What if God Doesn't Exist?
Sometimes you need to question your beliefs. I think many of us subconsciously believe that our faith cannot withstand questions, and if that be the case, we need to question all the more.
So what if God doesn't exist?
Yesterday I awoke early from a bad dream. I was pursued by violent men everywhere I went. I hid and I hid and I hid. I'd see a guy crouch in a window with a rifle and remember I wasn't safe anywhere. It made me think of David in the Psalms:
O God, insolent men have risen up against me; a band of ruthless men seeks my life, and they do not set you before them. (Psalm 86:14).
For some reason I connected the idea of being pursued with the existence of God - I guess his protection and providence. This dream seemed absent of it. I won't call it a vision, but I'll call it a glimpse of what it would be like to be solo in a big angry world. I didn't like it one bit.
I looked out my back window as the sun began to show itself, painting the tall leaves of a tree waxy green and shades of yellow. The sky horizontal brushstrokes of blue and white. Shadows draw along rooflines and birds chattering.
What if this was all nothing?
I have a good friend who calls himself an optimistic nihilist. I am not sure how he gets there. As I think about a world - a life - based on the assumption that we are evolved pond scum in a universe that cares nothing about us, I am anything but optimistic.
Draw out the conclusions of a Godless world with me:
- Love is meaningless. It's just instinct and chemicals for evolutionary purposes and love itself is not the highest virtue.
- Violence is the answer. Coercion makes sense. If God will not judge for us, we must judge for him. We must take all matters into our hands and seek to right all the wrongs perfectly.
- Nature is cool, but it's anonymous. No longer a personal gift to be enjoyed, but rather just a collection of stuff that's all explainable smashed together in a biomass of colors. By the way, if God isn't the landlord of this place, we can probably litter and scorch the earth so long as no one is watching.
- Death is final. When we watch a loved one breathe their last, that's it. Over. We should mourn our guts out because they ain't coming back and we'll never see them again.
- Forgiveness is manipulation. If I do not forgive out of the abundant forgiveness I have received in the Lord, I am forgiving on my own strength and morality. And I know me, and my strength and morality won't get me through Tuesday. So take away the God thing, and I'll forgive you to make the drama go away or to collect a debt.
- Art is foolishness. A beautiful song loses transcendence when we are just smart mammals, because it's just noise. A landscape painted by a master is no longer a hint of heaven, it's just globs of chemicals arranged in a certain way.
I could go on. You may think my conclusions are a bit ridiculous, and maybe they are - but I truly believe this is how I'd think if I were to remove God from my life.
I understand my depravity and I am daily reminded of the depravity of others, and if I don't have a worldview that does something with that depravity, I am terrified. If we are moral beings - and we are - but there is no ultimate judge nor a perfect guide, we are bound to lose at the game we've created.
More than that, meaning is suffocated without God. Randomly evolved matter based on chance and chaotic movements of the universe? Well that's interesting for about five seconds until the underlying conclusions kick in. We are nothing going nowhere.
This is not an apologetic argument. I am not arguing the reasons that God exists. That's a different subject, and one worth pursuing. But that's another subject. I am arguing that at least for me, I really want God to exist. I want this world to be a journey somewhere and I want to feel my Heavenly Father breathe across me in a gentle breeze. I want to seek his heart and know that how I treat people matters.
I cannot know your heart and what you truly believe inside, but I have this nagging suspicion (confirmed by Romans 1) that we all feel the presence of God. Whether we pull this belief out and feed it and strengthen it and seek to give it wings, I believe we are not so arrogant as to observe beauty and deny its existence. I believe we are not so pessimistic as to consider love a chemical cocktail of sexual impulse for the propagation of the human race. I think we know. At least I do.
We are not logical beings. We are emotional beings. That is why people behave erratically and unexpectedly. We overlay logic on situations and expect people to follow the course that makes sense, but they don't. We don't. I don't. Our belief systems are not purely emotional and they have a very important logical/philosophical/scientific foundation, but the reasons we believe tend to be emotional rather than intellectual. And thus I will say that with everything I am, I am happy that I believe in a God who made this world and is making all things new, including me.