G.K. Chesterton once called atheism the “most daring of all dogmas” because it asserts something fundamentally contrary to human nature: a “universal negative”. [G.K. Chesterton, quoted in Francis S. Collins, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (New York: Free Press, 2006, pg.300)]. If we have had such wonderful advances in human rights and material wealth under ‘man’s politics’ what is it that lies behind so much of the gloom and doom prevalent today? Ravi Zacharias comments on his evaluation of the problems:
“Having killed God, the atheist (godless) is left with no reason for being, no morality to espouse, no meaning to life, and no hope beyond the grave. Significantly, the absence of future hope has an amazing capacity to reach into the present and eat away at the structure of life, as termites would a giant wooden foundation. Hope is that indispensable element that makes the present so important…There is a complete sense of alienation in the world one hundred years after Nietzsche. It is this utterly morbid and hopeless philosophy that has sent so many of our youth into a search for other realities. Those who do not have hope, in an effort to drown their despair, turn to drugs or alcohol or other experiments that they think will break this stranglehold of futility…This is the shattered visage of atheism (godlessness). It has the stare of death, looking into the barren desert of emptiness and hopelessness.” [Ravi Zacharias, The Real Face of Atheism (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2009) pgs. 98 & 101]. Why then do atheist continue to embrace this “stranglehold of futility”, this hopelessness? Their ‘prophet’ Nietzsche claimed atheism gives people strength….? Can this be true since the most courageous men and women in history…the ones who sacrificed everything for some great cause…passionately believed in God. Could it be that atheism improves society? We’ve already seen that the most significant contributions to human rights, civil rights, the arts, the sciences, and education were made by believers. Is it that atheism builds character? As we have seen over the past few weeks, the atheists (godless) are the most arrogant, ignorant, duplicitous, obnoxious, and ruthless bullies imaginable. Maybe it is because atheism is better equipped to alleviate the suffering of the world. That is more far fetched than any of the previous possibilities. One quick glance at history is enough to see the vast amount of work done by religious people…exercising the ‘politics of God’…to help the poor, the sick, the mentally ill, the disabled, the elderly, and the dying. Today, in a climate saturated by the spirit of secularism, studies by ABC News, the Barna Group, and many other research organizations show that believers give four times the amount of time and money to charities as do the ‘godless’. [John Stossel and Kristina Kendall,”Who Gives and Who Doesn’t”, ABC News, November 28, 2006]. A study conducted by Barna in 2007 found: “The typical no-faith American donated just $200 in 2006, which is more than seven times less than the amount contributed by the prototypical active-faith adult ($1500). Even when church-based giving is subtracted from the equation, active-faith adults donate twice as many dollars in 2005 as did atheist and agnostics. [“Atheists and Agnostics Take Aim at Christians”, Barna, June 11, 2007].
And when it comes to consoling the suffering, the ‘godless’ seem intent on doing just the opposite. When two parents tragically lose a child to cancer or some other disease and seek solace in the pages of the Bible, reading about Christ raising a little girl and a young man from the dead and saying: “I am the Resurrection and the Life…whoever believes in me will never die” [John 11:25-26] are greeted by ‘godless’ writers like Dawkins and Harris who say the parents are nothing more than dimwitted imbeciles who believe in fairy tales. Their message: “Stop deluding yourself! You’ll never see your child again. Get on with your life!”. Then there was the stressed-out, beaten-down department clerk who wanted to chase away the holiday blues by putting up a small Christmas tree and nativity scene, and by wishing harried shoppers a simple “Merry Christmas”. The atheist ‘police’ immediately pounced down upon him and squashed his outrageous, intolerant message by threatening lawsuits. Like Scrooge, they growl :”Every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.” [Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol (London, Bradbury & Evans, 1858), pg. 5]. When an alcoholic or drug addict sees a glimmer of hope after so many years of living in darkness and despair, all because a twelve-step program convinced him/her to trust in a spiritual power greater than him/herself, the atheists all scream with one voice: “There is no spiritual power greater than you, fool! There is no spiritual power at all!” When a young man or woman feels called to give up worldly ambition in order to become a missionary in a foreign land or a pastor in the inner city or a friar working in a soup kitchen or a Sister cleaning the sores of lepers or a cloistered nun praying day and night for the world…when such selfless choices are made for the sake of God, the ‘godless’ sneer in derision, and laugh: “Your sacrifice is a sham. Stop believing in myths! Go out and live for yourself, not for some make-believe deity!” This is how atheists today demonstrate sympathy for those who are suffering. “Oh, but it’s not our job to console people”, they retort. “All we care about is the truth”. The truth?
What is the truth in the minds of the ‘godless’? How has ‘man’s politics’ allowed such a distortion that many today are seeking the ‘truth’ by means never intended for revelation. What is the ‘truth’ so sought after even though ‘the politics of God’ has been provided in His Word where the ‘truth’ is clearly defined? Next week we will look at the atheists’ approach to the truth and the many ‘dead end paths’ it has taken them down.
– Bob Munsey