How Does an Atheist Society Prepare to Meet Its God?

Our axiomatic systems orient us in the world and regulate our emotions. So when something axiomatically impossible happens, people are going to scramble to find reasons that don't require a retooling of their world view. It's no wonder, because they're avoiding, in archetypal terms, an involuntary descent to the underworld, even to hell. That's also why people fight so hard to protect not only their belief systems, but also their social systems. 

Often that means accusing someone else. Because then they have to change, not you. 

A world-view adjustment is a major revolution. And you may not recover from it. It just might do you in. Or maybe you're chronically depressed. And so when you dig down and you have to restructure those axioms, not only do you have to encounter the unknown as such, which is no joke, but you may also have to discover your own malevolence. 

It's no wonder people turn away from that. It's not surprising at all.

Jordan Peterson, from the documentary "Hoaxed"


The history of [modern philosophy] begins with Descartes, who split thought from existence, and identified existence with reason itself: “cogito, ergo sum” (“I think, therefore, I am”).

How different from the approach of St. Thomas,  for whom it is not thought that determines existence, but existence, “esse” that determines thought!”

John Paul II 1


Once I walked past a group of kids draped across their yard on a hot summer day. 

One boy called out to me for $5 so they could afford bus fare to the public pool. The boy sitting next to him shoved him to tell him to shut-up.

How could even a miserly skinflint reject such a request? 

It was a low price to pay for the expressions of joy and disbelief that spread across their faces as they ran across the yard toward me. 

This wasn't the sort of neighborhood I was heading into. 


I've spent a fair amount of time in a certain sort of solidly upper middle class home.

The kitchen always has an island, and it's sometimes adjacent to a great room, maybe with a piano, and a separate alcove for secreting the microwave. In one, the refrigerator had an enormous poster with “use less plastics” drawn in gigantic kiddie-letters that would startled me every time I glanced in its direction, because it looked more like “Ulysses.”

They all have at least three bathrooms: the powder bathroom with chair-railing and a free-standing sink vanity, the kids bathroom, which is usually kind of a mess, with a fun colorful shower curtain, and the master bathroom, built more like a 1,400 square foot in-house spa. 

First, you walk past the his-and-hers vanities, where each of them has spread out as they please. Then are the separate walk-in closets, each larger than most bedrooms, stuffed with barely-worn Tory Burch and Graham and Spencer. The bathing area usually has some sort of destination bathtub, and an open shower with one simple glass panel.

Some decor is minimalist, with lots of black fixtures and white towels. Some go for a more gaudy look, with marble countertops and bright gold fixtures. Others are going for the shabby chic aesthetic: reclaimed wood and doorknobs, and lacquered brass towel racks.

And finally, you arrive at the inner chamber: the toilet. Some of have bidet toilet seats (I had no idea what these even were until I saw one in one of these homes!) and, as these are the sort of people who shouldn't have to smell one another's excrement, some even have separate his-and-hers water closets.

“Hers” is identifiable because it's cutsified. One had an adorable elephant painted above the toilet paper holder. And, for anyone wondering whether having your very own pot to piss on provides utter peace and serenity, her toilet reading was the book, Happiness is an Inside Job. 

I've cared for these people's children. 

Played with them. 

Fed them. One morning, a mother pulled a box of mac n' cheese down from the cupboard. 

“Just give them this for lunch,” she said before she hurried out the door. 

“I'm not doing this,” the boy grunted a few hours later when I placed an enormous plateful of pasta covered in a white cheddar sauce before him. 

“We're trying to get him over this,” she explained later. “We'll put food in front of him, and he'll say 'I didn't order this.' I mean, I was never raised like that.” 

And since the public school down the street isn't good enough for these people, I also schlepped the kids across town. 

Outside of participating in extracurriculars and getting good grades, there's not a lot expected of these kids. They spend afternoons vegging in some sort of rec room, soaking in screen time.

And over the course of the formative years of their lives, the period of which St. Ignatius says “Give me the child and I'll show you the man,” they learn not a whit about God. 


Unquestioned, implicit atheism amongst the solidly upper middle class isn't a new phenomenon. 

Seventy years ago, in the encyclical Anna Sacri, Pope Pius XII assessed the situation: 

On the part of not a few, religion is passed by as a thing of no importance, and elsewhere absolutely prohibited in family and social life as a remnant of ancient superstitions; public and private atheism is exalted in such a way that God and His law are being abolished, and morals no longer have any foundation. The Press also too often vulgarly reviles religious feeling...

John Paul II marks the beginnings of modern materialism with Descartes in the 1600s. 

Over a century later, proponents of his rationalistic world view, fighting in the The French Revolution, “tossed crucifixes into the streets, (and) introduced the cult of the goddess of Reason...man was to live by his reason alone, as if God did not exist.”2  

And now, 400 years later, we are entirely submissive to this goddess. She informs every facet of so many people's lives to the point that atheism has become a social force. 

And these people are very fabric of our society: they are the doctors, the lawyers, the CPAs, the leaders of companies. 

So what happens when this fabric is torn in two?


The Blessed Virgin Mary has widely propagated an incident she's calling “The Warning”, or “The Illumination,” wherein everyone's soul, in the space of 15 minutes or so, will be illuminated, and they will understand everything they've ever done to offend God. We’ll have a brief glimpse at the window of our soul. 

She talked about this explicitly at Garabandal, Spain, in the 1960s, where she appeared to four girls in the 1960s. In Medjugorje, Bosnia, where she's been appearing since the 80s, the visionaries recount her telling them about a “great event that will shake the world, cause the world to stop and think,” and that “for those who do not believe, they have no idea what awaits them.”

When will this take place? 

“Soon,” she tells us. More specifically, she says the Warning is to happen when the world reverts to communism. Which, to anyone licking their finger and testing the direction of the political and social winds, is the direction we're sailing to rather quickly.  


This kind of all-encompassing judgment will be a lot for anyone to palate. Proverbs 24:16 points out that “the just man falls seven times.” Seven symbolizes an indefinite number.

To have the all gritty details of an entire lifetime of failures revealed in the space of a few minutes; to appreciate that the window of our soul not only isn't see-through, but that it's crusted over with calcified dirt; is a sucker punch that will leave the best of us clutching our stomachs, gasping for air. 

(What do you think God will call us out on? I mean, specifically? 

The seven deadly sins: greed, lust, anger, envy, pride, sloth, gluttony? Fornication, contraception? A failure to practice the spiritual and corporal works of mercy: feeding the hungry, burying the dead, bearing wrongs patiently? 

In his Confessions, St. Augustine recounted that one of the worst things he ever did was to shake a pear tree. It was thievery driven by the sheer joy of doing what was forbidden, not by any genuine need. 

I had no wish to enjoy the things I coveted by stealing, but only to enjoy the theft itself and the sin. There was a pear-tree near our vineyard, loaded with fruit...late one night a band of ruffians, myself included, went off to shake down the fruit and carry it away...our real pleasure consisted in doing something that was forbidden. 3

To my way of thinking, it seemed more like the everyday actions of a parcel of mischievous boys. But who am I to judge?

Another way to get at what the Warning might consist of is to ask: What are the most hurtful things done to you? 

For me, I'd say they're mostly characterized by indifference; that is, they're things that people haven't done, or have done without even realizing it. 

If this is the case, and if God calls us out for a litany of things we never even suspected of in ourselves, then the Warning will deliver a blow like a 2x4 across the head on an otherwise calm and peaceful day. How could we not cower at the pain of it? 

As Revelations 6:15-17 puts it: 

The kings of the earth, the nobles, the military officers, the rich, the powerful, and every slave and free person hid themselves in caves and among mountain crags. They cried out to the mountains the rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sit on the throne and from the wrath of their Lamb, because the great day of their wrath has come and who can withstand it.')

But what about those for whom a God made incarnate in a manger in Bethlehem, born to a Virgin, is nothing but a ridiculous and irrelevant myth? 

How will they react when God sits them down and presents them with the most confrontational, no holds barred performance evaluation they've ever received? 

And it isn't a favorable one?


A Paradigm Shattered

Jordan Peterson fleshes out the reaction any of us has when our axiomatic systems are challenged. Breaking down what he has to say provides a glimpse into what awaits all of us in the aftermath of the Illumination of Conscience. 

“You may not recover from it. It just might do you in.”

With the Warning, we'll come to an immediate about face understanding of our lives, and see our souls as God sees them. The shock of this revelation will be more than some can bear. 

In the immediate aftermath, people will jump off bridges, and as Christine Watkins reports, some will perish immediately from strokes and heart attacks. 

For those who survive the first 24 hours or so, all the psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists and spiritual directors in the world, working full time, couldn't come close to assuaging the trauma, confusion, and despair people will be going through. 

Just like Revelations Chapter 6 says, people will be calling out to the rocks to cover and protect them. 

It will be something behold, and it will not be pretty. 

“Scramble to find reasons that don't require a retooling of their world view.”

To the atheist and the agnostic, the Warning will be akin to receiving a lucid, harsh message from Santa Claus. It will be beyond preposterous. 

Add to it that many of these people have no reason to think their lives could get any closer to fine. They have nice kids, a nice house, and have developed a profession that contributes to society. They're super responsible with money. From a sheer materialistic point of view, their lives are exemplary.  Who could possibly challenge them? 

For these people, accepting the grace of the Warning won't just be a struggle: it will be nearly impossible to do so. 

As Peterson says: 

When you dig down and you have to restructure those axioms, not only do you have to encounter the unknown as such, which is no joke, but you may also have to discover your own malevolence. It's no wonder people turn away from that. It's not surprising at all. 

In the same way that “Russian interference” stories sprang up immediately after Trump's “impossible” presidential victory, we shouldn't be surprised at the emergence of “totally plausible” explanations and arguments that dismiss the Warning as complete hogwash.

Overlooking all the prophecies of the Warning given by saints, mystics, and the Blessed Virgin going back centuries, these arguments, in essence, will say that strange unexplainable things happen sometimes, and in the same way that your keys might end up on the back porch when you know you left them in the kitchen, you just need to ignore the Warning and move on with things. 

Scientists will have proof that the Warning is nothing but a freak, natural phenomenon. 

Spiritualists and moral leaders will prove that the Warning couldn't have come from God, using arguments such as “a god who loves you could never make you feel bad.” 

Even though these arguments will be utterly banal, for many they will be highly persuasive, as it's very easy to persuade someone of something that they want to believe. 

It's really a very tragic state that many people will find themselves in (which is no doubt why the BVM is calling on people to pray and fast before the Illumination). They'll have no context in which to process this profound spiritual experience, this intimate revelation from their own Creator! 

And so faced with the alternatives of being tossed around in a raging sea of confusion without any life vest, or clinging to some flimsy and easily rebuked argument, they will choose the latter. 

Not a few leaders in society, i.e. movie stars, and I would wager a few priests, will be vocal in this anti-Warning movement. 

And a movement it will indeed be--with the power of state on its side. 

“Often that means accusing someone else. Because then they have to change, not you.”

At the same time as people write off the Warning, a whole lot of people will embrace it wholeheartedly, and realize the conversion God calls them to. A passionate, united front will emerge, intent on realizing a society founded on the Beatitudes and the conditions of Christian discipleship outlined in Matthew 25.

However, the people who “simply cannot” accept the Warning, for whom it is axiomatically impossible, will want complete justification for their position. This outspoken Christian contingent will pose a very personal threat: it will challenge the very foundation of their lives. 

In the same way that Herodias wanted John the Baptist beheaded for condemning her marriage, they will want Christians purged from their midst. 

It's important to remember that the Warning will occur after a world-wide shift to communism. This shift will be the fruit of centuries of preparation. It will be met with huge, world-wide resistance. And so the state will be precarious and watchful of anyone who might threaten it.

A contingent of newly converted Christians, who’ve recently received a personal revelation from their God, will seriously threaten a state founded on principles of atheism and materialism. 

Just as Herod wanted to kill the Christ child who threatened his power, the state will want to rid society of Christians who seek its demise. 

Both the state, then, and a large powerful group of the population will want Christianity annihilated.

They'll probably create all sorts of propaganda depicting Christians as being “dangerous to society.” In order to assuage those they can't totally brainwash, they may well create some sort of quasi-Church, as the Communists have done in China, that eviscerates the fundamental characteristics of Catholicism. 

And there will probably be some sort of severe persecution of Christians, including physical persecution. 

“A world-view adjustment is a major revolution.” 

The Warning won't be easy for anyone. But for many, the graces will fall on fertile soil. 

It will mark a pivotal moment in the Great Awakening.

These newly energized Christians will be out to destroy the state, so at some point they’ll assume political form. 

(In essence, this movement will represent the Church. However, I doubt this “little flock” (Luke 12:32) will be either of, or supported by, the Vatican. For reasons that I outlined in another post, the “official” Church has become pagan in essence, and so the true Church has become an external flock.)

But again, this Christian movement will have strong opposition, as it will look like an uprising to the quasi-communist powers that be.

In short, the Warning will bring about massive conflict within society. 


And so, if things do in fact play out as the prophecies say, we have a tough row to hoe in the years ahead. 

The Warning won't jibe with axiomatic systems founded on sheer rationalism and atheism, and so it will hit our society like oil hitting a really hot pan.

Although the Warning will tear at the fabric of society, it will very much be in a “things must get worse before they can get better” kind of a way.

For many, it will mark a pivotal shift in a return to the world-view Aquinas professed, where being determines thought. 

After centuries of living a lie, we'll move closer toward becoming people engaged with the reality of the Incarnation.

1 John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope. Vatican City, Alfred Knopf, 1994, page 38. 2John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope. Vatican City, Alfred Knopf, 1994, page 52-3.

3 St. Augustine of Hippo, The Confessions, year 397, Chapter II, iv.


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