German Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), writing in The Gay Science, declared that, “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers” (Sect. 125, The Madman).
For Nietzsche, the decline of religion, the absence of an objective moral authority and the rise of atheism would plunge the world into chaos. Belief in God had given order to society and meaning to life for thousands of years. Nietzsche feared that God’s absence from the public arena and His demotion to the mundane would threaten society to a life that is without objective meaning or purpose. And he was right.
Christopher Panza, writing in Existentialism For Dummies, comments.
“Does his death mean life is meaningless? The answer to the question is simple. It’s yes. Well, and no, actually. ‘God’ … has been the source and keeper of all value and meaning in the world. When you ‘kill God’ you lose this. As Nietzsche says, you ‘wipe away the entire horizon.’ When you remove this heavenly horizon, you’re left in a world without meaning” (p. 25).
Nietzsche was a contributing voice in the rise of existentialism, the “philosophy of existence … the philosophy that makes an authentically human life possible in a meaningless and absurd world. … Existentialists reject not only traditional religious systems that attempt to systematically provide pat answers, but also the possibility of any ultimate answers. … For the existentialists, life is absurd; it makes no sense and has no meaning or ultimate purpose, but human beings need it to make sense, to have meaning and purpose. … Only after the death of God can you face the meaninglessness of the world and realize it’s up to you to take responsibility for the direction of your own life” (Existentialism, pp. 1, 9, 12, 25).
And that is what is happening in America today. Although we may not follow existentialism as a formal philosophy, we have become existentialist in thought and practice. God, as an effective force, has been put out of existence. He has been expelled from our educational institutions, banished from government, and compromised by the institutional church.
As a result, we have inherited a generation of godless brats. Educated without an objective standard of right and wrong, and for whom God is, indeed, dead, we claim to be surprised at the evil and mayhem they can create. And yet with every wake-up call, while Washington agonizes over solutions that might stem the tide of evil, few are the voices that call for America to get back to God.
And what, may I ask, about life after death? There are only two ways you can go with this. You can take the position that you’re “good enough … if anyone can make it I’ll be just fine.” Or you can believe, with Carl Sagan, that “the Cosmos is all there is or was or ever will be” and that there is no life after death. But the Bible says, and Carl Sagan now knows, you are wrong — on both counts.
But God has not abandoned us. When life has lost its meaning, when our actions have brought devastating consequences, when we know instinctively we aren’t ready to meet God, He has given us a perfect solution: His Name is Jesus. If He is trying to get your attention … don’t shut Him out