Is a godless world really a world you want to live in?

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Think about it.

If only death stands with open arms at the end of life’s trail, then what is the goal of life?

Is it all for nothing?

Is there no reason for life?

And what of the universe?

Is it utterly pointless?

If its destiny is a cold grave in the recesses of outer space the answer must be, yes—it is pointless. There is no goal no purpose for the universe. The litter of a dead universe will just go on expanding and expanding—forever.

And what of man? Is there no purpose at all for the human race? Or will it simply peter out someday lost in the oblivion of an indifferent universe? The English writer H. G. Wells foresaw such a prospect. In his novel The Time Machine Wells’ time traveler journeys far into the future to discover the destiny of man. All he finds is a dead earth, save for a few lichens and moss, orbiting a gigantic red sun. The only sounds are the rush of the wind and the gentle ripple of the sea.

“Beyond these lifeless sounds,” writes Wells, “the world was silent. Silent? It would be hard to convey the stillness of it. All the sounds of man, the bleating of sheep, the cries of birds, the hum of insects, the stir that makes the background of our lives—all that was over.”

And so Wells’s time traveler returned. But to what?—to merely an earlier point on the purposeless rush toward oblivion.

That seems pretty bleak, noted philosopher Bertrand Russell had more. [emphasis added]

“That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins—all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair can the soul’s habitation be safely built.”

Bertrand Russell (from A Free Man’s Worship, 1903)

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Categories: Apologetics, Christianity

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

15 replies

  1. H. G. Wells was a favorite when I was a teenager. Oblivion was faraway then.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Was far away for me then too. As I remember, the thought that there would be nothing after we died terrified me as a child. I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of it.

      Liked by 2 people

        • Honestly I can CT. I believe nothing exists after death. When you consider the universe is insanely massive, bigger than we can imagine and there are possibly hundreds, thousands or more other planets teeming with life that either have greater or less intelligence than us, therefore it is more than likely that we are not special. A theist from any faith would have to admit you need a mountain of faith to believe that any god could have decided earth was the only planet worthy of his attention or that the same story on earth is played out on every other planet with life forms.

          Not only that, but humans and other animals all share the same or similar biological systems. Difference is our human brain is powerful and capable of things we do not understand nor do we realise to what extent it takes control of many cognitive functions such as emotional thoughts, perceptions, reasoning and decision making. This brain does not mean we are any more special than any other animal, it just means that our brains will take us humans on a ride into a world based on whatever has been absorbed through life experiences.

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          • @sklyjd

            Logically, God exists. See http://renewingyourmind.org/broadcasts/2016/08/22/the-existence-of-shoes.

            R. C. Sproul provides a good explanation in that broadcast and the subsequent one as to why God must exist, and it is isn’t just to comfort old men.

            So why did you come here with your announcement? “Honestly I can CT. I believe nothing exists after death.” You are doing it for our sake, right? You think we get by another day without knowing that you understand life is an exercise in futility? Our brains cannot grasp the concept, but your fearless brain can? And to what end? So you can be god? Not that silly? How about mankind can be god? I tried that once. Then I realized my stupidity.

            Fortunately, God exists! So what you imagine — nonexistence, everyone and everything you care about gone and our Creator not caring — is not real.

            Could God just sweep the entire universe aside so He can start another project. Do we deserve anything else? No, but the life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ says He will not do that. He does care, and that is what is difficult to imagine. Yet if we can care for our children, our friends, and our neighbors, perhaps God can care for the tiny, foolish creatures who invest the surface of an insignificant, little world.

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          • Thanks for the link, however that so called logic from Sproul using a shoe is caked in illogical mud.

            You ask “So why did you come here with your announcement?” and “You are doing it for our sake, right?” I believe comments on a public forum suggest that my views are really just as important as yours, right? It is a fact that your Christian religion has always forced religious doctrine and political opinion upon anybody they desire and still do, but it is no longer a one-sided coin. Many atheists want to see change and it is quite different from the Christian view that has held sway over many centuries. The atheist bloggers are stepping up to the mark to challenge the ancient beliefs in a world of advanced science and reality.

            Your comments “Our brains cannot grasp the concept, but your fearless brain can? And to what end? So you can be god? Not that silly? How about mankind can be god? I tried that once. Then I realized my stupidity.” And this “Fortunately, God exists! So what you imagine — nonexistence, everyone and everything you care about gone and our Creator not caring — is not real.”

            These statements make no sense at all to me, so why would atheist man want to be a god and why did you try to be a god when it is clear atheists do not believe in gods and why does there have to be any god in the first place?

            You say “Everyone and everything you care about gone”? How so? Fundamentally logical that we all live and then all die, and logical your direct and indirect relatives carry on, it can only be fantasy that you will meet them all in some other life.

            You say “Could God just sweep the entire universe aside so He can start another project.” The population of the world is growing at a fast rate, so fast we will eventually need another planet to populate. If God was real I guess he could sweep us aside, however for dozens of centuries men have predicted the end of the world and coming of Christ or the rise of the antichrist etc. They have all been wrong and failed and so they always will.

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          • @sklyjd

            What was the point of The Isaiah 53:5 Project’s blog post? Why did you ignore it? Why did you comment on a couple of comments instead of the post?

            What is the purpose of your existence, to imagine your non-existence? Let’s take your word for it. You can do it. Whoopee!

            You are not impressed by Sproul’s logic? Then it should be easy to refute. Why don’t you do that?

            Where are Christians are forcing their religious doctrine and political opinions on others? Is that a joke or just outrageous ignorance? Can you show me somewhere where the Bible says Christians are suppose to force others to become Christians?

            So what is the sum total of what you have offered?

            I believe nothing exists after death.

            And so what do you want to do? Share your misery? Make it political? It seems that that is all that any atheistic regime has ever accomplished, to create and spread misery.

            What Jesus offers is hope. You don’t believe in Him? Have you tried? Or have you just proudly proclaimed how self-sufficient you are?

            We are just specks of clay in an endless universe. The earth is our only sanctuary. Here we are born. Here we die.

            Sooner or latter most men and women realize that with God the universe just continues. Life is created, maybe. Life ends. We are not self-sufficient. Without God we don’t matter. So only the most stubborn in their sin, not wise, do not seek God.

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          • CT you actually agreed with James and suggested that the truth was nobody could handle the thought of nothing after we die, and I simply disagreed with you and gave you my atheistic reasons.

            You ask “What is the purpose of your existence, to imagine your non-existence? You create riddles, I do not need anything that is not of this physical world to provide a purpose for my existence. Would you ask the same question of other animals such as a horse, a cow, rabbit or donkey?

            Refute Sproul’s logic you say. Well since he quotes everything from the bible to support his shoe story it is a “shoe in” that he is wrong because the Bible is criticised, interpreted, construed, translated, deciphered and misquoted by every Christian denomination and apologetic known to man. Not only that it is an ancient document written by superstitious ancient people well after the events were claimed and all the works were supposedly inspired by God.

            Just in case you had not noticed, religion has its nose in politics, public schools, local governments, court rooms, and same sex marriages. It also disputes scientific facts, promotes creationism as science and discriminates against gay people.

            You say “seems that that is all that any atheistic regime has ever accomplished, to create and spread misery.” If recent history is a guide I suspect the thousands of paedophile priests have also created and spread a fair bit of misery in the name of God.

            I have never tried to believe in God because nothing with credibility tells me he exists. Life is just too short to believe in ancient fantasy stories on blind faith that claim to offer everlasting life.

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          • @sklyjd

            I have not seen any evidence you are handling the thought of death well. So you disagreed. Whoopee!

            It is difficult to carry on a conversation with a horse, a cow, rabbit or donkey. So I don’t know how I would ask any of those creatures a question. At any rate, as far as we know, a horse, a cow, rabbit or donkey does not understand the significance of death.

            You obviously did not listen to Sproul. Your effort to refute his logic makes that obvious. I also doubt you have read the Bible. Your judgement of Christianity is similarly ignorant. All you do is spout what you think are criticisms.

            This is classic.

            Just in case you had not noticed, religion has its nose in politics, public schools, local governments, court rooms, and same sex marriages. It also disputes scientific facts, promotes creationism as science and discriminates against gay people.

            We live according to what we think is the purpose of life. Because they believe the Bible, Christians use Biblical teachings to guide their choices.

            How do Atheists differ? Can an Atheist explain why he bothers to get up each day? Pride? A feeling he should care? The fact he does care? But why? What difference do it make? Yet somehow Atheist find ways to justify themselves using politics, public schools, local governments, court rooms, and scientific “facts”.

            On the other hand, the Bible calls upon Christians to use their lives to glorify God.

            This comes from a post you commented on.

            I like arguments. Not fights; arguments. They’re different. Fights—angry quarrels, silly squabbles—are not productive. They generate heat, not light.

            Arguments—points of view buttressed with reasons—on the other hand, are one of the principal means we use to separate fact from fiction. Jesus used them. Paul used them. Peter used them. We should use them, too.

            When arguments are done well, they honor God (remember, He was the one who said “Come let us reason together”). But arguments have limits; they don’t always work. When that happens, some are tempted to think that arguments themselves are useless.

            Did you bother to read that post? I wonder.

            Is Christianity your enemy? No. Without the Christian faith, we would not have the freedom to speak our minds. Yet you treat Christianity like you are its enemy. So I can see why James said this about you.

            I see you as someone who believes you are one of Dr. Boghossian’s ‘horsemen’ who’s on a mission to transform a broken world long ruled by unquestioned faith into a society built on reason, evidence, and thought-out positions.

            I don’t however, see you as someone who truly wants to discuss faith and where it supposedly has it all wrong as there are plenty of very good apologetics posts on this blog you have never bothered to comment on at all, seeking instead only the low hanging fruit.

            Debate must precede warfare. Otherwise, neither side will listen. When we debate, we form and exchange arguments, not bullets. If each side does not seriously consider each others arguments, debate is futile.

            Propagandists don’t debate. What they do is information warfare, and that is where you at at.

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          • You say “I have not seen any evidence you are handling the thought of death well.” I cannot understand what sort of evidence are you wanting?

            You claim “We live according to what we think is the purpose of life. Because they believe the Bible, Christians use Biblical teachings to guide their choices.”

            It is clear that Christians and all religions enforce their beliefs and life styles onto others, and it appears you may have got the point.

            Have you seen an animal that is about to become a meal for lions? They will fight for their life just as any human until they die. That is significant enough to indicate that as animals we all have a purpose on this earth and that is to survive, stay alive and look after our families what other purpose do you think there is? Is it just to get ready for eternal life or a hell in some spiritual world?

            I get up each day and I do care about people and animals as much as most people, I follow the laws of the land, pay my taxes, apply morals to my life and look after my child. I do not require ancient scriptures to tell me how to live or how to have double standards by discriminating against gay people.

            I am justified with my beliefs because it is the same view as 98% of the world’s creditable scientists and as it is unquestionably the factual reality of the world we all physically live in and I will oppose any ideology that is based on superstitious doctrine that is harmful to any human.

            You find faults in me because you do not like criticism of what is your life commitment and you call me a propagandist; I think if you check out the definitions it applies more to Christians. Propagandist: advocate, champion, supporter, promoter, proponent, exponent, campaigner, crusader, publicist, evangelist, apostle, proselytizer, indoctrinator; I rest my case.

            Like

          • @sklyjd

            My belief in Christianity requires me to spread the Good News. My belief in Christianity also requires me to allow you to accept or reject the Good News as you will. In fact, I have no reason to harass you. Christians spread the Good News, but it is God who softens the hearts of unbelievers. Once a Christian has told an unbeliever about Jesus, all we can do is set a good example and try to live as Jesus would have a live. Do you actually have an issue with the moral teachings of Jesus?

            So what do I or the vast majority of Christians have to apologize for? To God? Everything. To everyone else? Well, we probably could do a better job of spreading the Gospel and loving each other.

            You on the other hand? What you are doing makes no sense. What you spread is bad news and for what purpose. To improve society?

            Did you know that Atheism is an old idea. When Christians insisted upon worshiping only the one True God, the Romans were appalled. What about all the other gods? So the Romans called Christians Atheists.

            So how long has Atheism been around? Who really knows? But in all those years there has never been a society run by Atheists that did anything constructive.

            Do I find fault in you? Yes. For being an Atheist? No. What fault do I find? You cannot explain yourself. You are not responsive to questions or comments. All you do make silly accusations against Christians and make preposterous assertions. That’s just hostile and pointless.

            So you hate Christianity? What is new, different, or ingenious about that? Just as Jesus said they would, sinners have been hating Christianity for 2,000 years. You are just wasting your time.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Very good comment Tom.

            I think wasting time and distracting Christians with silliness is the point here. The more time we spend on people like Steve, the less we can spend doing good work or sowing seeds on fertile soil.

            James

            Liked by 1 person

      • James, that is definitely something I cannot get my head around, why would a child be that worried about what happens after death when they have their whole life ahead of them? Maybe psychologically this terrified you so much that was the catalyst to your religious faith.

        Since you are an adult and now closer to old age, have you also considered there may not be an eternal life, because with all the similar historic claims of past and present religions in the world, the scientific prognosis and alien theories the chances of a Christian heaven not existing must be considered by any thinking theist?

        Like

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