Last month, Time Magazine revisited their 1966 cover design where they asked, “Is God Dead?” This time the question, in the same red lettering on black background, was, “Is Truth Dead?” It is obvious to most of us that the execution of God by our culture would inevitably lead to the disappearance of truth.
Indeed, the murder of truth didn’t take place fifty-one years later, it happened the very moment that culture rebelled against the Sovereign God who is the very person of Truth. Like cut flowers, however, the full effect of the pruning would take some time before the beauty of truth faded and decayed.
For years we have been told that morality and ethics are possible – and perhaps even better – without a transcendent truth giver. In fact, some claim that societies freed from superstition and religious bigotry are far better equipped to devise better morality.
By taking religion and God out of the mix we were told that war would end, since there would be no religious motivation for it. We were promised that bigotry would cease in the absence of antiquated values and faith-based morality. We were told that homosexuals, and participants of alternate lifestyles would be freed from guilt and shame, if the religious people just went away or got with the program.
What many do not realize is that the musings of God’s death took place long before 1966. Although many philosophers played with the idea, it was Philosopher Fredrich Nietzsche who articulated it most profoundly to a willing culture all the way back in the late 1800’s.
Ironically, while Nietzsche loved the idea of expelling God from his own life, he worried that society would suffer. He unequivocally prognosticated that the death of God would lead to un-paralleled chaos and bloodshed in the twentieth century.
Nietzsche’s prophecies could not have been more accurate. The twentieth century was indeed chaotic and brought more bloodshed than the previous nineteen centuries combined. Apart from the devastating impact of constant warfare, the atheistic governments of the Soviet Union and Communist China brought the deaths of well over 100 million of their own citizens. The ideals of manufactured human perfection under Hitler’s National Socialist Party and Eugenicists such as Margaret Sanger (founder of Planned Parenthood) add millions more to the count.
There is great irony that despite the weight of evidence against anti-theistic groups, many college professors and cultural icons continue to spew the myth that religion is the primary cause of war and bloodshed.
What took Time Magazine so long to ask the question that had been posed over a half-century earlier? It was that in the 1960’s, liberal theologians like William Hamilton began to parrot the famous nineteenth century philosopher and propose that a Christianity without a living Christ was doable and beneficial. It was when the church began to adopt the cultural lies that the final bulwarks of truth began to crumble.
I am a firm believer that the greatest witness to a person’s philosophy lies in their ability to live it out to the bitter end. One of the strongest proofs for the Christian message is that its greatest advocates, the disciples, all suffered greatly for their beliefs. All but one died for their faith when they could have easily recanted and lived.
John was the only one to die a natural death, and even his life was full of persecution and exile because he chose to follow and preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God. It is beyond my comprehension that so many would give so much for anything they knew to be a lie.
As for the death of Nietzsche, he had a psychotic breakdown at the young age of 44 and spent his final months in his mother’s arms as she rocked him like an infant. Ironically the philosopher who had been so outspoken and articulate against God in previous years was silent for days on end during his time in mental asylums. When he did speak, he would often cry out in anguish as he quoted scripture verses he had learned in his youth.
Is truth dead? Certainly not. We did not create, nor can we kill, God the author and executor of truth. The death of God and Truth in our own minds serves only to lead us into a delusion that may be popular in our modern culture, but eventually leads to the reality that we have deceived ourselves and have separated us from the only One who can save us.
May the God of truth bless us with the purity of transcendent truth that does not waiver with the opinions of men. May we never be one, like those whom Paul spoke of who exchange the truth of God for a lie. (Romans 1:25)