Having given up God
so as to be self-sufficient,
man has lost track of his soul.
He looks in vain for himself.
He finds masks, and behind
Man has always lost his way. He has been a tramp ever since Eden; but he always knew, or thought he knew, what he was looking for. Every man has a house somewhere in the elaborate cosmos; his house waits for him . . . Man has always been looking for that home . . . But in the bleak and blinding hail of skepticism to which he has been now so long subjected, he has begun for the first time to be chilled, not merely in his hopes, but in his desires. For the first time in history he begins really to doubt the object of his wanderings on the earth. He has always lost his way; but now he has lost his address.
–G. K. Chesterton,
What’s Wrong With the World
Old-school atheists like Friedrich Nietzsche
recognized that atheism utterly failed
to answer the most profound of human questions,
and thus atheism, he believed, led inexorably
Nowadays, most atheists are very uncomfortable with nihilism and want to distance themselves from their intellectual forefathers. Just because God doesn’t exist doesn’t mean that life can’t be vibrant and meaningful, right?
Well, it seems that not every atheist has abandoned Nietzsche’s insights. Atheist professor Alex Rosenberg provides the following summary of atheism’s answers to life’s most profound questions:
Is there a God? No.
What is the nature of reality? What physics says it is.
What is the purpose of the universe? There is none.
What is the meaning of life? Ditto.
Why am I here? Just dumb luck.
Is there a soul? Are you kidding?
Is there free will? Not a chance!
What is the difference between right/wrong, good/bad? There is no moral difference between them.
He concludes, “So much for the meaning of history, and everything else we care about.”
Rosenberg left out other depressing atheist answers like the following:
Will there be justice for all those who have been wronged? No way.
Is there life after death? Are you joking?
Where did mankind come from? A prebiotic slime.
Wow! What a positive outlook on life! No wonder more people don’t become atheists. It casts such a stunning vision for mankind, doesn’t it?
When belief in God becomes difficult, the tendency is to turn away from Him—but in heaven’s name to what?
[T]his belief [in God] is vanishing from the human mind… and if one assumes that no sanction can ever be effective except the supernatural one, it is clear what follows. There is no wisdom except in the fear of God; but nobody fears God; therefore there is no wisdom. Man’s history reduces itself to the rise and fall of material civilizations, one Tower of Babel after another. In that case we can be pretty certain what is ahead of us. Wars and yet more wars, revolutions and counter-revolutions, Hitlers and super-Hitlers — and so downwards into abysses which are horrible to contemplate…
Notes on the Way, 1940