Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to header Skip to footer


From the November 2007 issue of The Christian Science Journal

IN 1882, THE GERMAN PHILOSOPHER FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE PUT THE WORDS "GOD IS DEAD" into the mouth of one of his characters. But in this statement, Nietzsche didn't suggest that some entity—the traditional man on the throne in the sky—had actually died. That God had already begun to fade, at least among most intellectuals, into the mythical realm of Zeus and Jupiter. Rather, Nietzsche referred to the implausibility of Europe's widely held notion of a unifying Christian God. Nietzsche's claim anticipated one of the central themes of 20th-century literature: Only subjective consciousness has reality, validity, and meaning.

Today, a number of popular books once again assert that God doesn't exist. And while these atheist authors regularly appear on TV and radio to debunk the "religion myth" (not a very new idea), they haven't seemed to make much of a dent in the deeply held religiosity of many people.

However, as to the nature of God—well, I actually agree with a lot of what these writers say. The God they describe does sound primitivistic and naive—a God who by turns exacts cruel punishment, changes his or her mind without rationale, and permits violence, injustice, disease, death, and tragedy to rain down on innocent people. I don't believe in that God, either. But here's where we differ: I can't imagine life without divinity. Without the assurance that divine Intelligence, omnipotent Love and Life, actually controls and informs all aspects of the universe. Because if we did live in a God-abandoned, totally subjective world, why wouldn't any of us simply live with the attitude, Me First