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October 9, 2009

I heard a homily this week that used the old James Dean film, Rebel without a Cause, which I have never seen, to illustrate that without God in one’s worldview, one’s life has no real meaning. In fact, in a world without God, there would be no purpose for anything at all.

Not too long ago, in the course of a conversation on this subject with a friend, Daniel once said something along the lines of: “I found out that I couldn’t really love Sarah unless I loved God first.” The response he received was, “But let’s just say that somehow you found out tomorrow with 100% certainty that God did not exist. Wouldn’t you still love Sarah?”

Tough question, with a short answer: “No.” But obviously, a short answer wasn’t going to cut it. My wonderful husband (although this was before he was my husband) went on to explain in the best way he could that if there was a way that God could be proved nonexistent beyond any shadow of doubt, loving me would not mean anything. It wouldn’t even be possible, because real love always comes from the God who is Love.

If true love between a husband and wife in this life is necessarily tied into eternal life with our Creator, as St. John Chrysostom suggests in the quote I used last week, then what purpose would love have in a godless world? “For the present life is nothing, and my most ardent dream is to spend it with you in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated in the life reserved for us…”

The question remains: Can you truly love someone if you don’t believe in God? I don’t think you can. Like I said, tough question. And a difficult answer to stomach, even for a believer. But God gives meaning to this life, and this life is all about relationship, with Him and with others in the world around us. I believe that.

Reader Comments (5)

  • "What purpose would love have in a Godless world?"

    None! If there was no God our love is as good as "altruism" or an instinct that drives us to reproduce. If there was no God we would never have the power or freedom to choose anything- we would just blindly- as animals- seek food and shelter and a mate to pass on our genes. Those that didn't would be weeded out by natural selection.

    Sure, if there was no God, Daniel could still feel attracted to you, he could still woo you and do all kinds of outlandish things to show that he wanted to marry you- but you're so right- it wouldn't mean anything. Isn't this how much of the world operates though? People marry an divorce as if it is a game- you really wonder what they are thinking. But it's easy to tell, they say with their actions, "marriage doesn't mean anything" but to them- it really doesn't mean anything. What even is a civil union? Why would someone ever do that? I mean really- besides gov. benefits. How sad! They could say "Because we love each other" but many times that love is not chosen, but merely felt- love involves the whole person. Mind, body, SOUL. Wihtout God there is no love- without the whole person, love is weak, oh but thanks to God when we're weak he makes up for it. Our ability to love comes from God, and if someone doesn't believe in God- and loves- that person's ability to love and find meaning in it come from God also- Don't you love how God does that?

    Really, God thinks of everything- he's so practical- and so wonderful!!

    Good Thunder
  • It's so true! I find that it is more difficult selflessly love my husband when my prayer life is nonexistent. I realize that I need God and MUST maintain a relationship with Him in order to maintain my relationship with my husband.

    Thanks for the post! It's so good to read the thoughts of another young Catholic wife. God bless the two of you!

  • Beautifully said. God's love…human love…such an amazing mystery.

    I read your post on Monday's- after a long day, it is exactly what I need to hear week after week.

  • Those are some excellent thought-provoking questions! I don't think I'm qualified to answer them (who is?), but I can say for sure that I feel better able to love and be loved when my spiritual life is in order.

    My wife and I went on a marriage retreat two weekends ago, and I can say that we never felt so close in our 8+ years of marriage. A large part of that was attributable to the deep spiritual experience we shared through prayer, confession and Mass.

    Good Stuff!


    Dustin | Engaged Marriage
  • In order for any marriage to be really loving and fruitful, I believe that one needs to have God as the center of their marriage-this is truly elemental. Faith in God is so important, especially during these turbulent times in the world. One needs to rely on God and trust in Him. My husband (and the whole family) pray together each day…I feel that this prayer time bonds the family together in God's Love. We say the "Divine Mercy" prayer and the rosary every day, along with nightly prayers with the children. How one could survive without God, I'll never know…Crystal

Sarah and Daniel

Sarah and Daniel

Sarah H., 25, has a bachelor of arts degree in Communication Studies and a passion for communicating her Catholic faith, especially with youth. On May 16, 2009 she married her best friend, Daniel. Faith and Family are the two most important things in her life, and she wouldn’t trade either for the world.


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