There was a provocative bit of graffiti I saw today, something a cut above the vulgar scribblings and meaningless images to which I have grown accustomed: It was a theological statement. I unfortunately had not the presence of mind to snap a picture of it, and so must remember it as best I can. I saw it while looking for parking, having gotten myself turned around so that I somehow found myself behind the storefronts in an alley where the garbage is thrown. As I tried to turn around, I spied the message which ran something along the lines of: “God won’t get us out of this, mankind is our only hope.”
It was like a lightbulb going off, I realized that, though my atheistic friends had never put it in such a succinct way, much of what they have said to me could find its logic in that sentiment, “I don’t need God.” To give the devil his due, I understand the frustration at a seemingly inactive “people of God” waiting around for “dad” to deal with the mess. If that’s what religion was, I’d have little to do with it.
The graffiti itself almost gave away the game, though, the logic somewhat assuming the existence of some sort of god. Moreover, in speaking so plainly, it airs a fundamental misunderstanding of God.
The question I would ask this scribbler, were we in conversation, is where he wants mankind to go. Out of our current state, I think we both agree, but out of a fryer we may jump into something like, if not exactly, Hell. I agree with the statement so far as I hope mankind will work towards a better world, but without some north star, “Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions?” (This is, unfortunately, from the only bit of Nietzsche I am familiar with, The Parable of the Madman.)
God will get us out of this, for he is the out, the door we need. I reject the scribbler’s counsel, for without God, without ultimate value, there is no way out of this refuse we’ve stumbled into.