Did you see this campaign on the buses?
John Lennon says –
Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
But what are the implications? Are there any consequences to these statements for society or our lives? Is society a better place without God? Can we even enjoy our lives without God?
Pete Lowman in his book – East of Eden, uncovers some of the implications that are truly disturbing when you take God out of the picture.
“Thus our `post-God’ culture is marked by the pressures – and wrecks – of the battle to create our own identity and self-worth.”
Well lets start with imagining there is a God what does that mean for us? Lowman says:
“We can look at ourselves in the mirror and know that, with all our follies and weaknesses, we are each, already, a unique masterpiece, from the greatest craftsman in the universe. Just as every drawing by Picasso has tremendous value because Picasso made it, so we as God’s unique creations have unimaginable, intrinsic worth. Further, each child of God now has a unique gifting from the Spirit, indispensable and irreplaceable (1 Cor 12:7,21-26). Believers in God have excellent reasons to believe also in their own value. “
If there is a God then we have worth, identity, made in his image, created for love and all good things on the earth to enjoy and ultimately to enjoy God himself.
But if there is no God. Then where do we get our worth from? L’Oreal? Friendships? Fashion? Food? Sex? Our jobs?
Sure, for a while that might work out – we get promoted, we get married, we have best friends amazing hair and fashion…But what happens when we get old? Or our marriage changes and breaks down? Or our boyfriend/girlfriend dumps us or we get fired. Where is our worth then but fleeting away with all of the things we put our hope in. Its gone. And suddenly we are feeling depressed and worthless.
Pete Lowman writes: “having lost sight of the Creator God who loves us, we become forced into a destructive struggle to create our own self-worth. It’s not an ‘inevitable’ crisis; it’s directly and logically linked to our loss of God.”
This just doesn’t affect our identity, but a loss of God affects our purpose, ethics and love for each other.
Lowman writes again:
“What is worth doing? What am I living for? I have the privilege maybe of getting a qualification, getting a job, working for money for food to have energy to go back to work again, to earn money for more food to go on working… around the circle for 50 years; then what remains goes into a box, and the box into the ground. If we believed in God, we could believe in a Father with a plan that makes our direction in life – our calling, or `vocation’ – significant. But if there is no such purpose?”
Why are we even here?
Our whole society (especially in the west) is striving for some self-worth and identity. But it is lost without God and it is incomplete and unsatisfactory without him. Are we just a piece of meat?
“All kinds of materialism lead one to treat every man including oneself as an object’, suggested the French existentialist thinker Sartre; ‘that is, as a set of predetermined reactions, in no way different from the patterns of qualities or phenomena which constitute a table or a chair or a stone’.
And perhaps you look at the idea of God and you say “no thank you… he isn’t what I want”… and you are right but you are only right if you are looking at the wrong god. In the next post I am going to look at what the wrong god looks like and why we don’t want him and why it doesn’t solve our problem with identity and self-worth.