In 1882 Friedrich Nietzsche penned his now infamous story about the madman who ran into the market-place and cried, “I am looking for God!” Those who heard him no longer believed in God and so predictable sarcasm followed: “Have you lost him? Did he lose his way like a child? Is he hiding? Has he gone on a voyage?” Thus they laughed at the madman who dared to remain a theist in Enlightened Europe.

The madman, undaunted by the sarcasm, sprang into their midst and pierced them with his glances. “Whither is God?” he cried. “I shall tell you. We have killed him – you and I. All of us are murderers. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.” (The Gay Science, 1882).

The point is that God is dead in the heart and mind of our modern culture. He was killed by rationalism and modern science. The outcome of such a catastrophic event is the erosion of morality and the elimination of any sense of purpose. Our lives are no longer constrained by considerations of morality. Our existence is not guided by a sense of purpose. We are threatened by a brooding spirit of pessimism.

The tragedy is that this mindset (secularism) has profoundly influenced the Church. Oh, we still believe that God exists. But, for the most part, our God is very distant—an absentee landlord no longer interacting with His creation. Of course, everyone will see God when He returns on Judgment Day. But until then we must get through life on our own—make life work by manipulating resources we can control.

Not only is our God distant, but He is also impersonal. Since He no longer communicates directly with us He is now available to us only through a Book. The Creator has, under the intense pressure of Secularism, become reducible to a finite number of doctrinal propositions, which must be memorized correctly, guarded tenaciously, and presented faithfully on That Day in exchange for admission. The irony is uncanny: the religious leaders of Jesus’ day had fallen into the same trap (John 5:39).

The truth is that God is as alive today, as interested in us, and as active in His creation as He has always been. The problem is not that God is dead; the problem is that, under the influence of our secular worldview, we don’t know where to look for Him.