The general failure of the spiritual disciplines to focus on studies pertaining to G-d has dimmed the conception of G-d; there is no rational service of G-d sustained by refined feelings. The outward fear, the natural faith and the feeling of lowliness remain in many hearts as an inheritance from earlier epochs when the divine perception and feeling were prevalent in an enlightened state in full force, when, because of their greatness, they naturally evoked humility from people.
Since the thoughts concerning G-d in their basic elements are unclear, G-d’s being, as conceived by the multitude and even by individuals who should be their leaders, is that of a ruthless power from whom there is no escape and to whom one must necessarily be subservient. No grandeur of G-d is then manifest in the soul, but only the lowliness of wild imaginings that conjure up a form of some deceptive, vague, angry god that is dissociated from reality. It confuses everyone who believes in it, depresses his spirit, blunts his feelings, inhibits the assertion of his sensibilities, and uproots the divine glory in his soul. If such a person should repeat all day that this faith is the faith in the unity of G-d, his statement would be empty, and it would register nothing in his soul. Every sensitive spirit must turn his mind away from this. And this is the atheism which is due to arise prior to the messianic liberation, when the knowledge of G-d is due to run dry in the household of Israel—and in the entire world.