G.K. Chesterton was a writer and philosopher of the early 20th century. The memory of trench warfare and mustard gas lingered as he considered the future. “When men choose not to believe in God,” he wrote, “they do not thereafter believe in nothing, they then become capable of believing in anything.”
The ideologies that emerged soon thereafter proved his point. Fascism promoted centralized control of society and brooked no dissent. Marxism goaded the exploited and oppressed workers into taking up arms to control government and economy. Both ideologies subjugated the rights and beliefs of the individual to the unity of the state. Neither had room for God. That set the context for a century in which ideologues mastered efficient mass killing.
During those years, the Soviet Union produced a man who would have none of it. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn served in the Soviet army during WWII and observed atrocities against the German people. After the war he weaponized his pen to criticize his government and its ideology. After punishing him with prison and the gulag, the Soviets tried to assassinate him, then expelled him in 1974.
In 1983, Solzhenitsyn accepted the Templeton Prize in London for his work in restoring religion to atheist countries. “If I were called upon to identify briefly the principal trait of the entire 20th century,” he said, “I would be unable to find anything more precise than: Men have forgotten God. The failings of human consciousness, deprived of its divine dimension, have been a determining factor in all the major crimes of this century.” And here we are in the 21st century and I wonder if anyone heard him. On an individual level, my heart hurts for people who have become capable of believing anything, even things that hurt themselves and others.
Now is the time to remember God! Look around. We live in a beautiful, purposeful world that logically and scientifically could not have created itself. That posits a Creator. It follows that He created you for His purposes. You live your greatest and most sublime life when you connect with that purpose. You can’t do that until you acknowledge who God says you are. He created you in His image, so you cannot fashion a meaningful identity apart from that, even if you try.
When you tether yourself to the truth and promises of God by faith in Jesus Christ, your world is a better place. I admit Christians don’t always get it right but when we do, both neighbor and enemy are loved, the poor and disenfranchised receive mercy and justice, the fallen have reason to repent, and life is deeply meaningful. So, don’t forget God. Remember Him!
“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psa. 46:10).