Do we need God? No. Do we need God? Yes. Do you need God? You choose.
I could live by myself. I am competent to make my own plans. I am self-motivated to strive for my own success. I can handle my own failures and responsibilities. I’m kind enough to most people. I am generally capable at anything I choose. I have money to live and am building some to retire. I am comfortable. And I don’t really need anybody else to help me make myself comfortable. I could absolutely be successful by the world’s standards if I only looked to the limits of my own brain for inspiration and aspiration.
Really, alone, I am capable.
I imagine I would become so focused on climbing the ladder and advancing at my career that I would forget about people as souls worth respecting. I probably would hold my own goals above those of anybody else’s, even though I’m kind, and dissolve into envy if they succeeded more than me in a field. I would be content to use the self-checkout because the I wouldn’t see the person at the till as a person anyway. And I’m late for my appointment so I have no time for small talk.
If there were to be any problem in a social interaction it would be entirely their fault. They could be cut out because they didn’t build into me or act as my cheerleaders. If you don’t make me feel good, you have to go. I would have no reason to resolve any differences, even though I imagine those differences would grow a festering wound within.
Would I care about the suffering of others? Would people without family or shelter wreck me? I’m a kind person, so maybe helping those who need it would be a way of feeling better about myself. Saving the world through altruism. But perhaps never working enough to save my soul.
Tragedy of any proportion might have the potential to unravel me; I would have no coping mechanism other than substances, anger or silence available to me to walk into healing. What would healing even look like?
I would believe that I am intrinsically good. But I would probably ignore other people who thought that for themselves. I could ignore their truth or wage war against it, because my truth doesn’t leave room for theirs. And it wouldn’t matter the words I used, if I delivered hatred instead of unity, because I would be proving my point. And my point is good.
I would be the epicenter of my life, the ruler that all nature would be expected to bow down to, even though I would deny that profusely. Because I’m kind. I couldn’t possibly be that selfish.
I’m a good person. Successful. Kind. Self-motivated. I have a good smile. My soul can’t possibly need saving. I’m doing all the right things. Can you even prove I have a soul? God is dead, so who can comment on the morality of my soul? I’ll find my own purpose in life.
With God, I can let go of focusing on my own financial and social security and look around to see the needs of others, because I know I will be okay.
With God, I can relax from race of upward mobility because his priorities are different, and bring a freedom different than anything financial.
With God, I have greater creativity.
With God, passions and abilities hidden deep inside me have become revealed, and the future I see as God’s best seems better than what I could have planned.
With God I see my self and life and family as heavenly whole, and live to that purpose every day; hurt and insufficiencies are dealt with because internal freedom is so liberating.
With God, the satisfaction in my life is measured by contentment and generosity, not possession and appearances.
With God, I see that I am not the locus of this earth, and this vision ushers the intrinsic value of others to the front of every interaction. And it makes cashiers smile.
With God, I have family beyond my blood. I have community that revels in wholehearted, life-breathing vulnerability.
With God, I am relieved of the pressure of having to have all the answers.
With God, I do not have to fear tragedy where possessions or loved ones are destroyed.
With God, I am not holding the strings of my life so tightly that I become strung out. I hold everything lightly, unfearing, because God holds me and them.
With God, life has purpose and meaning.
With God, my value is not left up to chance. It is.
Do we need God? No. We don’t have to live life with ever acknowledging him. You could get a university degree, stellar job, penthouse apartment, luxurious vacations, rich friends, the most beautiful family, and not include or depend on God for any of it. Like Nietzsche, God could be dead to you.
But would you truly be content with isolating yourself in self-provision? Would you feel secure with yourself at the locus of your world? Could you truly love your family and have their best interests in mind? Would you have friends who are there for your heart and not your wealth? Would you have enough resilience to handle the diagnosis? Would you have value if you went bankrupt or the stock market crashed or social media algorithms changed?
Could you be proud of yourself as a human being, apart from what you’ve accomplished?
Would becoming successful apart from God be an example of gaining the whole world to forfeit my soul?
A gamble with my soul is one I’m not willing to take.
So I choose to live with the creativity and liberation that life with God is. I don’t have to be content with being capable alone.