“The Fool Says in his Heart…”
An interesting note: the almost identical duplication of this psalm within the psalter shows the result of some overlapping from two different collections that eventually made it into the book and were not “synchronized” to prevent the repetition.
Fr. Patrick seems to think that “there is no God” refers only to the atheist, who is, in Fr.’s opinion, is the ultimate in foolishness, engaging in the ultimate and voluntary denial of the self-evident God. He “cuts some slack” to the idolaters mentioned in Wisdom 13 and Romans 1, as though they were not cut from the same cloth.
I think, though, that we today deal with idolaters of a different stripe: the idol is now secularism, and it is much more damaging, I think, than pure atheism. The latter vehemently set itself up as the overt enemy of God (and thereby tacitly acknowledged Him), causing the adherents of the Faith to resist it (atheism) more passionately. Secularism, however, says “there is no God” in a much more devious way, I think. Secularism desires to destroy the transcendent One, to say that nothing can surpass the physical world, that nothing is greater than what our senses can show us, and that (and here’s the horrid part), while God may be found, He is not to be seen as above or beyond -- and certainly not as ruling over! -- the physical world. Therefore, by saying that God is not over something, the secularist, while leaving room for the existence of a deity, is, in his idolatry of the material, denying that this deity is a transcendent One -- and yet we know that if God is not God over all, He ceases to be God at all. A more devious thing, therefore, is not merely to say “There is no God,” but rather “there is no God as He Himself proclaims Himself to be, for the latter, though it allows for the presence in our mind of a deity of sorts, makes it a powerless one, one who will not interfere, one who will not break into our tiny, material worlds and shatter our created souls with His fiery Grace.
May we see You as You are; burn away our foolish hearts, O LORD…