It’s been said, “If there is no God, everything is permissible.”
This is true, because ‘right’ and ‘wrong,’ if it is to be absolute, must ultimately be defined by the immutable God who is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8).
Morality based on anything other than God is susceptible to change, and as such, everything and anything imaginable could be deemed ‘good’ given the right circumstances.
While many today might confess an irreligiousness to some degree or another, few are prepared to live consistently with their profession of ultimate meaninglessness.
One clear evidence of this is the outrage expressed en masse whenever one of their own dares to take a nihilistic worldview to its logical end. If there is no God, then there is fundamentally no purpose to life, and no meaning, either good or bad, inherent to any of our actions.
While many may agree with the notion of ultimate meaninglessness in theory, the moment anybody acts accordingly, treating human life as though it is meaningless and its value naught, indignation always follows, along with demands for justice and recompense.
Take Jeffrey Dahmer, for instance. Dubbed the ‘Milwaukee Monster,’ Dahmer is recognised as one of the worst serial killers in American history.
Between 1979 and 1991, Dahmer murdered and dismembered seventeen men and boys. His crimes became more abhorrent and disturbing over time, engaging in necrophilia, cannibalism, and even preserving body parts as souvenirs.
Dahmer was apprehended by police on July 22, 1991, and sentenced to life in prison. During his imprisonment, Dahmer requested a Bible, and shortly after professed to be a born-again Christian. In 1994, Dahmer was baptized by a minister in the prison whirlpool.
He continued to meet weekly with the minister and was said to have questioned whether he was sinning against God for not having been executed for his crimes in accordance with God’s law.
That same year, Dahmer was interviewed for Dateline NBC, where he discussed the role his atheism played in his abhorrent acts, explaining that he was convinced he would never be held accountable in any final sense.
“I didn’t feel accountable to anybody,” Dahmer said. “I didn’t feel that I had to face what I had done — ever! Can’t go around making excuses, blaming other people, or other things. So, I am the one who is responsible for what’s happened.”
Dahmer was asked when his worldview shifted, from not feeling a sense of accountability to feeling accountable to God for his actions.
He explained the change occurred after reading “creation science material” his father had given him to read in prison.
“I always believed the lie that evolution is truth — the theory of evolution is truth — that we all just came from the slime and when we die, you know, that’s it. There was nothing.
“The whole theory cheapens life– I started reading books that show how evolution is a complete lie. There’s no basis in science to uphold it.
“I’ve since come to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is the true Creator of the heavens and the earth. It didn’t just happen. And I have accepted him as my Lord and Savior and I believe that I, as well as everyone else, will be accountable to him.”
Dahmer said, growing up, he felt accountable to his parents, but it didn’t transcend any higher than that. When he left the home, he wanted to “create his own little world, where he could be the one who had complete control.”
He didn’t want to bow to anyone’s demands, he said. And it was that philosophy that Dahmer admits he “took too far.”
Lionel Dahmer, Jeffrey’s father, who was also present during the interview, said he felt responsible for his son’s actions too, as he had drifted away from God at the time, and failed to instil a sense of divine accountability.
“I think it had a big part to do with it,” he said.
“I mean, if a person doesn’t think that there is a God to be accountable to, then what’s the point of trying to modify your behavior, to keep it within acceptable ranges? That’s how I thought, anyway.
“I’ve since come to believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is truly God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They’re the one true God,” he added.
Less than six months later, Dahmer was beaten to death by a fellow inmate with a 20-inch metal bar.