Christianity Made Me into a Nihilist, Pt. Three
I spent about a decade searching and tracing and rooting out what derived meaning from Christianity, while also tracing what failed to derive meaning from Christianity, and therefore was meaningless, and to be cast off and forgotten. Perhaps my entire life during this time, and my entire theological system that it produced, could be defined in this way. I was laboring to believe the truth of Christianity that God had revealed, coming to me in the Bible, and to live in light of it—and this meant learning what God did and did not value, and bringing my thoughts and actions into submission. God is ultimate, and whatever God values is ultimately valuable, while whatever God rejects is ultimately worthless. In striving to follow Jesus, I was striving to see and feel and live according to what God valued. This invested some things with ultimate and eternal worth, while showing others to be, in sharp contrast, fleeting and inconsequential.
This determination rested solely upon God. The feelings in my stomach or the ideals popular in my culture were perfectly irrelevant.
Now that I’m left with only the latter—only gut feelings, and a buffet of cultural values—I see quite vividly how there is no ultimate meaning to life or any of its constituent parts. I had learned very well, and internalized very deeply, that human feelings don’t justify such universal concepts. (And the addition of lots of human feelings together doesn’t change this.) The sort of deep and spiritual meaning that could be grounded in a God simply does not exist.
And yet that’s the sort of meaning that all my unbelieving friends still want to believe in. I’m happy for them, and don’t particularly want to burst bubbles. But as for myself, I know better.