Why Our Invisible Friend Really Is Invisible, Our Friend And RealAug 27, 2014
I once was taunted at a pro-life vigil by a pro-abortion supporter, who literally got within inches of my face and vehemently taunted me about "the tooth fairy Jesus." I wasn't as much shocked by the "tooth fairy" comments — I'd heard the "invisible friend" taunt before, albeit more civilly — as I was by his aggressive agitation. I couldn't understand — and still don't — why such a young person (he looked to be college age) who had so much in front of him would have such anger about another's beliefs. If man is the be all and end all, as atheists believe, shouldn't he be full of joy? He should've beeb living the dream. I often think about that moment as I've heard, and heard of, similar taunts since then. I thought of it again recently when reading a superb exposition on the subject of the popular atheist "invisible friend" taunt by Father Robert Barron — the founder of Word On Fire Ministries, the rector of Mundelein Seminary and the host of Catholicism, the groundbreaking series PBS (of all networks) aired a couple of years ago.
Father Barron agrees with the atheists to a point. God is our friend and most certainly is invisible, but atheists misunderstand invisibility. Rather than it being a fairy tale crutch for infantile minds, God's invisibility begins to explain His eternal majesty. Note the word "begins" because humans cannot begin to fully comprehend Divine Mystery.
As Father Barron explains, anyone can see that the combination of two pairs of fruit makes four pieces of fruit. That is plainly visible. But the concept of addition is invisible. It's where . . .
you have moved out of the empirical realm and into a properly invisible order, which is more pure and absolute than anything that the senses could take in.
Atheists mistakenly make out God to be a supreme being . . .
within or alongside the universe. The true God is the non-contingent ground of the contingent universe, the reason there is something rather than nothing, the ultimate explanation for why the world should exist at all. Accordingly, he is not a being, but rather, as Thomas Aquinas put it, ipsum esse subsistens, the sheer act of to be itself. Thomas goes so far as to say that God cannot be placed in any genus, even in that most generic of genera, namely, being. But all of this must imply God’s invisibility. Whatever can be seen is, ipso facto, a being, a particular state of affairs, and hence something that can be placed in a genus, compared with other finite realities, etc. The visible is, by definition, conditioned — and God is the unconditioned. ... The invisible God is he whose reality transcends and includes whatever perfection can be found in creatures, since he himself is the source and ground of creatureliness in all its manifestations. Anything other than an invisible God would be a conditioned thing and hence utterly unworthy of worship.
Worship is one thing, but how does that translate into friendship? A Divine Majesty certainly does not require friendship, especially of such inferior beings. However, God's creation of us and his creations for us are proof of love his love for us. Since love is friendship, God is our friend. This is set forth from the beginning, in Genesis, where He found His creation "good." Reflecting that goodness and friendship back to God requires that . . .
the role of human beings within God’s good creation is to be the image of God, which is to say, the viceroy of the Creator, reflecting the divine goodness into the world and channeling the world’s praise back to God. In a word, human beings are meant to be the friends of God par excellence.
So, yes, God is invisible, He is our friend, but He's no fairytale. Speaking of atheists, I found this CNN interview with prominent former atheist blogger, Leah Libresco, who became Catholic two years ago. An even better explanation of the faults of atheist mind and its faults in the posts "Spirit Of Man" and "Spirit Of Man, Afterthought."