I just read an interesting article in America by Daniel Polish, titled When a Little Belief if Not a Bad Thing. It talks about the dangers of certainty, that is, of thinking one is capable of fully understanding God’s motives or plans, and of the value of humility and living “with a God we cannot fully understand, whose actions we explain at our own peril.”
Polish also speaks of a useful “face of atheism,” one he draws from a story about Yisrael Meir Kagan of Radun, a leader of European Jewish Orthodoxy at the beginning of the 2oth Century. Challenging the teacher’s claim that there was a purpose of everything in God’s creation, one of his students asked, “What can be the purpose of atheism.” The teacher responded, “so that when you see a person who is in need, you shouldn’t pass them by, believing that God will take care of them.” Polish calls this a life-affirming atheism.
Augustine expressed a similiar thought: Pray as though everythign depended on God and act as if everything depended on you. Not a bad way to live our lives.