I know a man who is a professed atheist. His atheism arose from his exposure to unspeakable evils perpetrated against children, and from his inability to reconcile what he saw with what he understands to be “God.”
He is also a man of extraordinary character and integrity, who genuinely seeks truth and has not rejected God out of a self-indulgent ideology or an arrogant refusal to be open to truth.
This feast today opens for us that mysterious truth that, even when the innocence of childhood is violated, God is not absent, but remains near. God weeps in the grief-stricken mothers, dies in the slain Innocents, and, himself a Child, cries out to his Father with needful tears that He recreate this fallen world that has grown old in sin.
I pray that this atheist will one day see that his deepest outrage over such unspeakable injustice is shared by God, the God who subjected his own innocence to our guilty malice that He might heal us and restore our lost innocence.
Someone who declares himself as being an atheist can be, potentially, much closer to God than I who appear to be, and I’m God’s representative. The borders between good and evil are found in our heart. It depends from which one our heart takes its force from each time.
– Anastasios, Archbishop of Tirana, Durrës