“I am my own god. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.” – Charles Bukowski
We live in a society which has dethroned God.
The proof of this we see all around us – in our parliaments and senates, in our schools, colleges and educational institutions, in our homes and families, in our movies and games and, above all, in our hearts.
I am not saying that the world has turned atheist. Quite the contrary – the 20th century was the century of atheism. But now, faith in God is having a resurgence as theist scientists, philosophers and theologians are hitting back against the wave of atheist literature that once dominated the market. One need only look at William Lane Craig and his debates against atheists as prominent as Christopher Hitchens and Lawrence Krauss to see the proof of this. People still believe that God exists, but He has become the existential equivalent of a national flag. One doesn’t obsess or fuss over it or think too much about it, but one is careful to give it the occasional salute. Indeed, one might even have love for it. But at the end of the day, it is just that: a national flag. Religious ceremonies have become just that – rather than the sacramental, life-giving well-spring of sanctification, they have become flag-hoisting ceremonies.
A growing number of people who identify as theists, tend to reject any form of “institutionalized religion”, denying doctrine, dogma and faith. But I will deal with them another time. Today, I want to consider the dogma that there is no God. Today, I invite you to consider the implications of such a worldview, a worldview in which universes pop in and out of being by pure chance and the wonderful tapestry of life is merely the accidental product of random selection that is without purpose or design, in which the wonderful and beautiful reality of love and meaning is reduced to a series of chemical reactions in the brain giving an illusion of beauty that is really not there.
Friends, I invite you to consider the absurdity of a world without God.
If there is no God, there is no objective purpose for your existence or mine. After all, the universe never intendedfor us to come into being – we just simply happened to be. It is like the roll of a dice. There was no guarantee that you would be here, reading this article I wrote. It just happened. You were not meant to be. You were an accident. You have no purpose and no goal. You simply sprang into existence, and in due time, you will be snuffed out forever. You are nothing.
If there is no God, there is no objective basis for the morals we so revere and hold dear. Human beings are fundamentally ethical – nearly every society has had a moral code of conduct. That has not changed. But if atheism is true, then morality is not objective but subjective. While considering the epistemology of morality, we ignore questions of the ontology of morality. My friends, what is morality? If it is merely a human construct, then it is arbitrary and fallible, for human beings are by nature arbitrary and fallible. If it is the invention of men, then it has no intrinsic value, but only imparted value, imparted by each society as it sees fit. If the Nazis came to dominate the world, we would have had a very different society and a very different set of moral codes indeed. There is no objective basis for moral judgments if there is no universal code of conduct that we can hold all men and all societies of all times accountable to. And if there is no God, there is certainly no universal moral code, for then morality would simply be the invention of men, a self-deceiving attempt to convince ourselves that there is meaning when, in fact, there is not.
Consider the words of Nietzsche, when he said: “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?”
If there is no God, then objective morality is a myth, beauty is an illusion and purpose is lost. We are left to our own devices, to construct our own morality (and to hope against hope that we can avoid the cesspool of cultural relativism), to invent our own purposes (and to brainwash ourselves into following them), to somehow deceive ourselves into believing there is beauty when, in fact, there is nothing at all except the great black void which didn’t want us, didn’t make us, doesn’t even know about us, out of which we came out for no reason to all, and into which we shall be dissolved one day, for no reason at all.
To replace God with nothing is to replace the objective with the subjective, the eternal with the temporal, the spiritual with the material, the eschaton with the void.
But if there is a God (as the cosmological, ontological, axiological, teleological and various other arguments seem to indicate), then it surely follows that He had a purpose for generating the world. After all, we have no knowledge of a conscious entity that performs actions for no reason at all – all free-will decisions have a purpose behind them. It is, therefore, reasonable to expect, on the basis of inductive logic, that if an intelligent entity chose to create the world, He had a purpose for doing so. What the purpose is, is for you to discover. But you cannot search for long without coming into what may be a life-changing encounter with The Greatest Story Ever Told.
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