Whoever is not with me…
Luke 11: 14-23
I am not sure that atheism is as great a problem as many think. I think the question is not so much “Do you believe in God?” as “What god do you believe in?” Perhaps, as Thomas Merton suggests, the greatest sin is idolatry, because it puts a false god in place of the true God and we do not ally ourselves with the God of Life.
The great sin, the source of all other sin, is idolatry and never has it been greater, more prevalent, than now. Yet it is almost completely unrecognized precisely because it is so overwhelming and so total. It takes in everything. There is nothing else left. Fetishism of power, machines, possession, medicines, sports, clothes, etc., all kept going by greed for money and power. The bomb is only one accidental aspect of the cult. Indeed, the bomb is not the worst. We should be thankful for it as a sign, a revelation of what all the rest of our civilization points to. The self-immolation of man to his own greed and his own despair. And behind it all are the principalities and powers whom man serves in this idolatry.
Thomas Merton, April 17, 1965