WHICH ATHEISM AND WHICH GOD? On the debate between Albert Chillon and Jesús Martínez Gordo

Jesus, my friend, here you have a couple of new (or old, but, in any case, friendly) notes that your counter-reply suggests to me.

1.- You state that your reasoning is due to the fact that your interlocutor, Albert Chillon, was a hard atheist who did not accept the existence of the “Inexpressible ” or of the “Foundational Mystery”. In that case, I think that your defence of deism and theism would be counterproductive because, of the multiple meanings of the word God, I believe that the two that for him are least plausible –with reason- would be deist (“God” as First Driver that remains idle after creating the world) and theist (“God” as omniscient and omnipotent Lord who keeps governing the world according to his supreme will).

2.- Now, Albert Chillon is not, in my opinion, one of those “atheists” (which, by the way, perhaps exist only in our religious prejudices). He bases his faith in Truth, Beauty and Goodness as the last horizon, vocation, possibility and ethical challenge for the human being. And he bases his faith in hope, where he founds the meaning of life. Do we want a better acknowledgement of the Foundational Mystery? If all those who confess themselves as believers would have that faith, so deep and vital –no just ideological and abstract–, the world would be saved.

3.- There is more. Albert Chillon expressly maintains that he is not “atheist” but “a-theist”, that is, he does not deny any image of God, but that of the deist and theist “God” as Supreme Entity separate from the world, either being idle since he created the world (deism) or intervening in it as he pleases. I would dare to say that many of those who call themselves atheists deny precisely the existence of that double “God”, which does not exist for me, either. Atheists teach us which God does not exist, and it is useless to insist on demonstrating to them that he does exist. Besides, as St. Augustine said “if you understand it, it is not God”. That is to say, if you understand God as a necessary Supreme Entity to explain the world, that is not God but your own image. To postulate the existence of that deist or theist “God”, necessary to explain the world, does not seem to me to be the most appropriate starting point to establish a dialogue with Albert Chillon, nor with the most recalcitrant atheist, or with the indifferent masses in our society. But it is not either an appropriate starting point with those believers searching for that God whom they can worship rationally, as Teillhard de Chardin would have said.

4.- And I repeat what I said in my first reply: I do not think it is correct to reason using a concept of matter which is not that of today’s physicists, be they astrophysicists or nuclear physicists. If they agree on something, it is that they do not yet know what matter is (and, therefore, chance and necessity). When you speak about “materialism” and reproach atheists their explaining the world based on “matter only”, you give the impression of knowing what matter is, because talking about “only matter” and “more than matter” only makes sense for someone who knows what matter is. But even if you know a lot, Jesús, I believe that you do not yet know what matter is. Thus, your reproach does not hold water. And I wonder, because wondering is free, if we could not think that the Creator Breath –just a metaphor– that we call “God” is –beyond the “before/after” and the “inside/outside”– the eternal Bottom or Heart of the “holy matter” that Teillhard de Chardin spoke about. We do not have to call it God, but I do. It is a way to say that we do not understand Reality but that, in its real and possible depth, it is true, beautiful and good, and trustworthy. Let’s admire it and care for it, let’s care for us.

Aizarna, August 24, 2021