A student was taking helicopter flying lessons. After some weeks, he started begging his instructor to let him have his first solo flight. The instructor was wary but eventually agreed on one condition: The student had to radio him every 1,000 feet to make sure everything was okay.
So the student agreed and the big day came. He began flying normally and soon, as promised, radioed in at 1,000 feet and confirmed: "All good."
Then, at 2,000 feet, the student radioed in again: "Everything is fine, but it's getting a bit cold."
But before he reached 3,000 feet, the instructor saw from his position on the ground that something horrible was happening: the helicopter had just stopped mid-air. Soon, it began a horrifying descent. Then it plummeted and crashed.
The crash destroyed the helicopter, and set it aflame. But the student miraculously managed to crawl out alive. He had broken bones and burns everywhere on his body.
The instructor ran to him. "Oh my God, what happened?" he cried out, when he reached him.
"I told you it was getting cold," the man answered. "So I shut off the giant fan."
So it is when we shut off God from our lives, when we no longer understand God's central role in the creation of our civilization. We no longer ascend. We may hover for a while, but ultimately, we can only look forward to a very brutal end.
You walk across a dusty field, the cold and dry wind biting at your face. You approach the stone well of atheism. You reach it, and peer down. The only thing that comes back at you is blackness.
You drop a stone and wait to hear it reach the bottom, but no sound returns. You lower a water bucket, hoping that you'll pick something up. But when you raise it, there is nothing.
Atheism offers nothing but its own emptiness. It offers no nourishment for the body nor the mind. No hope, no laughter, no joy, no beauty, no sense of purpose, and no sense of a world beyond our own. It has never created a song or innovated new technology. It has never inspired anyone, nor caused anyone to aspire to anything positive.
The atheist will proclaim that no one has died in the name of godlessness. While that is technically true, it is a meaningless point. More meaningful is that millions have died because of godlessness. Atheism kills.
The ranks of the godless have swollen, and the devil has been smiling. He's known all along that to foment evil, he need not create an equal and opposite force to goodness. He need not even tempt you with evil thoughts or sinister voices in your head. He need not tell you to worship him as some "alternative" god.
No. All he would need to do is persuade everyone that God isn't important. After that, he can exploit your instinctive need to matter, your need for purpose. And once he's done that, you'll just give the devil your soul, without any fight at all.
Worse yet, you won't even know you're doing it.
In the movie Pulp Fiction , the John Travolta character Vincent Vega explains the differences between Europe and America: "It's the little things," he says, such as how they call the Quarter Pounder a "Royale with Cheese," and how Europeans use mayonnaise on French fries instead of ketchup. ("They drown them in that shi t", he says).
Even though Vincent was thinking in his own limited pedestrian terms, the "little differences" apply to our civilization at large. And what seem to be "little" differences have a way of becoming "big" ones: We've gone from when society considered skin magazines seedy (men would even receive their Playboy magazines in the mailbox in brown wrappers), to a world where women proudly upload sex videos of themselves to random porn sites for free-it seems their main motivation is the thrill of getting as many "views" as possible (and gaining "fame"