Preparing the Way for the Atheists

“Is it too much of a coincidence that the advance of atheism parallels the retreat of the church on the Trinity? The nineteenth century was the century where Marx dismissed religion as ‘the opium of the people’ and where Nietzsche declared: ‘God is dead.’ And it was the century that opened with its perhaps most eminent theologian, Friedrich Schleiermacher, making the Trinity a mere appendix to the Christian faith; it was the century that closed with his greatest successor, Adolf von Harnack, dismissing the Trinity altogether as a bundle of philosophical rot. Of course, the theologians weren’t feeding the atheists, but they were disarming the church so that the atheists could storm on without meeting much serious opposition. For if God is not a Father, if he has no Son and will have no children, then he must be lonely, distant and unapproachable; if he is not triune and so not essentially loving, then no God at all just looks better.” Michael Reeves, Delighting in the Trinity, p. 110-111.