In the wake of the insurrection against the God of Revelation that started many centuries ago and finally erupted in fire, brimstone and spurting rivers of blood during the 20th century, ex-atheist Alexander Solzhenitsyn said,
".....the world had never before known a godlessness as organized, militarized, and tenaciously malevolent as that practiced by Marxism. Within the philosophical system of Marx and Lenin, and at the heart of their psychology, hatred of God is the principal driving force, more fundamental than all their political and economic pretensions. Militant atheism is not merely incidental or marginal to Communist policy; it is not a side effect, but the central pivot.”
The principle driving force behind all of modernity's 'isms,' whether ideological and scientistic (i.e., dialectical materialism, scientific socialism, antitheism) or secular immanent 'Christian,' 'is hatred of the living God of Revelation, leading Will Durant and Adler Mortimer to observe:
"The greatest question of our time is not communism versus individualism; not Europe versus America; not even the East versus the West. It is whether men can live without God." (Will Durant quoted by Ravi Zacharias in "The Real Face of Atheism," p. 19)
"....more consequences for life and action follow from the affirmation or denial of God than from any other basic question." (The Synopticon: An Index to the Great Ideas, vol. 1, Britannica, 1952, p. 543, Mortimer Adler)
In agreement, Ravi Zacharias remarked,
"Nothing, absolutely nothing, has a more direct bearing on the moral choices made by individuals or the purposes pursued by society than belief or disbelief in God." Key issues of the day "whether it be...sexual orientation and practice, or life in the fetal stage, sooner or later filter down to whether there is a God, and if so, has he spoken?" (The Real Face of Atheism, p. 21)
The assault against the living God that began during the Renaissance gained speed and force with the philosophical materialist implications of Darwinian theory. The idea that humans evolved by chance and natural selection from indifferent primordial water lay the axe at the very foundation of the Genesis account of creation ex nihilo. On the heels of Darwinian theory Christian theism came under forceful attack allowing an atheistic-mindset to be declared a scientifically supported reality.
Karl Marx's exuberance for Darwin's idea prompted him to consider dedicating his Das Kapital to Darwin, an honor which Darwin declined. Marx was a materialist, hence the rationale behind his invitation to Darwin was that he saw howDarwin's materialist theory provided the scientific framework to support his economic infrastructure on which he could build his godless communist utopia.
Darwin's materialist theory (loss of a living Creator-God), and Marxist materialist presuppositions (new economic theory based on hatred of God) together with Freud's materialist- based analysis of religion and human sexuality threw faith in God and Christian theism "over the wall of civilization,' said Zacharias:
"With such abusive attacks directed at religious belief coming from so many directions, it was left for someone to cast this creature called theism completely out, and exorcise the world of all such influence. The one who did that was the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche." (p. 25)
By the time of Nietzsche, perceptive thinkers had already been expressing apprehension at the prospect of the awakened multitudes who would eventually be exploited by materialist haters of God (i.e., Lenin, Stalin, Hitler). With Nietzsche, dreadful apprehension deepened into certainty, for Nietzsche despised religion in general, but upon Christianity he poured his unbridled fury:
"I call Christianity the one great curse, the one enormous and innermost perversion, the one great instinct of revenge, for which no means are too venomous, too underhanded, too underground, and too petty." (Nietzsche in "The Life of Nietzsche," Faru Forster Nietzsche, 1921, p. 656)
It was Nietzsche, the dark prophet, the son of a Lutheran pastor, who pronounced the death of God and saw that His death had already begun to,
"....cast its first shadows over Europe," and though "the event itself is far too great, too remote, too much beyond most people's power of apprehension, for one to suppose that so much as the report of it could have reached them," still its advent was certain, and it was men like Nietzsche who were "the firstlings and premature children of the coming century," the century of the "triumph of Nihilism." (Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age, Eugene Rose, p. 44)
Nietzsche was the first apostate Christian philosopher to gaze fully upon man's loss of faith and its terrifying consequences. With no living God to obstruct his vision, the nihilism he saw was agonizing. In "The Gnostic Religion," Hans Jonas provides a full-scale study of the heretical world of pre-Christian and Christian era Gnostic nihilism together with its modern variant--- Nietzsche's Nihilism.
Jonas writes that while ancient Gnostic man is thrown,
"...into an antagonistic, anti-divine, and therefore anti-human nature, modern (Gnostic) man (is thrown) into an indifferent one." (p. 338, emphasis added)
Whereas the ancient gnostic conception is still anthropomorphic despite the nihilism, hostility and demonic, its modern counterpart with its' indifferent nature, its' completely godless, soulless, spiritless nature, represents the "absolute vacuum, the really bottomless pit."
At least the ancient Gnostic dualism, as fantastic as it was, was at least self-consistent, as there was a source for 'self' (being). Not so for its' modern counterpart:
"So radically has anthropomorphism been banned from....nature that even man must cease to be conceived anthropomorphically if he is just an accident of nature. As the product of the indifferent, his being, too, must be indifferent. Then the facing of his mortality would simply warrant the reaction, 'Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die." (p. 339)
In other words, the death of the living God means the loss of man's soul/spirit (mind), the loss of eternity and the loss of purpose and meaning. For man the evolved ape there is nothing---no heaven above, no hell below and no,
".... vast mind behind the framing of the world; no transcending voice giving counsel to this world...no light at the end of the tunnel (hence only) the loneliness of existence in its most desolate form." (Zacharias, p. 27)
Nietzschesaw only darkness---no entry from the outside into this hermetically sealed world, a world devoid of God, higher truth, moral law, eternity, soul, meaning, and purpose. The paralyzing darkness that fell said Zacharias,
"....was not so much an exterior phenomenon crowding inward but rather an inner blinding that spread outward." (p. 27)
Hans Jonas concurs:
"...modern nihilism (is) infinitely more radical and more desperate than gnostic nihilism ever could be for all its panic terror of the world and its defiant contempt of its laws. That nature does not care, one way or the other, is the true abyss. That only man cares, in his finitude facing nothing but death, alone with....the objective meaninglessness of his projected meanings, is a truly unprecedented situation." (Jonas, p. 339)
This was precisely Nietzsche's point. With the death of God objective meaninglessness would penetrate every avenue of thought and life, making life itself unbearable.
Nietzsche went on to say that because God had died in the 19th century there would be two direct results in the 20th century.
First, the 20th century would become the bloodiest, most catastrophically destructive century in history, and second, that a universal madness would break out and turn the West upside-down. Truth would become lie and lie truth; evil would become good, the unnatural would become natural, and the unholy would become holy. Nietzsche has been right on both counts.
But what is ironic about his prophetic vision about universal madness is that Nietzsche led the way. In a self-fulfilling prophecy, Nietzsche spent the last eleven years of his life insane.