In H.P. Lovecraft’s famous short work, “The Call of Cthulhu”, the opening paragraph reads…
The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.
In the fiction of Lovecraft we read the horrors of the Cthulhu Mythos. The “Great Old Ones”. Ancient beings from other worlds who have been on Earth for countless eons who now sleep or even being dead still exert their influence over the world. The day is coming when they shall awake and return from the depths of the Earth.
To learn of them and their preternatural power is to invite madness for the human mind is too limited and frail to fit them into our conception of reality.
So you may be wondering, why is a Reformed minister bringing this up on his blog? Besides being a lover of books and especially those that are a feast in prose, there is something I find very interesting in Lovecraft’s stories as they relate to reality. If we assumed there was no God (a silly assumption!), then we are left with a reality that is not really quite different from the tales of Lovecraft.
Upon the assumption of Atheism, we are mere accidents of natural forces adrift on a ball of rock in the midst of a universe that is so vast, suns so many—no entire galaxies—as to make each one of us of little more significance than the most benign microbe. On top of this, the very nature of reality is weird and the more we seem to discover, the weirder it gets.
The fact we put fancy scientific sounding terms on things provides an illusion that we actually understand what these things are. For example, the universe is said to be 85% composed of “dark matter”, but what is “dark matter”? It’s theorized to be composed of undiscovered subatomic particles. That’s 85% of reality that we have absolutely no idea what it is and it’s not just out there in space. It’s also all around us and even passing through us at this very moment!
“Dark matter” is just one of the very weird things about reality. There are many other examples but I trust you get the point.
It seems to me that an honest, intelligent, atheistic thinker would be driven insane upon contemplating his place in the universe. However, rather than squaring with it, he diverts his mind to distractions lest he loose his marbles. It is better to be ignorant than stare the universe in the face and go mad (then again, does even that really matter?).
As I think about the characters in Lovercraft’s works who lose their sanity upon learning things that cannot be processed by the fragile, limited, human mind and the logical parallel in someone who honestly squares with Atheism, I am struck by the semblance between fiction and the reality of our present culture.
In an atheistic worldview, the human condition is far more terrifying than the mighty Cthulhu awakening from his long slumber in R’lyeh. Even if there were a Cthulhu and even if he awakened and slaughtered most of us and enslaved the rest, in the end even that would not matter. You are a cosmic shuffle. You are no different and no more significance than an asteroid that just happens to be tumbling through the Kuiper belt. Not even a joke, for that would assume the universe notices you enough to laugh. When we are all gone nothing any of us has done will have any meaning for there is nothing to even remember us.
The abandonment of God has delivered our culture over to the despair of insignificance and despair. It is a foretaste of Hell and people are literally loosing their minds. The persistent engagement with various distractions has fixed nothing. The atheistic worldview renders each and every one of us absolutely insignificant and beliefs work their way out no matter how hard we try to suppress them.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” —Proverbs 1:7
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” —2 Timothy 1:7