The Tragedy of God Not Existing
Ideas Have Consequences
Recently while reading Talking With Your Kids About God by Natasha Crain, I was convinced that an apologist should not only argue for God’s existence but also show why God makes a difference. People don’t argue about God’s existence in a vacuum. Their beliefs affect the whole of their lives. When we argue about whether or not God exists there is much at stake.
There are three things in particular that I think we lose when we lose God.
Many atheists will admit that they only have subjective meaning in life. In some cases, they even say the subjective meaning is better than having ultimate meaning. At an event, I’ve heard an atheist say that subjective meaning is like pizza. You enjoy eating it and then you’re done. The fact that it was only enjoyed temporarily doesn’t mean it wasn’t good.
This acceptance of subjective meaning troubles me. Say a person decides their meaning in life is to have a family and enjoy a peaceful, quiet life. That’s a perfectly fine thing to want, but what happens when they don’t get it? What if their family dies? What if their wife runs away with all the money and the kids despise him? What reason is there to live if their subjective meaning doesn’t pan out?
Also, I think most people really aren’t content with subjective meaning. Why does everyone want to make an impact? A difference? Or be remembered? Because we long for a meaning that is greater than any temporary meaning we can create.
Without God, there is no way a person can ever honestly say “you should.” “You should love your neighbor.” “You should give to the poor.” “You shouldn’t hate others.” How can you say these things without God? Some say we derive morals from society, but what happens when societies disagree? If morals are societal, we have no right to denounce a Hitler. Frank Turek oftentimes brings up the example that courts have convicted Nazi’s saying they should have upheld basic human rights despite what their government was telling them to do. In order for objective morals to exist, we need a Holy, creator God in whose nature we find those morals.
Atheists probably give up freewill even more quickly than meaning and morality. I could quote so many prominent atheists who say there is no human free will, my favorite of which is Dr. William Provine who would emphatically say “you can’t hope for there being any free will.”
When free will is lost, morality and meaning mean even less. How can you be responsible for a crime you couldn’t help but commit? What meaning is there to your relationships and accomplishments if you didn’t actually have any choice in the matter?
I’ll admit there are plenty of intelligent atheists who make rigorous arguments attempting to defend their meaning, morality, and free will. I am convinced that they cannot have these things, but even if they could, the atheist has to admit that their worldview naturally lends itself to a universe devoid of these things.
If God didn’t exist, billions of humans will have lived for no meaning, followed morals that didn’t really matter, and will have lived a lie thinking they were free. That would be a tragedy.