Inevitably, if we do not worship God, we end up worshipping other ‘gods’. Think about it. Our partners, our bosses, our teachers, our friends, the societies we live in, and even our own desires ‘enslave’ us in some way. Take, for example, social norms. Many of us define beauty based on social pressures. We may have a range of likes and dislikes, but these are shaped by others. Ask yourself, why are you wearing these trousers or this skirt? Saying you like it is a shallow response; the point is, why do you like it? If we keep on probing in this way, many will end up admitting "because other people think it looks nice". Unfortunately, we’ve all been influenced by the endless adverts and peer pressure that bombard us.
In this respect we have many ‘masters’ and they all want something from us. They are all ‘at odds with each other’, and we end up living confused, unfulfilled lives. God, who knows us better than we know ourselves, who loves us more than our mothers love us, is telling us that He is our true master, and only by worshipping Him alone will we truly free ourselves.
The Muslim writer Yasmin Mogahed explains in her book, Reclaim Your Heart, that anything other than God is weak and feeble, and that our freedom lies in worshipping Him:
"Every time you run after, seek, or petition something weak or feeble… you too become weak or feeble. Even if you do reach that which you seek, it will never be enough. You will soon need to seek something else. You will never reach true contentment or satisfaction. That is why we live in a world of trade-ins and upgrades. Your phone, your car, your computer, your woman, your man, can always be traded in for a newer, better model. However, there is a freedom from that slavery. When the object upon which you place all your weight is unshaking, unbreakable, and unending, you cannot fall."
The next question is: Where are we going? We have a choice: to embrace God’s eternal, unbounded mercy, or to run away from it. Accepting His mercy, by responding to His message, and obeying, worshipping and loving Him will facilitate our eternal happiness in paradise. Rejecting and running away from God’s mercy necessitates that we end up in a place devoid of His love, a place of unhappiness—hell. So we have a choice. Either we decide to embrace His mercy or try to escape from it. We have the free will to choose. Even though God wants good for us, He does not force us to make the right choices. The choices we make in this life will shape our lives after we die:
"…and when that Day comes, no soul will speak except by His permission, and some of them will be wretched and some happy."
"There they will stay—a happy home and resting place!"
Since our ultimate purpose is to worship God, we must establish our natural balance to find out who we really are. When we worship God, we free ourselves, and find ourselves. If we do not, we are forgetting what makes us human (see Chapter 15):
"And be not like those who forgot God, so He made them forget themselves."
In summary, atheism cannot provide profound answers for our existence, and therefore real, meaningful happiness can never be achieved. If someone argues that they are happy under atheism, I would argue it is a drunken type of happiness. They only sober up when they start thinking deeply about their own existence. Even if they have attempted to find the answers and have settled with not knowing—or being sceptical about the available responses—they will still not achieve ultimate happiness. Compare the person who knows why they exist and where they are going with the one who does not. Their conditions are not the same, even if they both claim to be happy.
This chapter has clearly shown the logical implications of denying God. While atheists are emotionally justified in believing their lives have a sense of ultimate value, hope, happiness and purpose, the point is clear: intellectually they are groundless. Even Richard Dawkins appreciates the logical implications of naturalism. He argues that under naturalism, everything is meaningless and based on pitiless indifference:
"On the contrary, if the universe were just electrons and selfish genes, meaningless tragedies like the crashing of this bus are exactly what we should expect, along with equally meaningless good fortune. Such a universe would be neither evil nor good in intention. It would manifest no intentions of any kind. In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference."
A universe made up of non-rational, blind, cold physical stuff is not concerned with our emotions. Only God can provide the intellectual justification for the things that define our humanity.
- Mogahed, Y. (2015) Reclaim Your Heart. 2nd Edition. San Clemente, CA: FB Publishing, p. 55.
- Dawkins, R. (2001) River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life. London: Phoenix, p. 155.