A World without God

A World without God December 19, 2013

We hear it all the time. How we’ve moved into a post-Christian era. A time and place where children are growing up far removed from the faiths of generations before them. 

Imagine, John Lennon said, there’s no hell below us, no heaven above, only sky. Imagine a world of no religion, all the people living for today.

Imagine the whole of history void of Creator God.

What about the beauty?

What about the goodness?

What about the creative?

Imagine a world where there is no Sistine Chapel, no Florence Cathedral.

No Michelangelo, no Makoto Fujimura.

No Dorothy Day, no Mother Theresa.

No Martin Luther, no Martin Luther King Jr.

No Protests on the Door of Wittenberg Chapel, no Letters from a Birmingham Jail.

No St. Peter’s Basilica, no Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres.

No Saint John of the Cross, no “Dark Night of the Soul”.

No John 3:16, no Billy Graham.

No Book of Common Prayer, no Scriptures, whatsoever.

No della Francesca Baptism of the Christ, no da Vinci Adoration of the Magi.

No Handel, no Hallelujiah Chorus.

Imagine a world absent of inspiration and adoration.

What need, then, would we even have of the word Hallelujah?

To whom would we utter our thanks?

Would Praise even be a word we know?

Would Prayer?

Would Hope?

Would Joy?



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  • kenofken

    As a post-Christian (but no atheist) myself, I can tell you it’s not as bleak as all that.

    • Karen Zacharias

      Not as bleak as all that? I think a world without Dorothy Day, Mother Teresa, MJL Jr., Billy Graham and the goodness inspired by Creator God would be a pretty bleak existence. I find nothing romantic about living in the world where the highest level of existence is to please one’s self first and foremost.

      • kenofken

        You propose a false dichotomy in which there is only your religion on the one hand or absolute nihilism on the other. You suppose that “post-Christian” must mean a world completely sterilized of all traces of Christian practice, mythology, memory or culture and that anyone alive in it must be hard atheists with no moral compass or empathy whatsoever.

        None of this has any basis in the real world, including in countries which have been far more deeply “post Christian” for decades now. Much of Western Europe and all of Scandinavia has weekly church attendance rates hovering at or in the single digits. They still have Cathedrals, and choirs and art.

        I’ve been to some of these countries, and I can tell you they have a far better respect for creativity and beauty and a much more balanced sense of “the good life” than we do. Their quality of life is higher than ours by almost any measure you care to apply, and their violent crime and imprisonment rates are many decimal places lower than ours. When I was in Amsterdam in 2006, they were still talking about one murder that had happened a decade prior. The dozen or so that had happened in my city just the week before were routine back page news.

        They still have people who do selfless things and fight for social causes and the oppressed. Some still do so out of Christian values. Others from tenets in other religions and many others just from plain old human empathy. They don’t have as pressing a need for people like Dorothy Day because their public policies don’t allow the staggering inequalities and squalid poverty of Social Darwinism that we favor (and then band-aid over with faith-based programs).

        Post-Christian does not mean a world scrubbed of all traces of Christian religion. It means that Christians no longer have the universal demographic lock on societies which allowed them to legislate their beliefs on everyone else. It means our country must finally live up to the promise of democratic pluralism. It also can mean that Christians, like the rest of us, will be able to live their beliefs authentically and personally rather than through cultural and demographic inertia.

        • Karen Zacharias

          I’m confused,tho.How do you have a culture acting out “Christian” values if we really had a world completely void of a Christian God? No. You are right none of this has any basis in the real world. I’m only asking you to imagine it for a moment if you can. I have also been to other countries that I think do a much better job of living out Christian values than we do. Still, trying to imagine those countries without their cathedrals, their art, their music, their writers, their thinkers who have been inspired by Christian faith is difficult to do. Certainly seems a bleak world in those countries,too, if you imagine erasing God from the whole of history and mankind.

          • kenofken

            If we somehow hit the “replay” button and ran the whole program with no memory of Christian faith, I’m not sure we’d have the perspective to be able to miss it.

            We can, however, get some insight into your question because the world did run without a Christian God or religion for most of human history, a few thousand years of which left us decent records. The ancient world of Greece, Rome and Egypt (among others), were hardly “bleak”. They produced such a treasure of art, science and culture that were not matched for a thousand years in the Christian West.

            We can also look to countries and regions which, while not untouched by Christianity, were only minimally evangelized or converted, such as the Baltic countries or Japan. We may or may not like or understand all aspects of their cultures, but it would be a stretch to say they had no richness or inspiration in their cultural heritages.

          • Karen Zacharias

            Ahhh…but they did not create from a void. They had their gods.

          • kenofken

            Of course they did. I myself worship some of them. I’m not at all arguing for the superiority of atheism. I’m just offering some counterpoint to what seems to be a thesis that says all human endeavor and experience would be a sort of bleak wasteland without your own religion or God as you know him.

          • Karen Zacharias

            I don’t own any religion or Creator God. I come from Judeo-Christian background, so naturally, speak from that tradition. But the bigger point is that when we create a world where the whole of humanity is erased of a Creator God, then what we are left with is pretty dismal.

          • You only think this because are are a host for the god-virus. It is difficult for you to imagine life without this imprisoning dependency. I can speak from personal experience. Life without a belief in a creator god (or any sort of god) is not the least bit dismal. Since becoming an atheist, I have found life to be far more meaningful and I am more fully engaged in it than I ever was a Christian. The bleak picture that Christians try to paint, of life without god is nothing less than propaganda.

      • Are you really this uninformed and shortsighted or are you merely patronizing your audience? Why not take some time and learn about humanism. It might tear down the straw man which you are proposing.

      • njavi

        please research those people you mentioned. For example, Mother Teresa was one of the most cold hearted, hateful people to ever live.

  • Sneezeguard

    You know Buddhists don’t have a Creator God and they still managed to make a bunch of pretty temples/artworks/musics and so on and so forth.

    • swordcrossrocket

      Buddhism is a very nihilistic religion though. The idea that the individual self should be snuffed in order to be free from suffering is not something that the western mind would like to live under. Most westerners just like the exotic nature of it, but the theology and metaphysics go right out the window.

      • Corey

        Which denomination of Buddhism are u speaking for? Just like all religions there are many branches some even teaching complete opposite ideology

  • ThisIsTheEnd

    Ask the Chinese. They’ve spent centuries without much regard for God.

  • The Christian church refuses to do what Thomas Jefferson did 200 years ago, when he created the Jefferson Bible, i.e., separate the pagan dying rising solar deity that Paul attributed to Jesus from Jesus’ beautiful ethical teachings.

    “It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills.” ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, January 24, 1814

    If the church cannot begin to separate the diamonds from the dunghills, then the diamonds of Jesus, sadly, gets tossed out in toto, and people move on to other expressions of wonderment, beauty, inspiration, adoration.

    “So forget Jesus. The stars died so you could be here today.” ~Lawrence Krauss

  • Corey

    Post Christian? On what planet? Have you missed the boat on all the Jesus talk while banning books, art and movies in the USA. How about all the bible talk to help make anti-gay laws and anti-woman laws. What I see is the most powerful Christians that came here, like Columbus and the Puritans were some of the nastiest Christians. Then add the KKK, and any other time in our history when we wanted to end oppression of minorities… Nasty Christians came out from the caves. It was nice Christians who would do good, so yes I agree they are few and far between but we have a congress full of the nasty ones running our country…. They aren’t going anywhere and are the first to destroy any art program they can.

    • jcol1

      If you were to write a book that inspires others to do much evil for their own pleasure, to harm others for self gratification, and condemning what is good and just, then Christian or not, I will do all I can to burn everything you publish of such nature! All peoples of all cultures of all faiths have their bad among them who need to see a better light. We humans are still evolving and in the process, Christianity has also done much good.
      How’s that speck in your eye is it malignant yet? I’m working daily on trying to deal with mine as well!

      • njavi

        The crusades and the inquisition were very good! (rolling my eyes at your ignorance)

  • JT Rager

    “Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars — mere globs of
    gas atoms. Nothing is “mere.” I too can see the stars on a desert night,
    and feel them. But do I see less or more? The vastness of the heavens
    stretches my imagination — stuck on this carousel my little eye can catch
    one million year old light… What is the pattern, or the meaning, or the
    why? It does not do harm to the mystery to know a little about it. For
    far more marvelous is the truth than any artists of the past imagined!”

    -Richard Feynman, a staunch atheist, and one of the most beautiful minds I have ever had the privilege of coming across.

    • Karen Zacharias

      Richard said it best when he said it stretches his imagination. Perhaps Atheism is the result of a lack of imagination.

      • JT Rager

        Perhaps your imagination has never been stretched due to nature because you have never looked at the way things really are.

        “It shows that the imagination of nature is far, far greater than the imagination of man. For instance, how much more remarkable it is for us all to be stuck – half of us upside down – by a mysterious attraction to a spinning ball that has been swinging in space for billions of years than to be carried on the back of an elephant supported on a tortoise swimming in a bottomless sea.”

        -Richard Feynman

  • Anton

    No inquisition?


  • tehsilentone

    Martin Luther -> Wanted to destroy the Jews

    Martin Luther King Jr -> shouldn’t be placed next to Martin Luther in a list