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Atheism for Lent

Updated: Mar 13

What does mysticism really mean? It means the way to attain knowledge. It's close to philosophy, except in philosophy you go horizontally while in mysticism you go vertically.

- Elie Wiesel

One of the Lenten offerings at Ascension this year is Atheism for Lent. Many have participated in the readings and reflections, as well as our sessions each Wednesday evening. It seeks intellectual enrichment and paradigm-shifting and offers personal transformation. During the first week, we heard various philosophical rationales for the existence of God. In the second week, we heard critiques of these rationales.

As we gathered to discuss these writings and reflections, we shared what resonated with us most and where we struggled. This process helps us understand our faith and how we see God, as well as opens our minds to what others think or object to about these approaches to understanding God. It becomes clear that every philosophical or intellectual pursuit is lacking and that thinking alone cannot provide a clear concept of God. Perhaps this is the best a theist can offer in response to a devout atheist. 

This week, we moved past the initial arguments for God and into critiques of the critiques. In particular, we heard from those who are often identified as mystics. One of the best-known mystics is Meister Eckhart, whose writings and sermons are still widely available. Eckhart suggests we consider an understanding of God as a reality beyond being. He offers a radical message of living "without why," and in this letting go, of finding ourselves in God and God in ourselves.

I hope that sharing this helps you connect with what Atheism for Lent is about. It’s not too late to join us or have a conversation with those participating to hear about their experience with the material and the discussions we’ve had. 


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