I was driving to work when I first heard the news of the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas. Two things sprang to mind upon hearing of the heinous actions of Stephen Paddock. First was grief as I prayed for those involved or who lost loved ones. Second was the question, ‘how can things like this happen?’ A few days later, while listening to the news, the father of one of the victims hit the nail on the head. When asked the same question I asked his simple reply said it all, “we live in a godless society.”
Maybe it was the way those words were spoken that had such an impact on me. That father, concerned for his child, answered the question so directly. What came next was almost as shocking. Despite the posts I write, the books I read, and my passion for Christian evidence, that man’s statement hit me like I ton of bricks.
We live in a Godless society.
How many of us have truly stopped and considered the world we live in? Outside of church, how many places can you openly profess and praise God anymore without attracting ridicule or legal action? In his 2006 book, “The god Delusion” British atheist Richard Dawkins states that atheists in America are in fear of ‘coming out’ among an overwhelmingly religious American culture.
Dawkins is so far from the truth it’s almost laughable. Since the nineteenth century, religion in America has been declining. I’m talking of religion in general, not any one particular religion either. Materialism, naturalism, Darwinism, and humanism, have been steadily pushing God out of our society.
As sad as it is, what happened in Las Vegas is just another example of what happens in a world without God. It shocks me to hear atheists and humanists declaring that religious belief is keeping society from true reform. According to them, losing our antiquated views of God is the path to tolerance and open-mindedness.
Am I the only one seeing the obvious inconsistency here?
In the materialistic/naturalistic/Darwinist (I’ll stick with materialistic) worldview what gives life meaning at all? In a theistic universe, life has intrinsic worth because human beings are made in the image of God. God created us, God gives us life, therefore, we ought to treat life with respect.
According to materialists though, you and I are nothing but a random collection of chemicals. And that’s not an over exaggeration either. Here’s what theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss had to say:
“The amazing thing is that every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust.”¹
Is that really what life is all about? A giant cosmic accident? The materialist has boiled mankind down to a freak of nature. Are we really the blind product of time plus matter and chance? How can we be shocked at Stephen Paddock’s utter disregard for human life in a society with such a low view of humanity?
Without God and without objective moral values rooted in something outside the individual, how can we call any act evil? If this truly is a materialistic universe then Stephen Paddock was simply acting according to his evil molecules. I have no right to condemn his actions because I’m reacting according to my religious molecules. Is that really the way it works?
How much does the hate molecule weigh? How many carbon atoms are in the murder molecule?
Those questions are pointless but that’s what we’re being told is responsible for life. It gets worse too. In a universe without God we also loose eternity. If we simply cease to exist when our physical bodies die and decay, our situation is bleaker than we realize. If everything ends at the grave, it ultimately makes no difference how we live. Because man ends in nothing, man ultimately is nothing.
In a materialistic society, we’re left facing the harsh conclusion that Nietzsche realized: If God is dead, man is dead too.
The irony is that our schools, culture, and society are teaching that man is nothing more than a highly evolved animal – then we’re surprised when someone acts like an animal. Saying something (such as mass murder) is wrong because it’s forbidden by a law-giving God is perfectly understandable. Trying to ground any sort of moral ‘ought’ in a universe without God is futile.
Richard Dawkins summed this up well in his book “A River Out of Eden.”
“In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”²
With this sort of thinking spreading through our culture like a virus, there’s no wonder why so many people fail to see the value of human life. In a universe without God, good and evil don’t exist. We’re left to live out a purposeless existence, die, and be forgotten.
As Christian philosopher William Lane Craig says, “What is true of the universe and of the human race is also true of us as individuals. If God does not exist, then you are just a miscarriage of nature, thrust into a purposeless universe to live a purposeless life.”³
A world such as this, without meaning and purpose, lends itself to any number of horrors. If humans and animals are truly the same, why treat humans any different than laboratory mice? We’re horrified that the Nazis performed medical experiments on living human prisoners. But why?
In the ‘anything goes’ world of materialism, things like abortion, eugenetic population control, murder, senicide, and genocide, are no different than love, care and compassion. We all die anyway, some just reach their end quicker than others.
Clearly the materialist knows this isn’t so. But calling any action good or evil is stealing a standard from God. The materialist can’t live consistently and happily in their world of indifferent chemicals so they invent meaning of their own and borrow morality from God.
It’s absurd to say life is ultimately without purpose and then say you can create meaning for yourself.
Again, Dr. Craig states, “[M]an cannot live this way. He cannot live as though it is perfectly all right for soldiers to slaughter innocent children. He cannot live as though it is all right for dictators like Pol Pot to exterminate millions of their own countrymen. Everything in him cries out to say these acts are wrong—really wrong. But if there is no God, he cannot. So he makes a leap of faith and affirms values anyway. And when he does so, he reveals the inadequacy of a world without God.”³
And what about our sense of justice? Stephen Paddock took the cowards way out and killed himself rather than face judgment for his crime. When criminals such as Paddock, the terrorists of 9/11, or Hitler commit horrific acts of violence we want them to be held accountable.
The problem is, in a universe without God, ultimate accountability doesn’t exist either. We live our short lives and our actions, either good or bad, amount to nothing in a universe doomed to die a slow heat death.
What’s the alternative?
Thankfully there is one. In a universe created and controlled by God we find value, purpose, morality, accountability, and eternity.
God created life with meaning – to know Him and to make His love known. Human life is valuable because we’re created in the image of God. Morality isn’t subjective, it’s rooted in the unchanging standard of God’s nature. Moral laws are laws because they transcend time, culture, and personal taste. Right and wrong exist and we’re held accountable for our actions after this life.
Those who accept Jesus Christ and His offer of salvation live with God for eternity. Those who reject Jesus’ offer, who worship the creation rather than the Creator, are quarantined in hell where they can continue to live on their own.
Because we’re created in the image of God, God doesn’t simply ‘annihilate’ those who reject Him. Doing so would be to annihilate a part of Himself.
Because God is just, sinful action don’t go unpunished either. Hell wasn’t designed for man and it’s not a place of externally inflicted torture. Instead, hell is a place of internally inflicted torment. It’s where those who don’t esteem God, His creation, and His laws live with the knowledge of their rebellion.
In conclusion, I end with Dr. Craig’s summarization of his article, “The Absurdity of Life Without God.”
“According to the Christian world view, God does exist, and man’s life does not end at the grave. In the resurrection body man may enjoy eternal life and fellowship with God. Biblical Christianity therefore provides the two conditions necessary for a meaningful, valuable, and purposeful life for man: God and immortality. Because of this, we can live consistently and happily. Thus, biblical Christianity succeeds precisely where atheism breaks down.”³
1. Lawrence Krauss, found on goodreads – Lawrence M. Krauss Quotes, https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/1410.Lawrence_M_Krauss accessed 10/5/17
2. Richard Dawkins, from his book “River Out of Eden” found on Brainy Quote, https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/r/richarddaw402494.html, accessed 10/5/17
3. William Lane Craig, “The Absurdity of Life Without God,” http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-absurdity-of-life-without-god#ixzz4ukFUYMVB, accessed 10/6/17