An Atheist’s Favorite Saint – Maximilian Kolbe


As a child I remember become extremely excited when my grandmother offered to take me to the Marytown Shrine in Chicago. St. Maximilian Kolbe was my idol growing up as a young God-fearing child, and I even chose him as my confirmation saint (Yes I am a confirmed Catholic, I laugh at it too).

But what was it that made Maximilian Kolbe so attractive to me? He was probably even one of the people that contributed to my atheism!

"Take me instead, for I am only a Catholic Priest"

Maximilian Kolbe was at a Concentration camp when a prisoner escaped, since he was not found the Nazi’s killed one of every ten prisoners left in the cell the man escaped from. When a man that was chosen to die cried out that he had a wife and children at home, Maximilian stepped up, not out of religious fear of the Lord, but out of compassion and humility. Maximilian offered his own life instead of the man with children.

As a secularist I believe Maximilian Kolbe, although unknown to most non-Catholics, was one of the greatest men of the 20th century.

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4 Responses to An Atheist’s Favorite Saint – Maximilian Kolbe

  1. p2alm says:

    interesting. how did his actions contribute to you becoming an atheist?

  2. The Artifex says:

    It’s vital to keep in mind that Kolbe’s actions were not solely motivated by his compassion and humility. The type of compassion and humility he exemplified is a direct result of his formation as a Catholic and Christian, particularly its emphasis on the power and importance of redemptive suffering and sacrifice.

    Intentional, willful self-sacrifice is not uncommon in the lives of Catholic saints. It is uncommon in the extreme elsewhere.

  3. eideard says:

    Intentional, willful self-sacrifice is not uncommon in the lives of many people dedicated to a struggle for the liberation of their fellow human beings, their nation, their culture.

    Standing up to repression brings out a lot of bravery.

  4. You’re a terrific writer, Ethan. I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts.

    Blair Adams

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