The Godless proud
Give me the godless, the proud, who have no desire for the divine,
But daringly would create a heaven of their own design.
The Norwegian poet Rudolf Nilsen wrote this in the early part of the last century. At the time, the poem was a blazing support for communism, but today it is in many ways a description of the development and spirit of the times we see in society in general. The fundamental values of Christianity must give way for the forward march of humanism. Godliness and humility before the Creator must give way to godlessness and pride in human accomplishments and abilities.
Reasonable thought process
Humanism is in itself an ensnaring philosophy. It claims to have a rational concept of reality, based exclusively on reason and science. It has few ethical rules, and leaves life choices to human empathy, experience, and reasoning. Many humanists maintain that when it comes to “ethics,” the only ethical rule you need is, Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you. This is often called the golden rule. Humanism rejects all deities and every authority outside of humans themselves; instead placing confidence in man’s ability to rationally and sensibly reason, in order to find the necessary guidelines throughout life.
In one way, it is not surprising that the humanistic philosophy is gaining ground. It appeals to people’s reason, and it takes a clear stance. Is there actually any alternative? The Christianity most people encounter no longer takes a stand. Ethical principles and boundaries, which have been basic tenets of the Christian view for several hundred years, have for the most part been broken down and forsaken. Generally, people are left with the forgiveness of sins as a life insurance policy against the unknown they will meet at death. Those who want more than being driven by the currents of the time find it difficult to be inspired by something like that.
Naïve and irrational?
So, what about the humanist alternative? Can people manage to create a heaven here of their own design, as the poet wrote? If humans consist of nothing more than a body and a brain that is able to make rational decisions, then there might be something to this notion. Everyone would find his or her own way to life ethically, while making sure to be considerate of others. Then you would not need God. Humanists often describe faith in God, an authority above man, as naïve and irrational. But how rational is it, actually, to believe in the inherent goodness and compassion of people, and in their ability to do unto others as they want others to do unto them? Is the ability to place the needs of others just as high as their own an overriding quality in human beings?
Anyone who possesses any degree of self-awareness and who is honest with himself certainly knows the answers to these questions. Sure, people can, from time to time, show compassion, empathy, and concern, but when the mood has passed and people again return to their daily lives, how much is left of selfless care and concern for others?
Hell – and heaven
The truth, which everyone sooner or later must recognize, is that human beings, as a result of the fall, are fundamentally egotistical and self-centered. Left to their own devices, they do not create a society where the golden rule is put into practice. Rather, it is a society where each person takes care of him/herself. It is a cold and hard society. Living in the so-called heaven which the godless and proud have created according to their own design, would actually be a kind of hell.
Is there any alternative? Fortunately, the answer to this is a resounding “Yes!” Christianity with power still exists. There are still people who believe that God not only created the world, but He can also recreate us through our daily lives, so that we are able to show compassion and goodness and are able to place our own needs aside for the sake of others’ needs. This does not happen through pride and focusing on people’s abilities. It takes place through humbly submitting yourself to the will of the Creator, and allowing Him to take control of your life. Among people who are like that, you can truly find heaven on earth.
Those who in this manner depart from egotism and enter into selflessness and care will become valuable individuals – not just for Christianity, but for all of society. They become good citizens who in their surroundings show true care. We need people like this in the world – there are more than enough of the godless and proud!
This post is also available in: Norwegian Bokmål
You might also be interested in our theme page about Overcoming sin.