Unyielding despair. This is the conclusion of many great thinkers, when they consider the meaning of life, or rather its end result.
William Provine says, “Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear … There are no gods, no purposes, no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end for me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning to life, and no free will for humans, either. No inherent moral or ethical laws exist, nor are there any absolute guiding principles for human society. The universe cares nothing for us and we have no ultimate meaning in life”
Richard Dawkins recounts this in regards to a reaction to his book, The God Delusion: “A foreign publisher of my first book confessed the he could not sleep for three nights after reading it, so troubled was he by what he saw as its cold, bleak message. Others have asked me how I can bear to get up in the mornings. A teacher from a distant country wrote to me reproachfully that a pupil had come to him in tears after reading the same book, because it had persuaded her that life was empty and purposeless. He advised her not to show the book to any of her friends, for fear of contaminating them with the same nihilistic pessimism”. He also states, “Presumably there is indeed no purpose in the ultimate fate of the cosmos…”
Atheist chemist Peter Atkins says, “At root, there is only corruption, and the unstemmable tide of chaos. Gone is purpose; all that is left is direction. This is the bleakness we have to accept as we peer deeply and dispassionately into the heart of the Universe.”
Thomas Nagel: “It is often remarked that nothing we do now will matter in a million years. But if that is true, then by the same token, nothing that will be the case in a million years matters now.”
Jon Casimir: “Here’s what I think. There is no meaning of life. The whole thing is a gyp, a never-ending corridor to nowhere. What is passed off as an all-important search is basically just a bunch of philosophers scrabbling about on their knees, trying to find a lost sock in the cosmic laundromat.”
Existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre: “I existed like a stone, a plant, a microbe… I was just thinking… that here we are, all of us, eating and drinking, to preserve our precious existence and there’s nothing, nothing, absolutely no reason for existing.”
Many children and young adults feel this, and though they may not articulate this intuitive understanding of life as well as history’s ‘great’ philosophers, their actions will undoubtedly bear the signature of this belief. It is showcased in every school shooting, in every suicide, in every young, fatherless woman’s attempt to validate herself with random sexual encounters. It is ingrained in the psyche of every man unable to acquire power through leadership, when realization dawns that the days of his life, when overlayed on to the timeline of a 14 billion year old universe (so he is taught), amount to utterly nothing.
What is left then?
The reactions to this understanding are numerous. Escapism, filling the world with fantasy, and therefore meaning. Apathy, contentedness in not caring, at least not in the deeper questions of life. Helping others or leading others, a legacy mentality, which often degrades into the next option; self-service, to pleasure ones self with power, materialism, or physical contact. There is also pain and violence, sadism and masochism; pick your poison. A rebellion against life, an acting upon the resentment one has for being forced to live for no reason.
Consider Bertrand Russell’s explanation of life, in Free Man’s Worship. “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 henceforth be safely built.”
Are you depressed yet?
If there is hope, why not illustrate that hope, so that we do not have to trudge through this darkness of thought? Why carry on with such a heinous and nihilistic outlook?
Because, to appreciate the good, you must understand how bad it is. To be thankful for light, you must experience darkness.
I have, and will continue to offer evidences concerning the authenticity of our Biblical narrative. It is a beautiful and fulfilling study. But sometimes, we must look at what the alternative would yield. In regards to the common mindset of leaders within the atheistic evolution worldview, Henry M Morris says, “But the one common theme in all – Darwin, Lyell, Wallace, Erasmus Darwin, Lamarck, Marx, and indeed most all the rest – was hatred of God as Creator, Christ as Savior, and the bible as God’s Word.”
These wholly depressing views about our lives, our purpose, are inexorably the conclusions one must come to as an atheist. If you don’t, you are ignoring the realities of your presupposition. You are escaping the inevitable. And in the spirit of escaping this reality, we have the very apropos season fast approaching where Santa brings presents to quell the need of instant gratification, while simultaneously David Silverman, president of American Atheists, launches their yearly anti-Christmas, anti-God campaign.
But the gift of Jesus Christ being born, and the reason Christians celebrate the season, is an acknowledgement of hope and love that surpasses all expectation, and conquers all the darkness with its light. In this event we hold a memorial to that which God did, enabling us to find meaning in all that we do. In this event, and those that followed, God revealed that all His promises were true, that His scriptures could be trusted and His words had authority, and that death itself was defeated. With the birth of our Lord and Savior, God abolished darkness forever, allowed victory over sin, and proved that each person meant something, because they were loved by an infinite creator.
Yes, atheistic thought and evolutionary materialism has caused an endless amount of evil and havoc. And fallen man will continue until his last days to rail against the reality of a creator God, so that he can rationalize his own evil. But you need not succumb to the same empty, hopeless conclusions that atheists’ must. You can instead grow your faith in the Word of God, and meditate on how much you are loved, how the inheritance of Christ has been shared with you for all eternity, for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. It is worth celebrating, and this Christmas, I hope you do.
Luke 2: 6-14
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.