“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death...Death is swallowed up in victory.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54
"The greater the sin, the greater the mercy, the deeper the death and the brighter the rebirth.” - C. S. Lewis
"This story...has the very taste of primary truth." - J. R. R. Tolkien

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Whispers of Eternity: The Absurdity of Atheism

An idea frequently proposed by atheists is that each person “creates” his own meaning. The word “meaning” is not understood as a reference to what is universally valuable or even ontologically real. Meaning is merely the psychological product of the brain of homo sapiens – even if there is no absolute purpose, we can create one for ourselves. Atheism “frees” us from the legalistic and suppressive constraints of religion and lifts us to a level of intellectual superiority. Is this a credible answer to man’s search for meaning? I submit that it is not. For one thing, man cannot “create” meaning. Meaning is universal and absolute – that which is really valuable, independent of our thoughts. Man can imagine that something is meaningful, but he cannot create meaning. For meaning to be real it must be tied to the ontological foundation of reality, which is God. Only God, as the Creator of all things and ontological source of all reality, has the power to assign actual meaning.

The atheist must admit that his “meaning” has no reality beyond the neurons in his brain. “Atheism gives freedom” they say – freedom from rules, freedom from that silly caricature of God as an angry old man looking for someone to punish for breaking his rules. But for what? What is gained by killing God? All meaning is lost. As the author of Ecclesiastes asks, what can a man gain in the world that is not lost when he dies? The atheist will say there is meaning in leaving a legacy through our descendants and by making a difference in the world that lasts beyond his lifetime. But what can he give or pass on to others, what effect can he have in the world that is not ultimately lost in death? Nothing – all humanity is doomed according to atheism, so everything will be totally and absolutely lost in death. According to the atheist’s worldview, the human race will be extinct shortly (on a cosmological scale) due to the expansion of the universe, and nothing we gain will last beyond that. The consistent atheist must recognize that love is nothing more than hormones in his head – it has no significance at all. Thus, the consistent atheist only purchases the delusion of freedom at the expense of meaning, value, purpose to his existence, and any lasting hope for the redemption of a world in pain. Without God – without an ontological foundation for real purpose and value, all of reality is meaningless, just as the author of Ecclesiastes writes. In the following video (just the first part of an excellent 7-part series), Dr. William Lane Craig describes “the horror of modern man” – in killing God, man has cut himself off from meaning, and in the attempt to free himself from God and rise to a higher level of humanity, man has lost his own identity and must view himself as no more than a speck in a doomed universe. This is the bleak picture of consistent atheism, that is, the kind of atheism that accepts the full implications of a godless reality:

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