Bulletin Banner

Return to 2nd Quarter 2020 articles.

The title is Five Things I Would Not Have without God--the picture is a cross with sky in the background with and opening in the shape of a heart.

I lived for 20 years as a committed, evangelistic, aggressive atheist. For many more years, I have lived a life based on belief in God. The difference is huge! Here are five things I would not have without God.

1. I would not have a meaningful explanation for why there is something instead of nothing.

Something, Nothing green road sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

If there is no God, then the creation is meaningless. Even if a model is eventually constructed that explains how time, matter/energy and space came into existence, the purpose of the existence of time and space remains unanswered. The existence of God, who is defined as love, goodness, peace, and the Creator of all kinds of beauty, opens the door for an understanding of the things we all enjoy. The struggle between good and evil gives us a role to play as sentient beings who can choose and facilitate love, goodness, and beauty. Being created in the image of God embodies our very makeup, so there is a reason for us to exist, which in turn means that there is a reason for something to exist instead of blind, silent, unthinking nothingness.

2. I would be relegated to a life that involves only “survival of the fittest.”

Middle age man with grey hair moving hands showing refusal.

If there is no God, then each of us is independent of any responsibility for anyone or anything else. Why would I do or give anything to anyone or anything else that would detract from my own existence? If the strong survive and the weak die, why would I not want to devote myself to being strong? The foundation of survival of the fittest is not only being strong but also being selfish and dominant. There is no room for altruism in a belief system that tells me to make sure I am the best and the strongest and the smartest. Looking after “number one” is my passion and guide to behavior.

3. I would have no fixed standard of moral behavior.

Hand of man pointing something to a child in the Bible book.

To be the strongest and most fit, I must have a moral standard that accommodates those attributes. That means that I must have a flexible moral standard so that I can adapt it to what fits me the best. My sexual morals must match my physical capabilities. My concept of ownership must revolve around my capabilities. There are times when lying will promote my station in life. Deception in the natural world is a key to survival in many situations, so why would it not be a part of my basis for making moral decisions? If there is no God, then trust ceases to exist. No contract of any kind has meaning if there are no absolute concepts of what is right and what is wrong.

4. I would have no basis for secure family relationships — neither physical, emotional, nor spiritual.

Young family of four sitting on the sofa reading a book together.

All the ingredients of “family” are rooted in the concept of there being a God. Terminating a life when that life has no spokesperson is a function of one's moral behavior. Abortion and involuntary euthanasia are both functions of rejecting the value of all human life. The survival of the fittest necessarily places one in the position of rejecting family when that family interferes with your fitness. Belief in God fosters a desire to have a role that puts others above yourself and breeds love and fulfilling peace. It even spreads to those of like faith so that brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, and children can be family even if there is not a blood relationship.

5. I would have no hope for anything beyond this life.

People donating food to charity food bank.

If there is no God, then our entire existence is couched in what happens in this life. If I am not fit, then death is the best I can hope for because I will never be in a positive survival mode no matter how hard I struggle. If I am fit, it will only be for a short time when old age makes me less fit. Faith in God means that whatever my lot in this life, this is the worst thing I will ever experience. I have great hope for what lies ahead and obeying and serving God, which means serving others is a real joy for me.

I lived for 20 years as a committed, evangelistic, aggressive atheist. I experienced all five of those things and saw it in my atheist family and my atheist friends. For many years I have lived a life based on belief in God. It has not always been easy, and I have failed in many ways. But if someone were to convince me there is no God, I would still want to be a Christian, because I have seen the love and hope and joy of living as Christ has called us to live. The evidence for the existence of God is massive, and that elevates the importance of the five things I would not have without him.

— John N. Clayton

Picture credits:
Title illustration: © VladisChern. Image from BigStock.com
© Andy Dean Photography. Image from BigStock.com
© georgemuresan. Image from BigStock.com
© Krakenimages.com. Image from BigStock.com
Bottom two images: © monkeybusinessimag. Images from BigStock.com

Scripture links/references are from BibleGateway.com. Unhighlighted scriptures can be looked up at their website.