Friday, July 20, 2018

When There is no Hope

According to a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey published on 7 June, "suicide is a growing problem in the United States." The survey indicated that "rates increased by 25% across the United States over nearly two decades ending in 2016. Twenty-five states experienced a rise in suicides by more than 30%." The first and most obvious question that comes to mind is why? Why are people in this country killing themselves with increasing frequency? Why are they finding suicide an acceptable outlet to whatever problems they think they have, or actually have? Is there anything that can give individuals considering suicide the hope they need to continue the hard slog of life?

The recent high-profile suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain have brought this problem once again to the forefront. High financial standing and what the world counts as success are no safeguards against the depression that so many in our society feel imposing itself on their lives. Regardless of how successful an individual may be, in the deep recesses of their minds, there is still the need for more than "stuff" and more than power to give their lives meaning. The fact that the evolutionary theory of the origins of man has become more widely accepted than ever in Western society is no small contributor to the sense of despair that many feel. When you're made to believe that this life is all there is and that, after 60 or 70 years or so of often hard living the lights go out, you can't help but feel a sense of worthlessness and futility.

It used to be that I felt anger at the purveyors of evolution and its hopeless, helpless philosophy. The older I get, however, the sorrier I feel for the apostles of atheism that are increasingly becoming more and more militant and virulent. The likes of Richard Dawkins and others are not worthy of disdain so much as pity. They bloviate about their supposed intellectual independence and prowess because they do not "succumb" to the ridiculous myths of religion. Yet, what they have to offer to anyone is equal to their worldview philosophy: a whole lot of nothing. The supposed allure of the atheistic lifestyle is that you're unencumbered by the demands that religion, aka religious leaders, make on their followers. Why, the question goes, should you spend your life sacrificing for the sake of a bunch of lies and an imaginary god who gives you nothing more than to feel better about yourself. The question that needs to be asked in response, however, is "what then do you have to offer"? The resounding answer is…nothing!

It is no coincidence that as society becomes more divorced from the morality anchored on the principles that the Christian God represents, the more it feels a sense of despair and uselessness. Believing that we are nothing more than bags of protoplasm that are simply passing through this earth with little to offer, cannot but lead to such desperation. Try as you might, if you have the idea that this life is all there is, you're not going to feel all that great about yourself. To be sure, there are those whose consciences are so hardened that they give such ideas little thought. But the great majority of humanity senses that there is more than simply a physical life leading inexorably to the grave. If all you can think of every time you pass a graveyard is that you're going to end up there, forgotten and extinguished, what possible motivation can you have to lead sacrificial, loving lives?

In the final analysis, if there is nothing beyond the grave then the Epicurean philosophy is what we all should be striving for. To "eat, drink and be merry" was the cornerstone of a world view that believed that "nothing really exists except atoms, in motion and at rest, and the void. ...there are multiple worlds, or cosmoi. Each of these has emerged from chaos, producing its own stars and planets, people, animals, and plants, and each will eventually return to chaos." So, as you can see, the idea that there is no God and that men are basically on their own is not new. But just as with the ancient atheistic idea, the neo-atheists are hard pressed to give life meaning: except to evangelize about the meaningless of life. Without Christ nothing makes any sense. Without Christ there is no knowledge. Sure, the lost may have great intellects and may even achieve great things. But that is simply because they live in Christ's world and can make use of Christ's laws. Were it not for Christ, even the unbeliever would be lost in his "floating atoms. "The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word” (Hebrews 1:3).


  1. Mike - The unrelenting, unmerciful pathos of the atheist is stunning. Honestly, I'm not sure even many Christians REALLY grasp your statement that "Without Christ nothing makes any sense. Without Christ there is no knowledge."

    An open-ended, autonomous, uncreated universe bereft of a creator sovereign God is by definition meaningless and futile. Any sense of meaning attached to life is at best pretense, arbitrary and ultimately hollow. If atheism is true, we become a collection of molecules no different or better than those making up a rock or a sterile drop of water. Atheists are forced to live a life of mock significance - for in the end, if their epistemological claims reflect reality, NOTHING matters. Truth, love, ethics, the good - all become empty abstractions. We are simply stardust in a different form. Every claim to moral good is pure subjectivism. The notion of sin - nonsensical. Be you the vilest of the vile or the saintliest of the saints, what difference does it make...for in the end, absolutely nothing matters, nothing endures, and the very concept of right and wrong becomes meaningless conjecture.

    Good post Mike.

    But here is the stunner: deep down, they know better. (Romans !) Their claims are rubbish & baseless - but they prefer darkness to light.

    1. How unfortunate it is that "they prefer darkness to light." We were discussing last night how we should feel pity for the lost. To be sure, their sin, sometimes at a level of depravity that stuns even the most hardy mind, should anger us. But in the end, their destiny is such that you cannot but feel compassion. An eternity without God is worse than anyone can imagine. Living this short little while without God is awful. An eternity without God would be tragic! Thanks.