Sunday 13 January 2019

Consequences of Atheism

Atheism is currently regarded as the intelligent person's response to the universe as we understand it, but actually, as has long been known by the really intelligent, it is the fool who says in his heart there is no God.

Why? Because no God means no meaning.  Rejecting God is rejecting meaning. In fact, it is worse than that. It is rejecting reality for unless there is some underlying, objective, absolute truth, there is nothing. Your thoughts, your feelings, even you, are nothing, just bits of dust floating in the air. Without God, the world is nothing. And a cosmic life force, whatever that might be, is no use either. This is just a face-saving device for those unwilling to admit that unless the basis of the universe is personal, that reality is beings not things, it is just an abstraction with no true centre, and therefore no proper meaning or truth or goodness to it.

Atheism, the rejection of God, leads inexorably to collapse, as it is now doing. With no centre, everything flies apart, and that is what is taking place today.

Once we have satisfied the basic needs of food and shelter, the most important things for human beings in their quest for fulfilment are love and beauty, but see what is happening to these. Love is increasingly reduced to sex. Perhaps love is just sex but in that case sex means something far more than the diminished thing we call by that name today. For sex is not just the physical aspect of love but the union of heart, soul, mind and body, each on its own level. If it is reduced to just the last one of these four, which it will be in an atheistic society, that being the only one that is real, then it becomes a means of disassociating yourself from your real being. It's a vicious circle (or cycle) with the consequence becoming the cause of a deeper level of the initial malaise, and on it goes.

A society's art reflects its inner state. Modern art is obsessed with sex (physically understood), death and destruction. It pretends it is peering more deeply into reality but it is actually just peering more deeply into its own emptiness, the emptiness of atheism. This is much so-called high art. Popular art has lost its innocence and sense of joy and, in line with the view of the human being as little more than an animated body, descends further and further into crudeness and physicality without any sense of higher things to soften and humanise that. Again, the consequence of a wrong idea becomes a means of entrenching those who respond to it more and more deeply in the false way of being that gave rise to it in the first place.

When you deny God, you have to create something to take his place, whether that be in politics, art, science or whatever. Modern man made a religion out of science but when he practises science without the sense of something higher behind the physical world, he has made it into an idol and himself into an idol worshipper.

The politics of atheism is leftism which, when you strip away its veneer of humanitarianism and actually see it for what it is and what it results in, is the politics of destruction. This is because anything that supplants God with Man will end in disaster. Leftism must destroy the world that was built on the sense of God and replace that with a world built on Man, but what Man is always changes in its eyes. The nature of the leftist mentality is to bring down what is on top and replace it by what is below. This carries on until all established order is destroyed, and the result will be chaos, possibly even the collapse of society.

When I hear a leftist say he loves his country, I wonder what he means by that since the policies he supports, by reducing freedom and increasing control and bureaucracy, inevitably destroy a country's individual character and homogenise it to a universal norm. The leftist has either denied God or reduced him to a secondary character who must be seen in the light of Man as he is on this earth. His politics is therefore his religion.

This is a polemical piece and I am not interested here in going into detail or trying to justify each point I make in the face of possible objections. I am setting out the bigger picture, the overall result of a certain mentality, and, as far as I am concerned, stating self-evident facts. No doubt, one could qualify some of these facts but when the house is on fire, that is what needs to be addressed. Perhaps the fire is doing some good, in that it is getting rid of junk that has lain in the basement for years, but it is also burning the place down.

I am convinced that the denial of God leads to a kind of insanity. If spirituality doesn't exist then everything is opinion. Nothing matters. Morality is expediency and love is just a physical reaction in which the beloved is an object that exists merely for self-gratification. This is the truth. Is it really what we want? Is our civilisation and culture merely just an attempt to cover the gaping horror of nothingness? Because, make no mistake, if spirituality doesn't exist then that is all there is.

But while we should constantly condemn the denial of God, we should be more circumspect in singling out individuals for condemnation. After all, we live in a culture that rejects God and it can be hard to overcome that. Give people every opportunity to find their way to spiritual truth. That will be made harder if those who believe in God and insist on his reality appear hard-hearted and unforgiving. Don't step down the attack on evil, but the traditional Christian injunction to hate the sin but love the sinner is a sound one, albeit difficult to live up to sometimes. But God resides within each one of us, however sunken in sin and illusion we are. When we fight against the evil in the world we must always remember that.

As I said before, this is an unashamedly polemical piece in which no attempt is made to be balanced. Sometimes such an approach is intemperate, dogmatic, bigoted and inflammatory. Sometimes, when the situation demands it, as it does now, it is just what is needed.


edwin faust said...

"His politics is therefore his religion." - Is not politics just the implementation of moral ideas as social organization? I think everyone's politics might be said to be his religion, or perhaps the effect of his religion. Politics without God is indeed atheism, which we call Leftism or progressivism, the latter term being one of approbation as we assume that whatever is most current is the result of inevitable evolutionary improvement. That the Left appear more zealous and more effective in their politics may be due to the lukewarmness and hesitancy of those who believe in God. But belief in God is regarded as an opinion, even by many believers, and as such lacks the force and command of "factual" science, which is the deity of the Left. The God of Christianity is seen as a rather hazy figure whose relevance, if any, is not readily apparent; the god of science hands out cell phones. Perhaps, the contradictions that now co-exist in the lives of most people, who want love and meaning in a godless world of unrestrained sensual gratification, will eventually become insupportable and clarity will force a decision one way or another. For the present, an often maddening confusion rises on all sides, a confusion that seems resistant to all logic and evidence. I share your frustration, or what I take for such in your writing, and know it is all I can do to keep my head above water as the tide of insanity washes over everything. But it is good to be reminded that we are not alone.

William Wildblood said...

edwin, I suppose you could say that everyone's politics is the result of their religion but it's which comes first that matters. Leftism is therefore the result of irreligion and the passion that should be channelled into religion is channelled into politics.

I'm not sure if it's frustration. I think that the world has largely succumbed to demonic influence and that it is our duty to stand against that as best we can. Sometimes we have to argue rationally against the rising tide of darkness. Sometimes we just have to assert the reality of God without trying to prove anything according to the standards of the time which are false standards. And then let things take their course.

Ugh said...

" I think that the world has largely succumbed to demonic influence and that it is our duty to stand against that as best we can."

In light of this notion, which I agree with, I see constant nasty attacks on decent people pushing back against progressivism and atheism because they're not perfect. Their motives are questioned and whatever good they may be doing is dismissed. While this is perfectly understandable when it is progressives and atheists doing the attacking, but I'm talking about good Christians impugning the messenger.

I see this constantly in regards to pastor of my Church, a well known theologian and author of many books. I don't agree with him on everything, but I don't mistake him as an agent of the enemy or an antichrist. Can't we use all the help we can get?

William Wildblood said...

Obviously we all have flaws and you cannot expect a person who points to the corruption in the modern world to be perfect in every respect or even any respect. So you have to look to motivation and sincerity of purpose, and the absence of obvious, indulged flaws.

At the same time, if we are to present our case in the best light and give those who might wish to attack us as little opportunity as possible to do so, we have to look to ourselves to be as true to what we say as we can be. Sometimes the message is judged by the quality of the messenger which is reasonable though should give us all pause for thought!

Francis Berger said...

I am currently rereading the works of Dostoevsky and much of what you have summarized here encapsulates the warnings Dostoevsky seemingly shouted from the rooftops concerning atheism, the loss of meaning, and leftism as a politics of destruction. His warnings proved prophetic as the catastrophe he predicted in his novels wreaked its destruction on Russia in the twentieth century.

Sadly, when I read pieces such as the one you have written here, I cannot help but be overcome by an overwhelming sense of doom because I see too many parallels between nineteenth-century Russia and the contemporary West. Western culture and society truly is teetering on the edge of a precipice, assuming it has not already fallen over it, yet very few seem willing to recognize or acknowledge this, let alone seriously consider what the primary cause behind it all might be.

Nevertheless, your statements near the end of your piece are fortifying, encouraging, and crucial for they not only offer hope, but touch on something those who profess to fight against evil often forget - chiefly, the difference between sin and the sinner. Put another way, we must find ways to attack the possessing force instead of solely fighting the people possessed by this force. In all honesty, I often fail at this myself, in both thought and action, but I intuitively know it is the only appropriate course of action one can take, and I thank you for reminding me of this.

ajb said...

A beautifully written piece that is a precis of current trends.

I would add one thing. Atheists are denying God, but what do they mean by 'God'?

If they hold there is, in fact, goodness, love, and so on, I would hold they are AINO (atheists in name only). Instead, they are denying caricatures of religious belief (God is a bearded man in the sky, like a spaghetti monster orbiting another planet, and so on).

God is the good, and so if they believe in objective good, they believe in God! God is love, and so if they believe in love (beyond a mere emotional storm in the brain - the love which is the willing of the good), then they believe in God!

It is true that they are cut off from their traditions, and from a more rigorous, robust way of thinking about God, and they may become 'cut flowers', as seems certainly to be happening on a society-wide level, but we should at least state the problem precisely.

Many atheists are in fact theists, but theists who have cut themselves off from various traditional practices that help us to connect with God.

Bruce Charlton said...

@ajb - That's an interesting line of argument - and there is some truth in it. Indeed, that would pretty much describe myself for much of my adult life.

But this is a weak position, beacuse it is incoherent - and is nearly always eroded by the experience of modern life.

I don't think it is the 'traditional practices' that strengthen a belief in the reality of transcendentals such as truth or beauty; I think they are weak because they have no underpinnings.

Or perhaps more accurately, the reality of truth or beauty is in conflict with the basic mindset of an atheist, that such things cannot be real (because not directly observable, measurable etc); and because unless one believes the universe is created, then no values can be really real.

William Wildblood said...

If you believe in love but deny the source and reason for love then you don't really believe in love. You just believe that love is a nice idea or theoretically a good thing

ajb said...


"But this is a weak position, beacuse it is incoherent - and is nearly always eroded by the experience of modern life."

Yes, exactly.

ajb said...


Yes, I think that's right, but I also think you're giving most atheists a bit too much credit - in my humble opinion, they typically have only vague ideas about these things. In terms of their actions, some act as if love or the good is more than just a nice idea or theoretically good thing. They act as if the good is objective and highly important.

Many intellectual atheists are explicit atheists but implicit theists, if only they knew what the latter term meant. However, their explicit atheism undermines society at large, leading to real atheism. If there's a real opposition to theism, I think nihilism is the more accurate term.

Most intellectual 'atheists' aren't nihilists in terms of how they act, and so aren't actually atheists to some important degree. At the least, there is significant ground for dialogue between theists and these sorts of atheists.