Philip Kaplan is a 38 year old non practicing attorney living in Towson, Maryland. He accepted Christ in 2016 and feels called upon to speak about his conversion from a nonbeliever to a Christian. In the following series of blog posts, he will reflect on both his personal life and the philosophical issues pertaining to faith.
The Big Lie
I want to talk about a big lie. An evil, destructive untruth that works to deceive so many of us. I want to expose this lie for the nasty, disgusting machinery of Satan that it is.
This lie comes in many forms. It is communicated by many popular expressions. “It’s a dog-eat-dog world.” “Kill or be killed.” “Nice guys finish last.” It finds its home in the crude cynicism of our culture.
It also hides out in less obvious sayings that promote a type of macho toughness: “Sink or swim.” “Only the strong survive.” “In the real world, no one cares about excuses. What matters is results.”
All of these work to express the same essential lie: that we are living in an amoral, Darwinian universe where there is no God and no ultimate justice, where there is nothing other than the strong and the weak, the winners and the losers, and therefore the “right way to live” is to be as ruthless and selfish as you can because higher values such as kindness, sensitivity, and compassion have no place in this world.
Let’s assume for the sake of argument that all of this is true. Let’s assume that there is no God, that we are all here by accident, and that when our bodies die, we cease to exist forever.
In that case, then honestly, what difference does it make how “successful” one is during one’s brief life on earth? What does it matter how much money one makes or what one’s job title is or how much admiration one gets from others? According to the nonbeliever, we are all headed toward a condition of eternal non-existence, and as soon as our brains stop functioning, we will have no more sensation, thought, feeling, perception, memory, or awareness at all for the rest of time. Whether we’ve lived three years or a hundred years. Whether we were rich or poor, smart or stupid, well-liked or hated. It’s game over for us at physical death.
Why would we bother to care about our petty status in this world if we are all nonetheless doomed to such a fate? What’s the thought process of that, exactly? “I have trillions of years of total nothingness to look forward to, but I’m still worried about whether I get that promotion”? It’s nonsensical.
Furthermore, even limiting oneself to the affairs of this world, what does one actually gain by achieving the coveted money/power/success package? Happiness? If that’s the case, why aren’t the affluent and the high-achieving virtually insulated from depression, anxiety, addiction, eating disorders, and relationship problems? Why do people who drive fancy cars, like everyone else, still spend so many seconds of every driving minute getting frustrated at a red light or at other cars on the road? Why do we, regardless of our station in life, seem to experience so much low level unpleasantness every single day?
The nonbeliever must confront a harsh truth: This life, by itself, is simply not enough to sustain us. We intuitively know that if God doesn’t exist, and this life is truly all there is, then it’s hopeless. There is no point.
Here’s where the Big Lie comes in.
The purpose of the Big Lie is to distract us. To get us to avoid the basic reality of how much we need God. To get us scurrying around like little rats looking for scraps of food, falsely imagining that if we only win at the various little games and contests of this world, then somehow we’ve obtained something of value.
But we haven’t.
Without God, Heaven, and Jesus Christ, we are looking for answers that we have no hope of ever finding. The Big Lie is there to try to lure us into a way of thinking and living that not only dooms our soul but doesn’t even offer anything of value in this world.
Note: The author welcomes any comments or questions about his faith and journey. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org