“We live in an unbelieving age but one which is markedly and lopsidedly spiritual. There is one type of modern man who recognizes spirit in himself but who fails to recognize a being outside himself whom he can adore as Creator and Lord; consequently he has become his own ultimate concern. He says with Swinburne, “Glory to man in the highest, for he is the master of things,” or with Steinbeck, “In the end was the word and the word was with men.” For him, man has his own natural spirit of courage and dignity and pride and must consider it a point of honor to be satisfied with this. There is another type of modern man who recognizes a divine being not himself, but who does not believe that this being can be known anagogically or defined dogmatically or received sacramentally. Spirit and matter are separated for him. Man wanders about, caught in a maze of guilt he can’t identify, trying to reach a God he can’t approach, a God powerless to approach him. And there is another type of modern man who can neither believe nor contain himself in unbelief and who searches desperately, feeling about in all experience for the lost God.” ― Flannery O’Connor, Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose

“It is this kind of consciousness, exacerbated to an extreme, which has made inevitable the so called “death of God.” Cartesian thought began with an attempt to reach God as object by starting from the thinking self. But when God becomes object, he sooner or later “dies,” because God as object is ultimately unthinkable. God as object is not only a mere abstract concept, but one which contains so many internal contradictions that it becomes entirely nonnegotiable except when it is hardened into an idol that is maintained in existence by a sheer act of will. For a long time man continued to be capable of this willfulness: but now the effort has become exhausting and many Christians have realised it to be futile. Relaxing the effort, they have let go the “God-object” which their fathers and grandfathers still hoped to manipulate for their own ends. Their weariness has accounted for the element of resentment which made this a conscious “murder” of the deity. Liberated from the strain of willfully maintaining an object-God in existence, the Cartesian consciousness remains none the less imprisoned in itself. Hence the need to break out of itself and to meet “the other” in “encounter,” “openness,” “fellowship,” “communion”.” ― Thomas Merton, Zen and the Birds of Appetite