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If there is no G-d

We are constantly reminded about the destructive consequences of religion — intolerance, hatred, division, inquisitions, persecutions of “heretics,” holy wars. Though far from the whole story, they are, nevertheless, true. There have been many awful consequences of religion.

What one almost never hears described are the deleterious consequences of secularism — the terrible developments that have accompanied the breakdown of traditional religion and belief in G-d.

For every thousand students who learn about the Spanish Inquisition and the Salem Witch Trials, maybe two learn to associate the Gulag, Auschwitz, China’s Cultural Revolution and the Cambodian genocide with secular regimes and ideologies.

For all the problems associated with belief in G-d, the death of G-d leads to far more of them.

While it is not possible to prove (or disprove) G-d’s existence, what is provable is what happens when people stop believing in G-d.

1. Without G-d, there is no good and evil; there are only subjective opinions that we then label “good” and “evil.”

This does not mean that an atheist cannot be a good person. Nor does it mean that all those who believe in G-d are good; there are good atheists and bad believers. It simply means that unless there is a moral authority that transcends humans from which emanates an objective right and wrong, “right” and “wrong” no more objectively exist than “beautiful” and “ugly.”

2. Without G-d, there is no objective meaning to life.

We are all merely random creations of natural selection whose existence has no more intrinsic purpose or meaning than that of a pebble equally randomly produced.

3. Without G-d, life is ultimately a tragic fare.

We live, we suffer, we die — some horrifically, many prematurely — and there is only oblivion afterward.

4. Human beings need instruction manuals. This is as true for acting morally and wisely as it is for properly flying an airplane. One’s heart is often no better a guide to what is right and wrong than it is to the right and wrong way to fly an airplane.

The post-religious secular world claims to need no manual; the heart and reason are sufficient guides to leading a good life and to making a good world.

5. If there is no G-d, the kindest and most innocent victims of torture and murder have no better fate after death than the most cruel torturers and mass murderers.

Only if there is a good G-d do Mother Teresa and Adolf Hitler have different fates.

6. With the death of Judeo-Christian values in the West, many Westerners believe in little.

That is why secular Western Europe has been unwilling and therefore unable to confront evil, whether it was Communism during the Cold War or Islamic totalitarians in its midst today.

7. Without G-d, people in the West often become less, not more, rational.

It was largely the secular, not the religious, who believed in the utterly irrational doctrine of Marxism. It was largely the secular, not the religious, who believed that men’s and women’s natures are basically the same, who perceived the differences between the sexes as all socially induced.

Religious people in Judeo-Christian countries largely confine their irrational beliefs to religious beliefs (theology), while the secular, without religion to enable the non-rational to express itself, end up applying their irrational beliefs to society, where such irrationalities do immense harm.

8. If there is no G-d, the human being has no free will. He is a robot, whose every action is dictated by genes and environment.

Only if one posits human creation by a Creator Who implanted the ability to transcend genes and environment can humans have free will.

9. If there is no G-d, humans and “other” animals are of equal value.

Only if one posits that humans, not animals, are created in the image of G-d do humans have any greater intrinsic sanctity than baboons.

This explains the movement among the secularized elite to equate humans and animals.

10. Without G-d, there is little to inspire people to create inspiring art. That is why contemporary art galleries and museums are filled with “art” that celebrates the scatological, the ugly and the shocking.

Compare this art to Michelangelo’s art in the Sistine chapel. The latter elevates the viewer — because Michelangelo believed in something higher than himself and higher than all people.

11. Without G-d, nothing is holy. This is definitional. Holiness emanates from a belief in the holy.

This explains, for example, the far more widespread acceptance of public cursing in secular society than in religious society.

To the religious, there is holy speech and profane speech. In much of secular society the very notion of profane speech is mocked.

12. Without G-d, humanist hubris is almost inevitable. If there is nothing higher than man, no Supreme Being, man becomes the supreme being.

13. Without G-d, there are no inalienable human rights.

Evolution confers no rights. Molecules confer no rights. Energy has no moral concerns.

That is why America’s Founders wrote in the Declaration of Independence that we are endowed “by our Creator” with certain inalienable rights. Rights depend upon a moral source, a rights giver.

14. “Without G-d,” Dostoevsky famously wrote, “all is permitted.”

There has been plenty of evil committed by believers in G-d, but the widespread cruelties and the sheer number of innocents murdered by secular regimes — specifically Nazi, Fascist and Communist regimes — dwarfs the evil done in the name of religion.

As noted at the beginning, none of this proves, or even necessarily argues for, G-d’s existence.

It makes the case for the necessity, not the existence, of G-d.

“Which G-d?” the secularist will ask.

The G-d of Israel, the G-d of America’s founders, “the Holy G-d who is made holy by justice” (Isaiah), the G-d of the Ten Commandments, the G-d who demands love of neighbor, the G-d who endows all human beings with certain inalienable rights, the G-d who is cited on the Liberty Bell, because he is the author of liberty.

That is the G-d referred to here, without Whom we will be vanquished by those who believe in less noble gods, both secular and divine.

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Columnist | Conservative Lens

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