Without God, we are faced with the horrible choice of living in a dreamlike fantasy world or in a nightmarish reality. News, entertainment, sports and politics are designed to amuse and distract us. In many ways, today’s news and politics are also designed to infuriate and separate us over issues that are peripheral at best. We are pelted with digital uppers and digital downers 24/7, but seldom are we hit with anything really worthy of our attention or deserving of the reaction we have to it. Those hardy spirits who dig deep, who go below the superficial world of distractions, generally find a reality far worse than the distractions. Yes, we may (and should!) find plenty of wonderful things in the worldly reality that lies beneath these distractions. But in the worldly realm, it seems as though every good thing is offset by a bad thing; to cite but one example, the splendors of nature are cancelled out by the horrors of depraved indifference to the environment.
Without God, there is no good way to come to terms with the harshness, unfairness and depravity that exist in the world. This is because if we limit ourselves to what we experience through our senses, all we will ever be able to see is a perplexing and purposeless stew of good and bad. At times it feels like we are making progress; at other times it feels like we are in a race to the bottom, to destruction. This is the case when we look at ourselves as individuals or as our culture on the whole.
Without God, we are on a path that ends in cold isolation. Human relationships change and erode. Our passions twist and turn and eventually wither away. Yes, we can persevere and live good lives while believing these things are true, but it is very easy to give up or give in. We give up when we stop looking for truth beyond what we can sense; we give in when we simply think and behave like the herd or to satisfy our passions (which often amounts to the same thing).
With Easter only days away, it is worth pondering these words from G.K. Chesterton:
“On the third day the friends of Christ coming at daybreak to the place found the grave empty and the stone rolled away. In varying ways they realised the new wonder; but even they hardly realised that the world had died in the night. What they were looking at was the first day of a new creation, with a new heaven and a new earth; and in a semblance of the gardener God walked again in the garden, in the cool not of the evening but the dawn.” — (from The Everlasting Man)