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 God. For every thousand students who learn
about the Spanish Inquisition and the Salem Witch Trials, maybe two learn to
associate Gulag, Auschwitz, The Cultural Revolution, and the Cambodian genocide
with secular regimes and ideologies.
For all the problems associated with belief in God, the death of God
leads to far more of them.
So, while it is not possible to prove (or disprove) God's existence, what
is provable is what happens when people stop believing in
1. Without God 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
God are good; there are good atheists and there are bad believers in God. 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 do "beautiful" and "ugly."
2. Without God, 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
3. Life is ultimately a tragic fare if there is no God. We live, we
suffer, we die -- some horrifically, many prematurely -- and there is only
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 God, the kindest and most innocent victims of torture
and murder have no better a fate after death than do the most cruel torturers
and mass murderers. Only if there is a good God 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 God, 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, that
perceived differences between the sexes are 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 God, 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 that transcends genes and environment who implanted
the ability to transcend genes and environment can humans have free
9. If there is no God, humans and "other" animals are of equal value.
Only if one posits that humans, not animals, are created in the image of God do
humans have any greater intrinsic sanctity than baboons. This explains the
movement among the secularized elite to equate humans and
10. Without God, 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
11. Without God 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 God, humanist hubris is almost inevitable. If there is
nothing higher than man, no Supreme Being, man becomes the supreme being.
13. Without God, 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 God," Dostoevsky famously wrote, "all is permitted." There
has been plenty of evil committed by believers in God, 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, God's existence. It makes the case for the necessity, not the
existence, of God. "Which God?" the secularist will ask. The God of Israel, the
God of America's founders, "the Holy God who is made holy by justice" (Isaiah),
the God of the Ten Commandments, the God who demands love of neighbor, the God
who endows all human beings with certain inalienable rights, the God who is
cited on the Liberty Bell because he is the author of liberty. That is the God
being referred to here, without whom we will be vanquished by those who believe
in less noble gods, both secular and divine.