If there is no God, who are we?

R ZachariasIf there is no God, what does it mean to be human? Who are we in our essence? If we don’t know what it is to be human, what is humanism? There are seven different humanistic theories of who we are, from the one end of Huxley to Ayn Rand to Joseph Fletcher. You just have all of these various definitions from ego-centric humanism to love is the ethic; on what basis? So we are now standing with our feet planted firmly in mid-air. I would say, while theoretically a person may block God out, logically there will be a breakdown because ultimately all enunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind. And if that moral doctrine is not absolute then the definer himself becomes undefined. That’s what we are living with – an undefined definer giving us definitions for our course, and we are being trapped in the quicksand of the absence of objective truth.

— Ravi Zacharias

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11 thoughts on “If there is no God, who are we?

      • In response, let me quote William Lane Craig: “Without a divine lawgiver, there can be no objective right and wrong, only our culturally and personally relative, subjective judgments. This means that it is impossible to condemn war, oppression, or crime as evil. Nor can one praise brotherhood, equality, and love as good. For in a universe without God, good and evil do not exist—there is only the bare valueless fact of existence, and there is no one to say that you are right and I am wrong.”

        Philosophers like Albert Camus and John Paul Sartre have been honest and clear sighted enough to recognize that atheism leaves us with an absence of any objective moral laws and duties. Dostoevsky once said: “If God does not exist, everything is permitted.” He was right. But no atheist can really live this way, so what he ends up doing is to borrow values from monotheism. It’s the only way to avoid the absurd conclusions that come from trying to live in a world without God.

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  1. I’m not sure how the ‘if’ is rightly followed by the question… why is knowing who we are as human beings somehow ‘dependent’ on the existence of a God? doesn’t follow. -mike

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    • The Judeo-Christian understanding of human beings is that we are created beings, made in the image and likeness of a loving God. Our “humanness” has to do with our relatedness to God. We exist inside His story. This gives us a reference point outside of ourselves that defines us and gives dignity, purpose, and value to our existence. If a Maker does not exist, we flounder and grope around as we try to figure out the meaning of our existence. We end up having to “create” our own meaning. We write our own story—which basically amounts to fiction.

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      • And your continued silence on my question illustrates why my original comment said FD’S statement and your answers were the very definition of faith. Forsaking all I trust him

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      • It is a popular myth that science and faith are at odds. But, how could the study of God’s creation and the study of God’s revelation really conflict? He is the author of both. Conflicts arise from our limited understanding (“we all see through a glass darkly”) and our unfounded assumptions (“science falsely so called” 1 Tim. 6:20). If we were smart enough to understand both with absolute clarity, there would be no contradictions. Unfortunately, we don’t. Meanwhile let’s walk in the light of Him who is the way, the truth and the life, confident that “the truth is in Jesus” (Eph. 4:21).

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  2. I have to say that Ravi is the least coherent apologist I have ever encountered. I know many Christians think he is profound, but I find his work obscure and sometimes impenetrable. To their credit, other Christian apologists, like William Lane Craig, at least present arguments that are clear enough to bear examination. Ravi seems to delight in offering us opaque “insights” that seem deep, but aren’t even shallow.

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