I’m sure many who of you who are reading this will be familiar with the god-awful (pun intended) movie “God’s not Dead” and it’s sequel. I’m not going into detail of why I hate the movie and I’d even hate it as a deist (One word: #Strawman ) but the title of the movie raises an issue: What does it mean for God to die or for God to be dead?
The Man of course who first talked about God being dead was Friedrich Nietzsche. He however meant something completely different than the film producers of the movie when he talked about God’s death. While the producers wanted to address the issue of whether he exists, God being dead has a completely different meaning to Nietzsche.
What Nietzsche really meant when he said that “God is dead” is that people live in a post-religious society, they live in a society where a particular God and the doctrine for which he stands is no longer believed in. Neither is his moral standard binding for a society that has killed God. In short the death of deities is nonbelief in them.
We do in fact thousands of dead Gods that may or may not exist (like Zeus or Thor) but the fact that our behavior is no longer informed by belief in those deities, the fact that no one truly believes in them and considers it likely that they may exist has buried those deities into the ground.
But what is it exactly that killed all those deities? Well first and foremost it’s cultural change which can of course be reached many different ways. One way would be the start of a new popular religion that utterly replaces the old one. It may be the case that a war broke out and after a state was conquered, the religion of the victors was declared the state religion that everyone should believe in. Subsequently the old deity was no more.
However the best and most effective way to put the final nail in the coffin of any deity is one thing: Knowledge!
Just think about how many gods have been killed because their existence became redundant to us. We now know that it isn’t Ra who makes the sun rise, it is in fact the case that the Earth rotates around the sun and day and night are an inevitable result.
We now know that we weren’t created by a deity we evolved by a process which may or may not have been guided by a deity but which functions without one.
We live in a world today, where science is our best method of explaining things. Science is our tool to discover the Universe. Knowledge is no longer gained by divine revelation, at least some divine revelations are debunked by the knowledge gained through science. Morality nowadays isn’t extrapolated from the Bible, it’s imposed upon it. We live in a society, where we solve moral issues by talking about it and trying to reason to the moral positions rather than taking the Pastor’s word for it.
Whether we realize it or not, the framework is shifting. the developed world is becoming more and more secular be it in the UK, be it in the rest of Europe be it in the USA as well.
Is God dead? No he isn’t but if the trend of science being the new way towards truth continues and if the world becomes more secular, then the death of a few more deities is inevitable.
Goodbye from yours truly,
Rene von Boenninghausen @Renevelation
One thought on “How deities die…”
It’s funny – I just added XTC’s Dear God to my library. God didn’t create mankind, mankind created God. And so there is no need for me to worship someone else creation.
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