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Pioneer and Bell Church of Christ

What is Nihilism?

Nihilism is defined as a viewpoint that espouses traditional values and beliefs are unfounded and that existence is senseless and useless. It is a doctrine that denies any objective ground of truth and especially of moral truths, a doctrine or belief that conditions in the social organization are so bad as to make destruction desirable for its own sake, independent of any constructive program or possibility (Merriam-Webster online).

 There is no doubt that this has been the guiding principle in politics for societies for some time. Change is advocated in many campaign speeches, but what kind of change, and the basis on which change is to be made, is typically not specified. Meaning is tried to be found in a worldview that embraces nihilism, but always is found wanting, because any value system constructed on the view that all values are merely opinions, and thus useless, has no real foundation or basis for legitimacy. If existence is senseless and useless, then why is one person's opinion of life any more valid than another's opposing view? If everything is entirely subjective, if there is no objective foundation on which society is built, then chaos is what results. We find ourselves moving into a morass of conflicting views, morally, politically, and personally, where there is no consensus, no worth to human existence.

 We have sown the wind and are reaping the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7), with the consequences offering no hope, no promise, no real future. This is what happens to society when it discards the truths of Scripture, the basis from which society exists. We have been created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), but have exchanged it to exalt ourselves in the place of God (Romans 1:18-32). By denying the Creator, and His will for life, we are left with a lifestyle of sin that only begets more sin (Romans 6:19). Perhaps Paul puts it best in his letter to the church in Ephesus; reminding us of the life those Christians lived prior to their obedience, and submission to the gospel. "This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness" (Ephesians 4:17-19).

 Society through  the ages has fought against God, rejecting Him and His good will for us, the salvation that comes only through Christ, the only life that is truly abundant (John 10:10). The summation of the period of the judges in Israel's history speaks of our condition today as well; "Every man did that which was right in his own eyes" (Judges 21:25). Any path taken, physically or spiritually, that ignores the role of God and Christ in life, is doomed for failure. There is a day of judgment for how one has lived life (2 Corinthians 5:10). To deny there is any authority for our lives, individually and collectively, will only bring problems today, and condemnation eternally. The pages of history offer such lessons time and again, but some keep pressing on, thinking somehow, someway, it will work. Nihilism is the current incarnation of such philosophies of the past, and will not fare better. Only in seeking God, and conforming our lives to His will, is there help and hope for today and tomorrow; everything else is vanity (Ecclesiastes 1:2). "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.  Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" (1 Corinthians 1:18-21).

 Robert Johnson, Longview, TX