What, if anything, is lost when God disappears?
There is no God.
And if once there was one, he must have gone somewhere- He stopped leaving evidence of himself long before men had an organized epistemology. The only evidence of God is the left over narratives of the Ancients, none of which were even written down until thousands of years after they originated, plus the lingering “belief” that there simply has to be a God, because it is such an easy way to explain the occasionally unexplainable.
But these things are not evidence. I have participated in state administrative hearings that had tougher evidentiary standards than that.
Some people might say that without God there is no morality.
But that is not true.
Individual morality exists without divine guidance; if you make too many choices that are contrary to your nature, and to laws of nature, you will at best be unhappy, and at worst be dead. People are capable of figuring this out without the supernatural.
And morality in a social context really is not morality. All civilizations, even those that are not God centered, have established similar standards of behavior in order to curtail murder, thievery, rape and other human tendencies that are universally regarded as undesirable in a social structure. This has been discovered by centuries of civilization experience. God did not have to tell people that a non-nomadic division of labor society and economy will not work if people wantonly kill and steal.
I went to church when I was a little kid. I liked church quite a bit. It was a great place to be around lots of people with common goals and values, plus it was a super way to get plugged into organized, voluntary charity, which I think is important for healthy self-esteem and good for the community. I do not go anymore, but I actually miss that part of it, and I have considered going to church anyway. But so many people that I know would wonder what the heck I was doing there. It would be too hard to explain. So I get my social fix elsewhere, and I do volunteer work for charity organizations that are more secular.
But as nice as the social and charitable elements of the organized church are, none of those things have anything to do with the presence or absence of God and when I got old enough to think about it, I realized there was no God, so I stopped going
Before we go further-I do not care if someone chooses to “believe” in a supernatural all knowing, all-powerful, and all present being. That is your business. As long as you do not take your mysticism and religious altruism to Washington D.C. and make it the Law of the Land, you will get no criticism from me. In fact, I will be your protector if you need me. I know how to do that. I am certainly not your enemy.
So what is actually gone, when God is gone? What goes missing at that point, besides tradition (and I will not deny that tradition is important)? If you are like me, do think you have lost something? If you are not like me, what do you fear losing?