Sans God = Sans Truth, Goodness, and Beauty

In the previous post, I shared the disturbing story of the Levite’s concubine from Judges 19 and a narrative history of a “death of God” progression over the last century and a half of American history. Through the insane story in Judges, we find an example of what follows when a people abandon the moral law Giver and His moral law. In the brief recounting of America’s recent history, we find our country’s journey along a similar path. But Biblical stories from thousands of years ago can seem quite distant from the times and locations we inhabit, and a narrative history of the Baby Boomer generation’s rise can seem irrelevant as Boomers enter their senior years. In this post, I want to bring us back to more contemporary times and places nearer to our own to consider the pragmatic results of removing the Biblical God and the Judeo-Christian worldview from the substructure of America (specifically) and Western culture (in general). A worldview replacement that began to take root, most acutely, during the formative years of the Baby Boom generation.

What happens when God is gone?

I would be far from the first to think and write on this subject. Christian philosophers and theologians have long argued that the removal of God brings the loss of objective standards of truth, goodness (or morality), and beauty. The evidence in support of this claim seems quite substantial, though many atheistic thinkers contest it, citing evils done “in the name of God” or by “religious” people as reasons to doubt the arguments. But the atheist’s objections miss the bigger point. It is not that “religious” people cannot and do not do evil (they do) or that atheists cannot be “good” (they can). Rather, it is that a “Christian” who does wickedness and an atheist who endeavors to “do good” are both acting contrary to their worldviews. In the end, both are hypocrites. The greater point is this: Christians who endeavor to live according to their worldview will endeavor to be morally good, adhere to truth, and exemplify what is acceptable or beautiful. Atheists, on the other hand, if they live fully in accordance with their worldview, have no necessary reason to do any such things, or if others do not, atheists have no reason to judge or condemn. At least based solely upon their worldview.

Ideas have consequences!

Or said another way, as Jesus did in the Gospels, “Wisdom is justified by her children” (Luke 7:35).

For the Israel of 3,000 years ago, the outcome of departing from God was the atrocious activities outlined in Judges 19. Other examples abound in Scripture and throughout history. Such is true in our day too. What has resulted from the growing “Death-of-God” culture in America? Breakdowns in mental health. Distrust of institutions and authorities. Behavioral problems. Substance abuse. The failure of family. Increasing deaths of despair. But per Judges 19, I want to focus on one specific, nation-shaking event.

What happens when you raise an impressionable generation on a naturalistic worldview? What happens when you lead them through grade school, teaching them that they are the product of unguided randomness and undirected mutation over billions of years? What is the result when they are told the rule is survival of the fittest, might makes right, anything you want you can and should have, and ultimately there is no Judge in heaven or moral law under which one must submit?

What happens?

The year was 1999. Excitement was in the air as a new millennium was only months away. One of the first senior classes of the Baby Boomer’s children—the first “Millennials”—was just weeks away from high school graduation. On Tuesday, April 20th, at 11:19 am Mountain Time, high school seniors Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold opened fire on their classmates at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. For nearly fifty minutes, they detonated homemade bombs and fired 188 rounds of ammunition, killing twelve students and one teacher before taking their own lives.

Columbine was America’s first mass shooting massacre on a public-school campus. Since 1999, there have been hundreds. So many that now every student in America prepares for mass shootings with regular “Active Shooter Drills” and annual H.E.R.O. training, in which they learn to Hide, Escape, Run, and Overcome in the event of an on-campus shooting.

I can hear the objection: “Correlation is not causation!” — Correct.

The secularizing of society. The teaching of evolution. The removal of prayer in schools. The legalization of abortion. The degradation of the nuclear family. None of these are the cause of civilizational breakdowns or on-campus violence. But when moral relativism dominates and objective truth is set aside, do not be surprised when truth, goodness, and beauty disappear.

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