They say you’re never too old to learn – that is if you are not an old dog. You know what they say about old dogs – you can’t teach them new tricks! I learned something new yesterday, so I guess I am not an old dog. Oh! Wait! What I learned wasn’t a trick… so maybe….hmmmm… maybe I am an old dog! I am so confused! Aaah! Why bother? What difference does it make anyhow? And what does all this have to do with the topic of this article?
Now do you want to know what I learned? I learned a new word! The word is “apatheism.” Yep, it is a word – “Google” it for yourself. (When spoken, the emphasis is on the “pa.”). The “ap” part is from “apathy,” meaning, “I don’t care!” The last part is easy. It is “atheism” meaning the belief that there is no god. Put them together and the apatheist says, “I don’t believe there is a god and I don’t care!” The apatheist says, “What difference does it make that there is not a god?” Thousands of years of debate have not proven the existence of a god and that if it could be proven it would make no difference since whatever gods might be apparently have had little interest in life on this planet.
I can imagine it would be rather difficult to discuss the issue with an avowed apatheist! “Do you believe there is a god?” “I don’t care!” “Do you not believe in a divine creation?” “What difference does it make?” “Will you look at the evidence for the existence of God?” “Why should I? It makes no difference to me one way or the other!”
But does it make any difference whether God exists or not? C. S. Lewis said that the existence of God is not something one can only be moderately interested in. If He does not exist, why should one be concerned at all. On the other hand, if He does exist, that fact is of greatest importance and one should not pause at any effort to know and have a relationship with Him.
What difference does it make whether God exists or not? I will offer three very good reasons why we should want to believe there is a God. There are, no doubt, many more reasons that could be suggested.
- If there is no God, life is meaningless. One has to account for life having originated from some source. There had to have been a beginning to all things – even atheistic evolutionists believe and attempt to explain how all things, including germs and giraffes, ducks and dogs, platypi and people. If an intelligent God created them all, there must be a reason or meaning for the existence of life. If not, then all forms of life have the same value – which, if distilled down to the basic essence of this idea is – nil.
If not, then there can be no objective basis for morality. If there is no God then the desires of every person becomes their own standard of conduct – everyone’s rights become whatever he decides they should be. There is not reason to act out of altruism or love except as those motives further the interest of the individual.
- If God does not exist then life is without hope. Without God there is no point to existence and without a reason to live there is no reason to hope for anything better or different.
If there is no hope and no future beyond a certain meaningless existence for a short period of time, then there is no such a thing as evil. What is called evil is just whatever we don’t like or don’t want to have done to us. If evil is not evil, then it doesn’t make any difference what I do to my fellow man. If there is no evil, then there is no reasonable need for justice and all those who have perpetrated untold atrocities on the human race and who have been responsible for horrible suffering should not and need not be punished. They were just doing what was natural for them to do. If God does not exist then we are locked into a world in which there is no hope for anything better than more and more, worse and worse evil with no hope of any ultimate “balancing of the books.”
If there is no God, then there is no hope of life beyond the grave. Everyone will grow old, disease will take its toll, death will come to all and there is nothing we can look forward to different from this gloomy, inevitable end. It all ends in a slow ride in a hearse down to the graveyard. Atheism – or apatheism – is a dreary philosophy without hope.
- On the other hand, if there is a God, then there is reason and meaning to life. Admittedly, none of this proves the existence of God. But consider this: if the evidence for either atheism or belief in the existence of God could be determined to be equally valid, (I am not saying that it is, but “if” it is), then does it not make much more sense to choose to believe in God? What is to be gained by believing if atheism proves to be wrong in the end? Everything! If apatheism is right, what will you lose if you choose to believe in God? Nothing!
But if God does exist, (and I believe the evidence for His existence far outweighs that for His non-existence), what do you gain by believing in Him? You gain the opportunity to know this God who professes His love for His creation. You gain the honor of serving Him. You gain a secure, unchanging foundation for life based on His character and a certain, glorious future based on His promises.
Sounds like a no-brainer to me!
Ideas borrowed from an article by:
Dr. William Lane Craig
American Philosopher and Theologian
Professor at the Talbot School of Theology, Biola University