I never cease to be amazed at people’s inventiveness with what to “give up” for Lent. Merold Westphal, distinguished professor of philosophy at Fordham University, advocates trying (rather than giving up) something a little more unusual for Lent: atheism.
Before you run for the tar and feathers, what Westphal is really getting at is that the critiques against religion levelled by the “masters of suspicion” (the would be Freud, Marx and Nietzsche) are often right on the money. And instead of fighting against these atheists, we believers should use the occasion of their critique to turn from our idolatries (they are many!) to God in repentance and contrition.
The “hermeneutics of suspicion” used by these three thinkers will be making up one of the chapters in my thesis, and Westphal’s article here is a great summary of this theme. Go on and read Atheism for Lent at The Other Journal (and look around a bit while you’re there.)