The Absurdity of Life Without God
Many of you may have been asked, "How can you believe that God exists?" Many people today simply deny that God exists at all. They usually also deny that there is any existence for man after death. There is no God, and there is no life after death.
One way you can respond to this is to show the absurdity of life without God. From the beginning, however, realize that this is but a stepping stone on the way to bring the Gospel. This will not prove that Christianity is true. This can only show the atheist, the unbeliever, that he has no foundation for the meaning, value and purpose of his life.
Without God, Life has No Meaning
All of life, for the atheist, becomes a theatre of the absurd. Science tells us that we are but accidental, chance products of an evolutionary process, for our modern society has gotten rid of God. But by getting rid of God, Western society has rejected all hope. Like all other living things, man must die. Every man, woman and child is but a spark in the blackness. Each person's life is but a tiny moment in the endless stretch of time. Every man must die and so cease to exist. If God does not exist then when they die they will no longer be. Everything has appeared out of nothing and sooner or later will disappear into a void. But if a man ceases to exist at death what meaning is there to his life? He can only hope that he will be remembered for a short while. His contribution to the human race is without significance for the human race is doomed. If God does not exist then there is no meaning to anything.
We see this in the hopelessness of our society. It shows in the art and music of our day. It appears in the philosophy and science. Everywhere there is hopelessness. A hopelessness that only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can cure. Some try to bring meaning to this lost world but the best they can do is say, "Let's pretend that life has meaning.” For without God each person needs to bring his own meaning to life. But who is right? The Marxist? The Humanist? The Socialist? They cannot all be right! In order to have hope the atheist pretends that life has meaning and so he pretends that he has joy.
Without God, Life has No Value
When our society pushes God aside then the value of life disappears. Our debate with the pro-abortion faction in our society is a debate about values, but values that are founded on different beliefs. If God does not exist and death is the end then why should we protest the death of millions of babies? Why should we be horrified at the Holocaust? If God does not exist then the lives of men and babies are not really any different than the lives of the bugs which we kill with insecticide. Without God there are no absolutes. Who can say what is right or wrong? There are no moral values that can be applied universally. We do not apply the question of moral right and wrong when a lion pulls down and kills a gazelle, or when a frog catches a dragonfly, do we? If God does not exist then how can we apply moral values to anything that man does? He is simply an animal among animals.
We see this to be true when babies are killed and seal pups are saved; when old folks and handicapped people are quietly killed but fur-bearing animals cannot be trapped. Without God all value in life is distorted and confused. Though men try to create standards of behaviour that must be maintained, the atheist must admit that he has no foundation for doing so. He builds his house of values on the sand. This is what man does when he cuts himself off from God. The atheist philosophers of our day cannot escape this.
Without God, Life has No Purpose
What's the point of life? If there is no goal, no destiny, no purpose then human existence is a cruel and humourless joke. "Life is hard, then you die.” The writer of Ecclesiastes said,
The fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other, indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity.(3:19-20)
Without God there is no hope at all. If God does not exist then what purpose can there be to human existence? The human race simply exists and is hurtling through time to an unknown but certain oblivion.
This perspective is one that few men can face and none can really face happily. A universe that is but an accident; life evolving by random chance; a world without purpose; these are prospects too grim to face. Those who deny the existence of God begin to speak of Mother Nature of Mother Earth. The Omnimax theatre has a film about volcanoes and earthquakes called, "The Ring of Fire.” This film after examining and explaining the latest scientific theories concerning earthquakes and volcanoes, openly declares that, "the earth is alive.” In that film there is a new mix of science and neo-paganism. Geology and pantheism meet. Science can no longer present itself in a non-spiritual way. Everyone needs to create his own God in order to face the oblivion of death. The world, the earth itself becomes God, or perhaps Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" replaces God.
Atheism fails to bring meaning, value or purpose to human existence. Atheism simply leads to despair and the absurdity of life without God can be shown. When someone asks you, "How can you believe that God exists?" turn the tables on him and ask, "How can you believe that God does not exist?'' Show him that his position is absurd. Show him that the atheist's position is inconsistent and that atheism as a belief is a failure. This approach can prepare the unbeliever to lower his hostile attitude toward the Gospel and so allow you to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a non-confrontational way.
The Next Step
This argument is not a thoroughgoing proof nor is it a final goal. Rather, it only prepares the ground for bringing the Gospel. People generally want to be consistent. If you can show that their position is inconsistent they may be willing to listen to what you have to say. If you can show that their position is not valid they may be willing to hear and examine an alternative.
You then can show that Biblical Christianity does not fail. You can show that the Reformed faith teaches that God brings meaning, value and purpose to human existence. We may even agree with some of the values of the people around us but we believe that God gives us a foundation for these values in the Bible. This is what this argument can do. It can show the unbeliever that though he holds to some absolutes (he has given meaning, purpose and value to life) yet he has no foundation for doing this. Christians can show that there is only one foundation to build on. This foundation is Jesus Christ and obedience to Him.
From this point you can go on to show how all men are sinners and that Jesus Christ came to save sinners. It is through His work that meaning, value and purpose are restored to the lives of sinners.
For a more developed presentation of this discussion see Craig, W.L Apologetics: An Introduction. Chicago: Moody Press, 1984. Chapter 2, "The Absurdity of Life Without God."