March 21, 2016

An atheist is a person who does not believe in God. An agnostic is one who holds the view that God is unknown, probably unknowable.

In his 1974 book The Desert is Fertile, Archbishop Don Helder Camara of Olinda and Recife in northeast Brazil mentions two kinds of atheists. One does not believe in God, has no need, neither in thoughts or actions.

The militant aggressive kind reject the humanly created "made in the image and likeness of men" God. They are however, concerned with the human person, liberation and development. Many of them love truth, justice and peace, are willing to serve and give. They are generous human beings.

"An atheist humanist," the archbishop wrote, "can be of the greatest help to the Abrahamic minorities as an example of the gift of time and reputation for the cause of justice on the way to peace."

Rejecting a God made in the image and likeness of men may not mean that these atheists reject a primal energy force, the spirit, who creates, nurtures and sustains all creation.

In the Gospels of Matthew 10.50 and Mark 3.35, Jesus says anyone who does the will of God is my brother, sister, mother. Atheists, according to Helder Camara, are doing God's work.

Are Christians who believe that Jesus is God agnostic? Elaine Pagels in her 1979 book the Gnostic Gospels writes: "Orthodox Jews and Christians insist that a chasm separates humanity from its creator."

In the St. Vital Parish bulletin in Beaumont on Feb. 7, Pope Francis says, "It is not easy to entrust oneself to God's mercy, because it is an abyss beyond our comprehension. All the better. Go to Jesus."

Christians who believe that Jesus is God, are they agnostics?

John Kloster
Edmonton