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  • Writer's pictureLES HENSON

Planting Flowers Between the Cracks

Les Henson

Julian Barnes, the former post child of exclusive secularism, wrote in Chapter 6 of his book, Nothing to Be Frightened Of that:

“If I called myself an atheist at twenty, and an agnostic at fifty and sixty, it isn’t because I have acquired more knowledge in the meantime: just more awareness of ignorance. How can we be sure that we know enough to know? As twenty-first-century neo-Darwinian materialists, convinced that the meaning and mechanism of life have only been fully clear since the year 1859, we hold ourselves categorically wiser than those credulous kneebenders who, a speck of time away, believed in divine purpose, an ordered world, resurrection and a Last Judgement. But although we are more informed, we are no more evolved, and certainly no more intelligent than them. What convinces us that our knowledge is so final?“

Unlike the dogmatic New Atheists, Barnes is more uncertain of his certainties, so much so that in the first sentence of this book, he begins by stating that, “I don’t believe in God, but I miss Him.” Finding a void in the immanent world of radical humanism, he finds himself living with the ghosts of transcendence, which he can’t entirely brush off. As people of faith, we are called to plant beautiful flowers between the cracks of the concrete pavement of exclusive secularism, for ranting against it is of no avail. Instead, we must live in the light of the God who is both immanent and transcendent planting beautiful flowers as we go.

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