection is simple: “for they are folly to him”(1 Cor 2:14). There is therefore an antithesis between Christian thinking and the alternative.
This is an up and down, black and white reality. And we don’t just face this from afar. It gets right into our faces, at home.
>>We live in a pluralistic society, where our loved ones are often nonbelievers. The temptation for us, in such a society, is to minimize the antithesis in our hearts, believing that Christian and non Christian thought can cohabitate harmoniously. The opposite, however, is the case.
Dobbins firmly rejects the idea of tolerating rejection of Christianity as an honorable matter of opinion or taste.
>>Let us make no mistake, this world is against Christ. There is no honest inquirer, one who simply rejects Christ for the sake of intellectual honesty… We therefore, who are surrounded by unbelief, must not accept atheists at their word, as if they had judged themselves accurately. Indeed, experience testifies to this truth, namely that apostasy is connected to moral rebellion.
Dobbins is not just criticizing “those other people.” This is, after all, an internal struggle.
>>We cannot even trust our own thoughts. When doubts appear in our minds, telling us that Christ’s word is false, we are to remember the source of these doubts, namely our finite and fallen minds.
But enough with these excerpts. Go forth and read his whole column.
UPDATE: I’ve found another web column that explores this dilemma further. Check out Fr. James Schall’s discussion of “The Constant Temptation.”