If there is no God then life is absurd in three respects.
#1. There is no ultimate meaning to life.
#2. There is no ultimate value to life.
#3. There is no ultimate purpose to life.
Meaning, value, and purpose will all become purely subjective or relative, not objective and ultimate. In fact it is impossible to live happily and consistently with this sort of a worldview. So the atheist finds himself in this terrible dilemma that he has a worldview which he cannot successfully live out. If he lives happily, it will only be by giving the lie to his worldview. If he tries to live his worldview consistently, he will be profoundly unhappy. So it is an unlivable worldview.
Pascal believed that in order to motivate people to think about God you need to both emphasize man’s greatness and man’s wretchedness. He said on the one hand you emphasize man’s greatness by his mental capacity. As physical beings we are puny and miniscule and insignificant; the universe could crush us like a gnat.
Pascal goes into this profound analysis of the human condition in how people are bored and distracted. They find no ultimate meaning or satisfaction in life. Justice is capricious; it is arbitrary and varies from one country to another country. Basically he shows how utterly hopeless our condition is in life if there is no God. And it is that part of his thought that I will pick up on in this blog to show the wretchedness of humanity without God.
Mans condition ought to impel him to seek to discover whether there is a God and a solution to his predicament. But people occupy their time and their thoughts with trivialities and distractions to avoid the despair, boredom and anxiety that would inevitably result if those diversions were not there and removed.
Neil Postman wrote a book titled "Amusing Ourselves to Death"
This book characterizes western American contemporary culture. America invents all forms of entertainment to keep people from really thinking about the human predicament and condition.
And this is so contemporary because what do Americans do? America has this massive entertainment industry just to keep us from being bored to death. So our celebrities, our rappers, rock stars, our actors and actresses, all of this is there just to entertain us and to keep us from, in a sense, thinking about these profound issues that would really drive us to despair, if we thought about them and were not believers in God.
“All Things Are Permitted.”
"If life doesn’t have any ultimate meaning, we have to pretend that it does." -L. D. Rue.
The placebo effect
Now what happens when you know your being giving a placebo? The more convinced you are that it is a placebo, the less it works. and that really is the problem, isn’t it? With a placebo, the reason it works is because the person who is taking it thinks, “Oh, this is really the cure. This is real medicine” when in fact it is just sugar water. In the same way, the Noble Lie will only work on the person who thinks it is true. But what do you do with people like Rue and us and others who know that it is a lie? Well, in their case, it won’t work so what this leads to is a sort of society where you have a kind of cultural elite, the intelligentsia, who know the truth but deceive the masses in order for society to get along and be perpetuated. And it leaves this very sinister kind of society where you’ve got this government of the elites that basically deceives the masses for their own good to help them get along.