I’m sure many would like to counter me on the “Godless” part. Some Christians may say God is still in charge, but let’s be honest: nobody acts like he is, not even many Christians. And some non-Christians would point to Christian ideas pervading in certain laws and restrictions, and I would reply, “Surely you can see hypocrisy in Christianity left and right. Therefore you know God has little to do with many ‘Christian’ matters.”
So there we have the Godless world. And yes, it troubles me. I’m a Christian, as I’ve said many times, so I want the world to follow God, but I also know you can’t force it. Laws don’t change hearts. Thus, there are many times where it seems I’m resigned to just watch the world fall away.
In my observations, I’ve noticed a horrid trend. No, it’s not the rise of alternate sexuality or identity, it’s not Obamacare or immigrants, it’s not war or oppression, it’s not even selfishness. It’s something deeper.
Without God, we have placed our faith in despair.
It Starts Small…
I knew a girl in high school who realized she was a pathological liar. So she did nothing about it. Why not? Because “that’s who I am, and you can’t change that.”
I also knew a young man who had resigned himself to the fact that he would be an alcoholic because everyone else in his family was.
And both of these people will grow up living for retirement because once their out of their twenties and thirties, they’ll live more for the glory days than the present ones. They’ll labor until they can retire so they can rest because they know there’s nothing more for them to do.
Without God, we believe in ends, not beginnings. And we have no God.
But we can shrug off a few of these. General pessimism, perhaps. These people can still change and find hope.
It gets worse…
You probably know someone who is on medication for some mental or behavioral ailment right now. Anxiety, depression, anything of the like. Ask them about it. They’ll likely respond, “I am [x] so I take [y].” That’s the end of the discussion. What’s wrong with that, you ask?
Why is it that when I meet somebody taking meds for anxiety or depression, they don’t ever see a time when they won’t be on that medication? Why is there this pervading mantra of “It won’t get better?” Why is it that they believe no time, no love, no circumstance can ever make them whole?
This is what happens when we don’t believe in miracles, or in transformation at all. Without God, we believe that any and all problems we have will stick with us for life. We don’t need to discover this truth, we know it innately with no evidence whatsoever.
And it’s not just in medicine.
Why do so many marriages end? Because at some point one or both parties believe it won’t get better. Either the past has been too hard or the flame has gone out and they have not a moment to believe in a day when they’re happy together.
Why do so many women have abortions? Boil down the reasons and it comes out to “My life will be miserable if I don’t.” Dreams are shattered, plans go awry, and all they see is a problem to deal with. They don’t have the audacity to believe their lives might actually turn out well, or perhaps even better.
Why do so many men rape? Do a little digging and you’ll find it’s more than a sexual high for most. Some men need to dominate because they can’t be happy otherwise. Some men fear they’ll never get the girl normally, and can’t imagine life without her. Both men have to have control, and they give into that need because they don’t have faith in life without it.
Why are so many quick to condemn rapists, abortionists, addicts, gays, or any other demographic? We don’t believe in them. We don’t believe any good can come from people “like that.”
This is what happens when we don’t believe in redemption. Without God, we have no hope that things will get better. And we have no God.
This whole train of thought started when I read a blog about assisted suicide. There was a little comic where the opponent had a sign that said they believed a person ought to suffer needlessly. It was that word “needlessly” that provoked me, not the conversation itself. Needlessly. As though there’s an automatic assumption that the pain is permanent and pointless, that no good can come from a life in this state.
It’s bad enough when we believe that our lives will be pain and suffering. But it turns cancerous when we believe no good can happen amidst suffering.
Step by step though life, we see pain and struggle, and we write ourselves off to be depressed, lonely, hurt, twisted, broken. Weakness and fatigue come and pull us down. Some time, we don’t know when, the voice whispers in our heads that only the whole, healthy, and strong can do any good in the world.
“Sufferers cannot help sufferers. Pain is pointless. Struggling together is no better than struggling alone.” Living with agony is hard enough, but living without purpose is unbearable.
So we reach for the pills, the razor blade, the gun, whatever sacrament we prefer to call down the one thing we believe in.
Our world may not believe in God, but it still has faith. Faith in despair. Faith in the nothing. Without God, we believe in what we cannot see: the future. We know what will come: nothing.
But we do have a God. We believe in the benevolent scythe, come to rescue us. And we pray not for happiness, not for joy, not for victory, not for triumph.
We pray for the Nothing.