Michael Novak writes, “I do wish our atheist brothers and sisters would learn a little more than they now know about the profound and thoughtful sorts of believers that surround them, by the millions.”
Me too. I’m always a little taken aback when someone attacks religion because life can prove painful and unjust or because prayers often go unanswered, as if believers simply hadn’t noticed. Praying in Gethsemane, for example, Jesus himself offers a petition that goes unanswered, asking to be spared the bitter cup of crucifixion. Pain? Injustice? Take a look at the Church calendar. The day after Christmas? The feast of St. Stephen, a blameless man executed by stoning. Two days after that? The feast of the Holy Innocents, the infant males whom Herod had slaughtered.
Pain, injustice, unanswered prayers—these are all difficult problems, obviously. But to suggest that Christianity has failed to grapple with them demonstrates ignorance of the scriptures, of Chrysostom, of Augustine, of Aquinas—of the whole body of Christian thought.