Jewish atheist found God at Stanford

By Michael Ashcraft —

All of 11 years old, Barak Lurie embarked on a Socratic quest to discover truth, concluded there was no God, and pronounced himself an atheist.

“It’s a very easy thing for a child to become an atheist because it is a childish philosophy. If you come to the belief that you can’t see, hear, smell or touch God one way or the other, and then say, ‘Well, I can’t see Him. Therefore, He doesn’t exist,’” Lurie says.

But at Stanford University something unexpected happened: while many students watch their faith wither away under the unrelenting scorn of professors, Lurie, who is Jewish, found God.

Surprisingly, it happened as he undertook an undergraduate honors thesis to document the wicked massacres of organized religion.

What his research found was that atheism was responsible for 10 times more killings than Christianity: about 200 million in the last 80 years.

Ultimately, Lurie, now 54, who is a profitable real estate/ business lawyer in a well-heeled Los Angeles neighborhood of Brentwood, turned his undergraduate research into an Amazon best-seller, Atheism Kills, published in 2017.

Lurie was not raised in an observant Jewish home. While his parents believed in God, they didn’t impose faith on their son and attended synagogue only once a year, he says. His parents emphasized deep thinking and didn’t push him to replicate their faith.

“It’s not as if I read Nietzsche at age 11. It wasn’t any one influence that brought me to atheism. It was the lack of influences. Atheism is almost a natural state. If you’re not raised with God or Jesus, depending on your faith, you can easily end up with atheism in your pocket,” Lurie notes. “It was unique about me that I was very interested in God one way or another. I just chose not to believe in Him. I felt that one needed to take a stand on it.”

He lived in Connecticut at the time and attended a “very good” public school, where they rarely talked about God, if only to mock Him. Lurie brandished “a very poignant, very deep atheism.”

“I was very into it. I could argue it. I wanted to find arguments for my atheism.” I pushed it by talking to other people about it. I would ask them, ‘Do you believe in God? Why do you believe in God? Isn’t that silly? Don’t you feel that God is just the caboose in a long line of other gods that were summarily rejected over time?”

His parents had a mild reaction to his lack of faith. “My dad felt that organized religion was detrimental to society,” Lurie says.

He journaled logical arguments against God and scoured Ayn Rand, the renowned American atheist. His atheism flourished ever stronger.

Then he studied economics and humanities at Stanford. Oddly enough, it was his choice of thesis that brought him back to God. Lurie set out to prove the famous atheist mantra; that religion has been responsible for the deaths of untold millions.

“I set out to prove it,” he says. “And as I set out to prove it, within two weeks of deep research I realized, ‘Man, I am really wrong on this.’ It was the weirdest feeling. It was an embarrassed feeling. I realized the information was right in front of me all this time. It wasn’t hard to find.”

But seeing that religion had been good and atheism had been bad throughout history didn’t mean God existed. He kept pondering and questioning.

In philosophy classes, he realized his free will — and anyone’s free will — only exists as given by a Creator. True atheists, he says, are “determinists,” that is they are the sum total of all their influences and therefore not morally responsible for their actions. Adherents to the free-will outlook see themselves as responsible for their decisions.

“Once I accepted that I had a free will, I opened the door to the possibility that there was a Creator,” he observes. “I started asking more questions: Where does beauty come from? Where does freedom come from? Where does our sense of scientific inquiry at all come from? Why do we have love? Why do we have art and music? I began to understand that these things are not explainable from a totally Darwinian perspective.

“In fact, everything we value — everything — you cannot explain through pure evolution,” he says. “Pure evolution is just biology. You cannot say that our humor is a product of evolution. It’s not as if two dogs get together and they survive because they tell jokes really well.”

Animals can’t appreciate the beauty of a sunset or the Mona Lisa. “Not one of our human values can be explained by evolution,” he notes.

In addition to the perplexing existence of values, Lurie also began to ponder the mind-bogglingly probabilities that the vast, organized and beautiful universe spontaneously generated.

“That notion that life could develop randomly is so far-fetched that if you are indeed a man of science, a man of logic, you should come to very clear conclusion: there must have been a creator that designed this,” he says. “The numbers are so staggeringly awful against the notion of atheism, against the notion of randomness.

“Even Stephen Hawkings, the famous atheist, knew that the probability of this universe happening from randomness is wildly infinitesimally bizarrely small, but he could not accept the notion of a Creator. So what did he do? He created a possibility in his own head of a multiverse.”

Hawkings’ speculation of the existence of parallel universes — the multiverse — improved the statistical chances of one of them generating organized life. It was a theory posited to shore up his crumbling atheism, Lurie maintains.

Lurie started his life-changing undergraduate thesis in his sophomore year. By the time he sat down to write it, he had puzzled out many profundities. Ultimately, he decided to focus on Fyodor Dostoevsky, the great Russian novelist.

“His writing reflected how he was rejecting his own atheism,” Lurie says. “He famously said, ‘You cannot truly appreciate God unless you have rejected God.’ I definitely resonate to that. There’s some wisdom to that.”

As an understanding of God welled up in his heart, Lurie wanted to rediscover his Jewish roots. He now attends synagogue regularly. After rejecting God for so many years, reorienting his thinking was cathartic and difficult, like learning a second language.

Lurie attended UCLA’s 4-year joint program of Law School and Business School (a JD MBA). He continued to explore his growing understanding of God by writing, including a novel, which he will be publishing soon.

“It was cool. I really discovered God in a deep way,” he says “I rediscovered everything. I picked up the pieces of everything I had rejected.”

Lurie initiated his law career in 1990 and specialized in litigation of real estate and business cases. He launched his own law firm in 2004, Lurie and Seltzer, which has powerful clients. One was Donald Sterling, former owner of the Clippers basketball franchise.

He’s a board member of Prager U, a non-profit that fights anti-semitism on colleges, Stand With Us, the Israel-supporting Jewish National Fund, and the Freedom Alliance in the fight to shore up Western Civilization’s values and heritage.

For eight years, he’s hosted the Barak Lurie show on KRLA at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, which focuses on the big picture of politics, religion and law.

In 2010, he almost ran for Congress. He’s married with three children in elementary school.

Lurie’s book, Atheism Kills, stormed the market when it was released in 2017 because the argument is powerful. No one had written on the subject extensively. For three months, it was #1 on Amazon, he says.

“I hit gold with getting attention to it,” he says. “I did not expect it to do this well. Godlessness is not such a great thing. I don’t know of any book that speaks to this issue. I think it resonated. It met a particular niche and it cleaned up in that niche.”

His journey to faith has led him to embrace the same “organized religion” his father once eschewed.

“You need organized religion to develop a true sense of God,” he believes.

Along with fellow Jew Dennis Prager, Lurie loves Christians because born-again believers in Jesus adhere to almost identical ethics as devout Jews.

“Dennis Prager and I are close friends, and we share a lot how much we appreciate Christianity,” he says. “If you listen to my show you will hear how often I say, ‘Please Christians, make more Christians.’ We need more Christianity out there. I would love for this whole world to become Christian. Don’t get me wrong, I would love for a lot of Jews too. But this world could do really well if the rest of the world became Christian. We need people who subscribe to the Ten Commandments.”

Mike Ashcraft pastors the Lighthouse Church in Van Nuys, CA.


God is only a crutch to make you feel better. God is a fantasy concept, an opiate of the people. God dulls our senses from the reality of an empty, chaotic and cruel world … where survival of the fittest reigns supreme, and the weak cannot survive. History shows us that Might makes Right.

This is the cynical approach of the atheist. But it is worth noting one important trend: We enjoy greater advancements in technology, conveniences, comfort and entertainment. Medicine has prolonged lives and alleviated suffering more than ever. Social media and the internet allow us to instantaneously communicate all our thoughts, and get just the right product and just the right price.

We should be happier than ever, right? In fact, we should be downright giddy.

Yet here we are, Prozac Nation.

Why is this happening? There is a correlation going on: The rise of atheism. No longer does the church or synagogue serve as the center of most people’s lives. Christian observance is virtually non-existent in Europe, and in danger of disappearing in America. The “Nones” are the largest growing group within religious circles (if one were to include them in religious circles). To them, the Church, the Synagogue, and faith itself are relics of a backward, irrelevant past. Nationhood is passé, as well as the notion of marriage, chivalry, and the distinction between male and female and the distinction between good and evil.

The notion of moral standards? That’s as silly as a butterfly still needing its cocoon. All we need is logic and the heart to be good.

But in the process of the de-Christianizing of the West, we’ve seen the dismantling of one other thing: purpose.

You see, it turns out that when there is no God, there can be no meaningful purpose. That’s right, you read that right: No God, no purpose.

And yet, for some reason purpose beckons us. It nags us, insists that we pursue great things – whether we believe in God or not. But why so? Why has nature infused us with a sense of purpose?

Why don’t we just roam around like the animals, all of which have three core missions: to mate, to eat, and not to be eaten. No animal has ever striven for “greatness,” or to self-actualize, or to seek ways to improve their species. There will never be a William Faulkner of the chimpanzees, a Mozart of the dolphins, or a Leonardo da Vinci of the alligators. No Martin Luther King, Jr. among flamingos. Animals have no sense of purpose beyond their survival and perpetuating of their species. That’s all she wrote, as they say.

But Purpose seems to be a universal beckoning within each human, and only within humans. In fact, no human seems to thrive without it. But atheism, with its mantra of Randomness Created Everything and “survival of the fittest” does not leave any room for purpose. Purpose is irrelevant.

Psychologists and self-help books abound, seeking to resolve people’s increasing depression, alienation and general ennui. Very few of them invoke God as a solution, or that our purpose might very well be somehow to connect with God. By contrast, God-oriented therapists (and clergy) who invoke God for direction seem to lead their congregants to more satisfying lives. Books like The Purpose Driven Life, which appeal to our sense of purpose, and argue that one’s purpose is to find God and do His will, dramatically change lives.

But the godless among us are growing dramatically. Then we’re surprised that the West suffers from more depression than ever — despite our every expanding creature comforts, cures for diseases, entertainment and conveniences.

Study after study shows that those with faith, especially the deeply abiding kind that pervades every aspect of their daily lives, enjoy far greater happiness and suffer much less in the way of depression. The reason is clear: community-based religion scratches that itch all humans seem to have for purpose.

History bears this out. The greatest accomplishments have indeed stemmed from the Church and the Temple, which created the university, the hospital system, charity systems, the school system, and even the development of the scientific method. It developed our notions of freedom and democracy. Christianity and Judaism ultimately destroyed slavery, polygamy, incest, and gave us the civilization as we know it.

Godlessness? Not so much.

There is something very meaningful about accomplishing things. We each expect to do something in our lives. We feel that a life without purpose is a life squandered. Perhaps we will write a great symphony or novel, or argue for clients in court, perform surgeries or pursue other healing. Maybe our mission is just to make others laugh. But no matter how we pursue it, we sense we must answer our calling for purpose. Otherwise, we become … well, depressed.

It is the hallmark of almost every depressed person that they feel disoriented, without purpose. But you won’t see many of them among the faithful.

We must satisfy our sense of purpose — something we simply cannot ignore. It is a core human need – and only a need for humans. It’s as if a creator gave this unique sense of purpose for a reason. It’s as if he expected us to use it, to pursue some mission.

If you take purpose away, or ignore it, you make yourself no different from the animals. It would seem like a pointless existence, one of mere survival. One which had no sense of any past, nor any inclination to improve any future. A world without God would debilitate us. And so a doctor treating a patient dealing with depression might do well to say: “Take a couple of churches and call me in the morning.”

Find God, and you will find your purpose. And once you find your purpose, your path out of depression and toward happiness will become clear. It is no different than the intense joy and satisfaction we feel from drinking water after a long thirst.

5 uncomfortable facts atheists need to hear

Barak Lurie suggests we need to be more honest about the damage atheism has caused

The title of my book - Atheism Kills - seems to have unleashed an apocalyptic hate-fest of epithets, insults and general cantankery at the proposition that atheism as a governing ideology kills.

But I still believe the ideology of atheism is deeply destructive. The atheist rarely contemplates the following five uncomfortable truths. But they need to. There are consequences to the atheistic mindset. And they are all horrific.

1. Atheism is responsible for more deaths than Judaism or Christianity

Fascism and communism - both of which were atheist ideologies - murdered more than 150 million people in the 20th Century alone.

Communist and other godless regimes have continued to kill hundreds of thousands since. Add the millions of rapes, tortures and enslavements by these same godless regimes, and you’ve got yourself a pretty ugly picture.

The atheist’s favorite ‘go to’ accusation against Christianity includes the Inquisition, the Crusades, the Salem Witch Trials and the church paedophilia scandal. However, even assuming that all such wrongs occurred as a direct result of church doctrine (they did not, but let’s assume so), the numbers dwarf in comparison to what atheism has wrought.

The Crusades involved the deaths of approximately 1.5 million people. Most of them were soldiers on both sides, as well as people who died of disease and other peripheral causes. The Inquisition resulted in less than 5,000 deaths over a span of approximately 300 years. The Salem Witch Trials spanned just four months, resulting in a total of 19 killed.

There are other so-called ‘killings’ that occurred as a result of religious fervor (the French Religious Wars, the 30 Years War, and so forth), but even adding all those up, you could not even reach ten per cent of the numbers of deaths that godless regimes have caused.

To argue that “religion has caused more death than anything else” is a quip that has no basis in fact.

2. Hitler was not a Christian

Atheists routinely urge that the Nazis were Christian, invoking Christianity to justify their horrors. This is false.

Nazism and fascism never held themselves out as Christian enterprises. More particularly, Hitler himself despised Christianity. He saw Christianity as “meek” and “flabby” and sought to destroy it “root and branch”. He bemoaned why Germany was “stuck” with “feeble minded” Christianity and preferred other “strong-arm” systems.

Hitler’s writings and speeches are so full of passages dripping with contempt for Christianity that to argue he was Christian is like arguing George Washington fought for the British during the Revolutionary War.

3. Atheism is an ideology - whether you realise it or not

The most common argument is that atheism is not an ideology; it merely reflects the absence of faith in religion. They just don’t believe in God. Why can’t we please leave them alone?

But it turns out they don’t want to leave you alone. On social media most atheists are bizarrely vocal about their contempt for Christianity and, to a lesser extent, Judaism, for their beliefs. They believe these religions frustrate progress. They argue with great passion that we’d be better off if we just eradicated God once and for all. Godless regimes have always sought the eradication of God with passionate zeal, deadly efficiency on a mass scale, and unspeakable cruelty.

Such thinking is an ideology. Such “non-belief” has devastating consequences. Not believing in God is like not believing in seat belts. Or better yet: it’s like not believing in the police, the judiciary, medicine or fire stations. You don’t have to believe in them, but living in a world without them has consequences. 

4. People of faith are responsible for a huge amount of good in our society

Atheists don’t give credit for what the Church and Judaism have done for civilisation: the creation of our notions of justice, the hospital system, the university, public schools, charity, progress, truth and freedom itself. 

Who fought against and ultimately destroyed the evils of slavery? The Christians and Jews. Who were the only ones who fought against the horrors of eugenics (forced sterilisation of those the state deemed inferior), and China’s horrific “one child” policy? The Christians and Jews.

5. Judaism and Christianity created civilisation

A world centered around God has allowed us to pursue the great blessings of God: beauty, justice, truth and freedom itself. Such things mean nothing without God’s presence.

Atheists may enjoy such values, and even benefit from them, but they are only living off of what others have created. There is no real reason to pursue any of these values without a sense of purpose. Purpose itself is meaningless without God.

Without God, there is no reason to have children, or to hope for the continuation of our family name or our values. There is no reason to die for our country, or for freedom. After all, what’s the point? In a world without God, we need only do what the animals do: mate, eat, and make sure not to be eaten. We need only live for today.

This is contrary to the notion of “civilisation”. By definition, civilisation contemplates a future that is better than our present, and we derive lessons from the past to do so. Civilisation does not mean we just have a good time on the planet while we are here; civilisation means we seek a better vision for our collective future. We know this instinctively, but many never quite incorporate it into their worldview.

Adolph Hitler Was Never a Christian and Hated Christianity

Adolph Hitler's early Christian references were political pandering, a ruse to bring the church into line so that it wouldn't interfere with his scheme to take over the world.

Christianity gets a bad rap. Not only do many blame it for the Inquisitions and the Crusades, they claim that Adolph Hitler was a devout Christian who committed the horrors of the Holocaust and the Third Reich to advance Christianity. They even argue that Christianity was at the very core of Nazism. They claim this reflects the evil nature of Christianity itself.

You'll find references to Hitler's supposed love for Christianity, especially in his screed Mein Kampf, which he wrote in the 1920s while in prison, and in his early days before he attained complete power in 1933. So there you go the atheist will say.

But to believe Hitler was a Christian is like believing the four guys from the music group the Village People were really a policeman, a cowboy, a sailor and an Indian chief.

You see, it just ain't so.

Like Mussolini before him, Hitler dripped with contempt for Christianity. He in fact dedicated himself to only one overall mission: destroy God and His 10 Commandments. His seemingly pro-Christian fervor was just a ruse: he orchestrated it solely in the hopes of getting Christians to back him, or at least not to get in the way.

It turns out that dictators manipulate, lie and deceive. Who knew? And Hitler had lied and deceived over and over again: he lied to the rest of the world when he said he wanted only peace. Then he lied that he wouldn't pursue any territory after acquiring Czechoslovakia. He lied to the Russians when he signed a treaty that he wouldn't go to war with them. He lied and deceived the world about his plan to annihilate the Jews and all other supposed "undesirables."

His specific lies were extensive: "We have no territorial demands to make in Europe", "I do not desire anything further than that this German nation shall take its place and grow into the unity and co-operation of the European community" (March 1936); "We want nothing from France—nothing at all" (September 1938); "Germany does not conduct a war against small nations" (April 1940).

Those who claim Hitler was a devout Christian seem to understand that he was a ruthless, psychopathic liar who would say anything to accomplish his murderous scheme to wipe out all non-Aryan people from Europe and beyond. But his professed deep faith in Christianity?

That you can apparently take to the bank.

We know better now. As Historian Paul Johnson observed, Hitler hated Christianity with a passion. After assuming power in 1933, Hitler told Hermann Rauschning that he intended "to stamp out Christianity root and branch."

Hitler himself bemoaned that Germany was stuck with Christianity, which he considered "the wrong religion," and "meek and flabby." He preferred the Japanese fatherland approach, or even "the Mohammedan religion."

And then, in 1933, away from the public, Hitler explains his plans to destroy Christianity: "It is through the peasantry that we shall really be able to destroy Christianity, because there is in them a true religion rooted in nature and blood." His contempt for Christianity grows more with time. By 1940, he states, "The religions are all alike, no matter what they call themselves. They have no future—certainly none for the Germans. Fascism, if it likes, may come to terms with the Church. So shall I. Why not? That will not prevent me from tearing up Christianity root and branch, and annihilating it in Germany." More revealing yet: "We will wash off the Christian veneer and bring out a religion peculiar to our race."

Yehuda Bauer, professor of Holocaust Studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, describes the real "god" of Hitler and the Nazis: "They wanted to go back to a pagan world, beautiful, naturalistic, where natural hierarchies based on the supremacy of the strong would be established, because strong equaled good, powerful equaled civilized." In other words, not Christian.

Hitler's early Christian references were political pandering, a ruse to bring the church into line so that it wouldn't interfere with his scheme. "He knew he dare not simply eradicate it: that would not have been possible with such an international organisation, and he would have lost many Christian supporters had he tried to."

In other words, he knew which fights he could win (at least until 1941) and only fought those.

For Hitler, Christianity was his enemy. As Hitler wrote: "Pure Christianity... leads simply to the annihilation of mankind. It is merely wholehearted Bolshevism, under a tinsel of metaphysics." Like Stalin, Hitler believed history was on his side: "Do you really believe the masses will ever be Christian again? Nonsense. Never again. The tale is finished . . . but we can hasten matters. The parsons will be made to dig their own graves." (Emphasis added.)

Still not convinced? It is virtually impossible to find a speech, especially in his later years, whereby he spoke of love for God or Christ. By contrast, he demanded the world to pledge allegiance to him, the Fuhrer —not to God, Jesus or any other higher power.

The ultimate violation of the commandments is where one does evil and does so in the name of God. Why is this particular violation so contemptible? Because it commits evil under the guise of faith and goodness. It gives God a bad name.

This is the evil Hitler mastered so well. Yet there are those who take his few early references to Christianity seriously. But just because someone invokes God or Jesus doesn't mean he believes in God or Jesus. It's what any smart con man would tell you do—know your audience, exploit them. Kill them later.

Hitler appealed to Christianity, but only as a tool to aggrandize his power. In this way, he viewed Christianity much like he viewed Stalin—a necessary ally for the moment, whom he would turn against when he invaded Russia in 1942.

Hitler was no Christian and never acted as a Christian. Adolf Hitler was godless. To say otherwise is a libel upon Christianity.

We Need Religion Like We Need AIR

Religion seems to be a mainstay of our lives, but we rarely seem to appreciate its very purpose. It’s more like an accommodation to those who have faith, like if you want to go bowling: It’s something you can do if it suits your fancy, but necessary? Probably not.

It is worth exploring what the world looked like before Judaism (and later, Christianity). It was not pretty. Might made right. Theft, rape and murder were perfectly acceptable — at least for those in power. Think the Canaanites, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the ancient world in general. It took thousands of years for Judaism and Christianity’s teachings to filter down and create what we consider a universal “morality” today.

All of our sense of morality stems from what the Judeo-Christian mindset has taught us. Recognizing the primacy of family, for example, the Bible teaches us that incest is completely forbidden. Why so? It is not because abnormalities might occur. If that were the case, then a brother and sister who were older or who had no intention of having children should be able to marry each other. But we still forbid it.

The reason is that the possibility of sex among family (beyond the mother and father) would necessarily tear the fabric of the family: a mother might give birth to daughter, only to be terrified that her husband would one day abuse that girl as a sex plaything. No culture or family, let alone a civilization, could grow under such a paradigm.


For those who claim it was a matter of “logic” to prohibit incest, or that it was somehow rare, they would be wrong on both counts: incest was prevalent in the ancient world, including Rome and Greece. In short, like slavery and polygamy, incest was common.

Then there was polygamy. Not only did the ancient world practice it, it was a sign of wealth and power. Today is not only illegal in most of the civilized world, but when it is practiced, it is deemed backward and inherently evil.

Why the turnabout? Judaism understood the devastation that polygamy wreaks upon civilization. As Joseph Telushkin explains in his “Biblical Literacy,” the Bible shows the destructive nature of polygamy: from internal frictions and petty jealousies (Joseph is the “favorite” son because he derives from Rachel, Jacob’s favorite wife), to the murderous (David has many wives, all of whom jockey for power to ensure that their son becomes the next king. Those sons war with David and each other.)

These were norms which we do not consider part of civilized society today. As Nonie Darwish explains in her own powerful book, “Now They Call Me Infidel,” polygamy leads only to mutual distrust, destructive jealousies, insecurity, and perpetual fear among women. This cannot advance civilization.

Likewise, slavery was the norm of the day. Until the early 19th Century, many people not only considered it “natural” in the development of society. After all, it always existed. And how else were you going to get those fields tilled?

It was not the professed “logic” of atheists or the human “heart” that ended slavery. It was the Judeo-Christian mindset, which derived from the teachings of the Bible and the New Testament, that pushed (and ultimately achieved) abolition of slavery, first in England and then in America. Soon, there was such passion against slavery that 600,000 men died in the struggle to eradicate it during the American Civil War.

Many atheists jump to argue that the Bible condoned slavery, and even embraced it. That is false. The fact that slavery coincided with Christianity doesn’t mean that Christianity created or approved it. One might as well argue that Mormons embrace alcohol and gambling because, alcohol and gambling exist today.

The Bible also repeatedly expresses its contempt of slavery. Not only is it a clear violation of the Eighth Commandment not to steal, but God made laws regarding the treatment of slaves so onerous and expensive that in the end, most Jews simply gave up the practice altogether.

It was Christianity and Judaism that fought against the evils of eugenics (a program of forced sterilization of “undesirables” that swept through America and later in Germany, and which gave Hitler a basis not only to sterilize “undesirables,” but to kill them as well) The godless were somehow absent in this fight. In fact, they embraced such programs, thinking that this would actually better mankind.

It happened even more recently. China’s one-child policy, first patterned as a “progressive” reform which many progressives in America wanted to follow to save our planet, soon revealed its horrors: the Chinese government was forcing abortions upon citizens. Those who failed to comply suffered destruction of their homes and even execution. Parents, realizing they could have only one child, routinely aborted girls.

God — and only God — can truly give us a sense of justice, wisdom, purpose and even our notion of freedom and the sanctity of the individual and life. Not only could Civilization not happen without such things, but Civilization means nothing without such things.

We forget the very reason why we enjoy these notions — especially freedom and the ability to enjoy those freedoms — is due to religion’s creation of the very concept of civilization. Those who believe otherwise do not realize that they are benefiting from a world that the Judeo-Christian religion has given them. It’s like finding yourself in an airplane at 20,000 feet in the sky and then somehow believing that you got there all by yourself. In fact, may you can even fly by yourself.

People seem to appreciate that technology has lifted us to the great scientific advances we’ve achieved. But when it comes to our general sense of morality? Somehow that all came about haphazardly and organically.

The morals and standards that we enjoy today, where we understand that it is wrong to steal, kill or otherwise violate each other is not the norm. We walk about our day-to-day lives, enjoying such foundations, but never really appreciating how we got them. But these are the value that allow us to have a civilization.

God is like air: We never really notice air. But take it away, and you’ll soon be thinking about pretty much nothing else.

And so it will be if we take God out of civilization.

5 Reasons You Need to Believe in God

Discussions about God had always been big. Does God exist? Is there a Heaven? At this time of year, those questions come to the forefront.

Discussions about God had always been big. Does God exist? Is there a Heaven? At this time of year, those questions come to the forefront. Lost in all this is whether we need to believe in God. Not only do we each need to believe in the Judeo-Christian God, but the Judeo-Christian God should be front and center even in our government. Here are five reasons:

A God-Based Government Doesn't Kill.

Godless governments have always – repeat, always -- murdered in the thousands and millions in the pursuit of some godless utopia. Never in the history of the world has a godless regime left the world in a better place. The Soviet Union, China under Mao, the Viet Cong, all the former Eastern Bloc communist nations, as well as Fascist Germany and Italy, were all godless. The writings of Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini acknowledge that godlessness was at the core of their agenda.

In this way, godless governments are wholly different than many of the empires of old (the Romans, the Greeks, the Persians, the Babylonians, the British, and so forth). Those empires sought power and land, yes, but did not seek the annihilation of whole peoples.

The 20th Century bears out my thesis amply: approximately 200 million people died in the 20th Century alone, as a result of godless regimes. No religious institution, nor country founded upon the Judeo-Christian ethic came close to even a hundredth of such numbers.

God Gives Us Freedom

Beauty, free will, humor, a sense of the past and the present, a sense of improvement and progress, are all central in humans. And they are meaningless without the notion of aspiring toward a connection with God. To conceptualize this, understand how animals do not care about any such things.

But we humans are different. We not only crave such things, we also crave freedom. Animals do not. A dog can be perfectly content, even though his master leashes him. He is not "free."

Those who do not care about God, particularly in the former communist countries, never express a yearning for freedom. As long as the government gives them free education, health care, housing, free child care, what do they care about freedom? It's not relevant to them.

I just hope they don't mind the leash.

God Alleviates Depression

As Rabbi Brandon Gaines has observed: Our society makes every effort to kick God out of our society -- and then we wonder why everyone is taking anti-depressants.

There's a correlation: Study after study show that those who observe a Judeo-Christian faith are far less likely to suffer depression.

Why? Life without God is ultimately a life without purpose. It is like expecting to feel fully satisfied after eating a bag of popcorn, rather than a nourishing meal of vegetables, risotto and tofu (I'm vegan; bear with me).

We need a sense that we do things for something beyond ourselves. Christians of old built churches they knew would take 600 years to complete. Those who started the project knew they would never see its end. But onward they went. They were part of something much larger.

When you have purpose, depression fades away. And loss of purpose is one of the great casualties of a world without God.

God Gives Us Science

Contrary to the atheists' declaration that God and science are incompatible opposites, God is science, and we could not haveScience without God. Science is the quest to find God.

This is what Judaism and Christianity have believed for thousands of years: we seek out knowledge because God imbued us with a sense of learning. Unlike the animals, we humans must always be discovering.

To the Christian and the Jew, the explanation is simple: God wants us to find him. It is Judaism and Christianity that created the university, the judicial system, the school system, and the scientific method itself. It was Georges Lemaitre, a French priest, who discovered what we now call the "Big Bang." He did so in a quest to reveal God's glory in His creation of the universe.

In a godless world of "survival of the fittest," there is no reason to learn science beyond our immediate comfort. Discovering the galaxies, millions of light years away? How is that relevant to our species' survival?

The lion, the gazelle and the chimpanzee don't give a hoot about the universe, let alone know such a thing exists. Science means nothing to them.

But it does to us, because of God.

God Allows Us To Recognize Evil

Without God, distinctions do not matter. There is no true "good" or "evil." There are no clear moral distinctions. All morality is relative.

The more godless our society becomes, the less focus there has been on "evil." That's because suggesting "evil" exists means a universal standard must exist.

One of the most haunting examples of the inability to fight evil comes from the true story of the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, Canada, in the late 1980s. A lone gunman with just one assault rifle ordered the male students to wait out in the hallway while he killed women in a classroom, one by one. The men did nothing. No one seemed to know what to do.

How could such a thing happen? Why didn't any of the men rush the gunman? Because no one had taught them to recognize evil. They knew about environmentalism, about gay rights, and that capitalism is bad. But the evil of madmen? Not so much.

A world without God demotes us to mere animals in the jungle. There is no "evil" in the jungle: One animal killing or raping another is no different than the jumping of a fish out of water or the falling of a leaf. These are just things that happen in the jungle.

We need God for the sake of our universal progress, and also for our own individual freedoms, safety and growth. Without Him, well: Welcome to the Jungle.