In an era where the American people and the president argue about “whose side God is on,” many are left questioning whether or not a higher being even exists. Still others embrace their faith unconditionally, even during trying times. Was Nietzsche right, could God be dead in our society, or is he more alive than ever before?
Professors, ministers and students, mostly studying philosophy, were asked to analyze and explain their views on the existence of God. In philosophy, their course of study requires them to recognize and understand both controversial and traditional theories regarding spirituality.
With a ring fastened neatly around the center of his lower lip and an unimpressed look on his face, Matt Erck, a religious studies and philosophy senior, has a clearly defined view on God.
“God as a person or some sort of metaphysical being never existed, so it can’t be dead,” Erck said. “But God as a metaphysical idea is definitely dying because we are no longer in a time of superstition where scientific beliefs are more easily rationalized and explained by fairy tales.”
Erck raises the important point of time, perhaps the fundamental issue behind the evolution of spirituality in our society. Fewer people probably questioned the existence of God when a higher, all-knowing being was the only explanation for the workings of the country, the world, and the universe. Now with science able to explain so much, the idea of God has changed for many people.
However, youth minister, D. Johnson, disagrees, and follows the Bible in his quest for answers.
“In response to that, I would go back to the Bible first and state what it says,” Johnson said.
“The Lord is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” For some, faith never falters.
Others saw God as an all-encompassing entity. “God is everywhere, but people have to seek him,” Jonathan Joyner, a first-year law student, said. “He reaches out to all of us, but we don’t always hear him.”
[god] None of the philosophy students provided a resounding response stating God was, in fact, alive and well in American society. Sean Higgins was hesitant to fully explain the existence of “the Almighty.”
“You can’t prove God exists, but you can’t prove he doesn’t either, so is God dead in most people’s lives? Yes,” Higgins said. But that doesn’t mean that he has given up his own faith. “Personally, I hope he exists. I can’t prove it, but I hope so,” Higgins said.
Like many, assistant professor of philosophy Frederick Rauscher, also straddled the middle line, unsure of whether or not our culture has given up on God.
“Nobody can know whether God exists or not, but precisely for this reason, we as a society, have to interact with each other on a human level and particularly in our political institutions,” Rauscher said.
Perhaps this is the ultimate paradox. Does God now exist more realistically in our actions as human beings, and in the way we relate to our peers and govern our people? Rauscher is suggesting, despite whether we are sure that God is watching over us, we must live with respect for others and a willingness to better our world. If there is no God we must try even harder without the supervision of a higher power.
“In philosophy last year, I read small exerts of Nietzsche, famous for saying, ‘God is dead.’ I gathered that it is not so much that God is dead, but that he is absent in many customs and practices… He is being acknowledged less and less and therefore appears to be dying,” said Amanda Goodrich-Stuart, a German junior.
God, or an abundance of religious customs, may be “dead” to some and very alive to many others. Yet, if the possible existence of a higher power makes people act more tolerant and peaceful it might not matter.
“… I see his influence in my daily life,” Goodrich-Stuart said.

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