De Lubac traces the origin of 19th century attempts to construct a humanism apart from God, the sources of contemporary atheism which purports to have "moved beyond God." The three persons he focuses on are Feuerbach, who greatly influenced Marx; Nietzsche, who represents nihilism; and Comte, who is the father of all forms of positivism. He then shows that the only one who really responded to this ideology was Dostoevsky, a kind of prophet who criticizes in his novels this attempt to have a society without God. Despite their historical and scholarly appearance, de Lubac's work clearly refers to the present. As he investigates the sources of modern atheism, particularly in its claim to have definitely moved beyond the idea of God, he is thinking of an ideology prevalent today in East and West which regards the Christian faith as a completely outdated.
Henri de Lubac, S. J., was considered as one of the most important theologians of the twentieth century. Together with the works of other towering modern theologians (and friends) Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) and Hans Urs von Balthasar, the writings of de Lubac stand out as crucial to twentieth-century Catholicism. Among his other famous books are Catholicism: Christ and the Common Destiny of Man, The Splendor of the Church, The Christian Faith, The Drama of Atheist Humanism, and The Motherhood of the Church.