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Atheists and Puppies

One puts the other to shame.

May 1, 2018  0


And this is Rebel, my new pup. He's a Siberian husky nearly 10 weeks old, and he's a little charmer. Over the last year or so of his life, my dad and I used to joke about me getting a puppy, and him taking care of it — a thought he used to respond to by saying, "Michael, I can't take of myself. I can't take care of a puppy." But he was very supportive of the idea for me after he died. So a short while after his death in January, I went on the hunt for a pup, and here he is.

As I watch Rebel goof around and play and waddle over to me in that "so cute you wanna' eat them" way puppies walk around, I got to thinking what a splendid example they are of the love of God — a manifestation of His loving simplicity. Saint Thomas More once said, "God made the angels to show Him splendor, as He made animals for innocence and plants for their simplicity. But Man He made to serve Him wittily, in the tangle of his mind." Is there anything more innocent bopping around than a puppy dog? All they live for is to make you happy. But the last thought from St. Sir Thomas bears a little further examination, especially in light of the so-called New Atheism.

Man He made to serve Him wittily, in the tangle of his mind. Indeed, He did. Here is where atheism completely falls apart and looking at a loving puppy is all you need to destroy atheism's insanity. Atheism necessarily by definition reduces man to a mere machine of the cosmos — a physical warehouse of some material organs and DNA and fluids with a somewhat more advanced brain than other species unless you're a liberal. Whatever "order" there might be to the universe is mere chance according to them, and since it is chance, it can disappear just as easily as it appeared. It has to be chance because admitting that something outside of the universe brought order to it would be admitting of a supreme being.

There really is, for the atheist, no rhyme or reason for anything when all is said and done which brings us to this little guy here. If atheism is true, why would humans be in awe and mesmerized over a furry little puppy? Kids are fascinated with them and want to play with them and establish some kind of little-kid, little-doggie relationship — why? Adults almost universally are captivated by them and recognize a sweetness in them, the innocence that St. Thomas spoke of — why? Why would human creatures have the capacity to behold something in awe, to appreciate beauty or sweetness?

No other animals, which according to atheists is all we can possibly be, respond like this. No other animal looks at a sunset and is held spellbound by it or looks out over the vastness of the ocean and is moved in their soul by the beauty and vastness of it. Other creatures don't write poetry, they don't compose beautiful melodies to express some inner something. Yet, atheists insist that all this is mere chance and meaningless, something determined randomly with no significance whatsoever because there is no real significance to anything.

Not so, says the Catholic Church, not so. All the capacities we have as humans — wonder, awe, stillness, meditation — are all placed in us by God to find Him through His creation. The work of art always reflects something of the artist but beyond that, so too does the ability of the observer to reflect on the work, to think about it, to be moved by it, to appreciate it. Animals do not "appreciate" sunsets or music or even their own lovability. They are completely blind to such things. But we can and do.

This little fellow has some instinctual awareness that he is safe and grows in that awareness each day. He has instinctually identified me as his alpha and is learning to respond accordingly, and hopefully, when his little puppy bladder gets to be a good size, he will respond much better. That's what he sees when he looks at me. But when I look at him, I see much more because we humans have the capacity to see things beyond their mere physical material presence — why atheists, why? Why should we be able to consider beauty and be moved by it in our emotions? Why do we laugh and love and cry? Are we not just mere machines in your godless cosmos? And if we are something more than mere material beings with no real souls, then how would that be possible? How would a soul come into existence? How would the "mechanisms" of the soul be established, for example, the ability to recognize and respond to beauty?

To bring it all home, how is it possible that a slightly advanced animal like myself can look at a lower animal and take pleasure in its existence and see it as a source of joy? How am I even capable of experiencing joy in the first place? What purpose does joy serve in a mechanistic cosmos? Rebel has an answer to all that because the God who created him created him for this purpose — to show innocence. And that which is innocent elicits joy and wonder from humans.

Life is nowhere near as complicated for Catholics as it is for atheists. So many questions for them, with no real answers. Rebel and I are gonna' go enjoy each other. Atheists can be left to what for them is a meaningless existence. We hope they find the meaning though. Maybe, they should get a puppy.

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