It was entirely too late at night – midnight on a Tuesday. I was eyeballs deep in the Instagram Twilight Zone, caught somewhere between cat memes and Bachelor finale spoiler theories. But I’m scrolling, scrolling, and what comes across my newsfeed? But the big bold typeface used only by The New Yorker, “IF GOD IS DEAD, YOUR TIME IS EVERYTHING.”
Obviously, it stopped me in my tracks.
The New Yorker was writing about God.
Reading that headline, I could feel my pulse rise a little bit, I’ll be honest. And so I took the bait, and read the article.
Here’s the thing: The New Yorker is just about as liberal of a publication as you can get. Quite honestly, I wouldn’t even deem it worthy of being used as toilet paper, nevermind a legitimate source for news or information. But that’s neither here nor there.
So with that mindset, I set off to see what the elitist wannabes had to say about God being dead.
The article was arrogantly long, I might add — it took me nearly 30 minutes to read. Like, bro — slow your roll.
But the entire article, at first, left me feeling incredibly cold. And sad.
The author, James Wood, was breaking down Martin Hägglund’s book, This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom, which argues that the Christian “idea” of eternity destroys the meaning and value of this life.
It spent thousands of words tearing down Christianity, saying that when Christians “worship God, [they] are simply worshipping what they themselves value, and are projecting those values onto the figment of objectivity they choose to call God.”
I don’t know about you, but I pictured Mr. Wood angrily writing this from an overpriced Brooklyn coffee shop where they don’t have straws, the cups are compostable, and he’s wearing the latest made-to-look-vintage band-tee from Urban Outfitters.
That was mean, I’m sorry.
But I took offense to the fact that he said that the only thing Christians were after was Heaven. “Heaven is the real God of man: it is Heaven [they] are really after.” Claiming that by viewing “life [as] just an antechamber to an everlasting realm that is far more wondrous than anything on earth,” we are missing the point of enjoying life right now. Enjoying the flowers. Loving people and cherishing time we have with them in this life.
Which then spun off into an intricately messy campaign for democratic socialism, because…of course.
But here’s the thing. Sure, this guy made some highly intellectual arguments that he spun with pompously crafted sentences, proving his Ivy League education.
But he completely missed the boat on what Christianity actually is.
It is not a means to a selfish end (immortality). And it is certainly isn’t just a self-indulgent “devotion to the [Christian] community itself.”
Christianity is a relationship with Christ.
But more on that later.
Why did this Wood character feel so inclined to write this article? And I’m not simply talking about it being a side entrance into fringe politics and Marxist theories.
Wood could imperiously headline this article with “God is Dead” — because he knew the voice of opposition has faded into a silent minority.
He titled it that, because he could.
Maybe I’ve become jaded, living in Manhattan — the godless epicenter of the world — but unless I seek Christ out at church on Sundays and during the week, God is nowhere to be found in our society. In our culture. In our schools. In the media.
Christianity is on a rapid, rapid decline. In 2019, only 65% of adults identified as Christians. That’s down a whopping 12% in just the last decade. And those who identify as atheist, agnostic, or “nothing” — have risen 17%.
Those statistics are gut-wrenching, yet sadly, not surprising.
And what are we to do? Yes, evangelization obviously. But in the spirit of this article, I want to offer something else.
We can’t let someone else write the narrative for us.
We can’t just sit back and let someone else define us, or speak for us. We can’t simply accept the stereotypes, like Wood: claiming that Christians are merely concerned with living forever. Or SNL depicting Christians as orthopedic shoe, ankle length skirt and cardigan wearing church ladies. Or the media mocking us as socially awkward weirdos; or bigoted backcountry hillbillies; or better yet: judgmental, holy rollers that reek of self-righteousness.
That is not the Christianity founded by Christ.
And it’s ironic, becuase in actuality, Wood’s not entirely wrong. Yes, Jesus was concerned about eternity — but He was also concerned about this life too. He was concerned with serving the poor, and caring for those in need. He touched the lepars. He loved the children. He cherished time with people, and made sure to break bread with His loved ones.
It was a both/and.
And that’s what was missing from the article.
And it makes sense. The author missed the entire point of Christianity, because He doesn’t actually know Christ — which is a shame, and I pray that he does come to know the Lord.
The point of Christianity is not just to get to Heaven. The point is to live as Christ lived, and follow His example.
And as we see most quintessentially depicted on the Cross, Jesus lived and died for both the here and now, and eternity in Heaven.
He wouldn’t have come down to earth, if it wasn’t important — if we weren’t important. Yes — you, me, our relationship with Him — that mattered. It matters here in this life, and it matters in the next.
The cross is the link between the two.
It is the welded connection that brings the two together, and makes it all make sense.
Sure, The New Yorker may be able to explain away a myriad of topics with their highfalutin, intellectual jargon — but faith is something that cannot be proven by reason. For its very nature is an act of trust in things unknown. Things unseen.
And that’s a risk I’m willing to bet my eternity on.
***Disclaimer: I fully support taking efforts to preserve the environment. The straw comment was for dramatic effect 😉 Peace.
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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