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On the Meaning of Contemporary Atheism

  • Jacques Maritain


I Should like to consider in this essay one particular aspect of the present spiritual crisis—namely, contemporary atheism and its inner meaning, Such a topic, the meaning of contemporary atheism, involves very deep and intricate problems. I do not pretend to dogmatize about them; the views that I shall offer are somewhat tentative views, which originate in a desire to look for the hidden spiritual significance of the present agony of the world.

In an introductory part I shall try, first, to analyze briefly the various kinds of atheism we might have to deal with, in order to characterize more accurately contemporary atheism.



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* This essay was delivered at Notre Dame on March 23, 1949 as a part of a celebration of the tenth anniversary of THE REVIEW OF POLITICS.

1 A New Approach to God, in our Emergent Civilization, edited by Anshen, Ruth Nanda (New York: Harpers, 1947), p. 292.

2 Ibid., pp. 291–292.

3 Ibid., pp. 291–292.

4 Math., X, 39.

* St. Justin said: “We are called atheists. And yes we confess it, we are the atheists of those so-called gods.”

5 Matt. VI, 34.

6 Cf. New Approach to God, pp. 292, 294.

On the Meaning of Contemporary Atheism

  • Jacques Maritain


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