My Conversation with an Atheist

“Hell is the greatest monument to human freedom”- C.S Lewis

In one of my recent conversations with an atheist about her belief that there is no God, she found the idea of atheism liberating. She said that when she embraced the thought that I don’t need a God, she felt free from guilt. Now I can do things without the fear of a God reprimanding me.

Her statement made me think. Would that mean that the standard of morality would be what she believes is right and wrong for someone like her who doesn’t believe in a God? In that case, what could be wrong now, could be right fifteen years from now. Or what could be right today can be wrong fifteen years from now, depending on how the majority of the culture sees right or wrong.

Would that also mean that I am my own God? I control my morality, and I get to dictate what I believe is right.

In his essay “The Discreet Charms of Nihilism,” Nobel Prize-winning Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz commented on Karl Marx’s statement that religion is the opiate of the people because the promise of the afterlife led the poor and the working class to put up with their conditions. He debunked this with the change in modern society, saying,

“And now we are witnessing a transformation. A true opium of the people is a belief in nothingness after death – the huge solace of thinking that our betrayals, greed, cowardice, murders are not going to be judged… but all religions recognize that our deeds are imperishable.” (taken from Reason for God, Tim Keller, p75)

The challenge with a generation who wants a God to forgive but not a God who judges is that we might make up our own God or make ourselves our personal God.

The belief that there is a God who gives us a standard of what is right and wrong is not old-fashioned, ancient thinking. It is a reality that we must live by if we want a working world not ruled by relativism but by an absolute standard of what is right and wrong.

If we want to fight for fundamental human rights, we need standards. We need a basis when we want to expose what’s wrong with our culture and the world. We need a standard that never changes. We need God.

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