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Why I Rejected Nihilism



The philosophy known as nihilism is very popular in metal. The notion that life has no meaning and nothing matters is very appealing to depressed people and rebellious teenagers. I should know. I used to be a nihilist. It was a natural consequence of my atheism. After all, if there is no God, then there is no absolute truth, and if there is no absolute truth, then there is no meaning to anything. I used to spend a great deal of time browsing Death Metal Underground and reading the works of Brett Stevens, agreeing with all his points. But as the years passed, nihilism and the atheism that gave birth to it proved to be inadequate and devoid of any substance. I knew deep down in my soul that there was inherent meaning in the world. The grand beauty of creation was not the result of random chance. Eventually, after much study, I abandoned the views I once held and became religious again. I know that will be shocking to a large portion of metalheads, but I am no stranger to controversy.

There are several major reasons why I rejected that philosophy. The first reason is that it is self-refuting. The fundamental premise of nihilism is that there is no absolute truth. But is that premise absolutely true? No matter what answer they give, they will have refuted their own argument. The second reason is that nihilists are hypocrites. They say that life has no meaning, but they don't act like it. I have seen this hypocrisy on many occasions back when I used to regularly visit Death Metal Underground. They would ramble about the pointlessness and meaninglessness of life while simultaneously complaining about how social justice warriors are ruining metal. If life is ultimately pointless and devoid of meaning, then why would you care about metal being ruined?

I can already hear nihilists objecting to this and saying that I'm misunderstanding their ideas. If there is no absolute truth, then why would you care about people getting your philosophy wrong? But let's give them the benefit of the doubt and think through the logical conclusions of their worldview. Let's assume it's true that there is no absolute truth. Let's also ignore the absurdity of that statement. If there is no absolute truth, then science becomes impossible. How can you determine if a claim is true if there is no absolute truth to which it can be compared? Similarly, how can you determine if an action is moral if there is no ultimate source of morality?

Nihilists like Kurzgesagt will respond that humans will decide which principles we should follow. I don't think they realize just how dangerous that proposition is. They assume that everyone will be just as rational and scientifically minded as they are, but what will actually happen is that people will quickly fall into wickedness and depravity. If there is no God who will ultimately judge us, then morality becomes nothing more than arbitrary opinion. At that point, there's no reason not to lie, steal, rape, and murder. They will counter by saying that such behavior is irrational, but what's so irrational about me getting everything I want from everyone I want at every given moment? There's nothing irrational about it. It's pure self-interest. Therein lies the ultimate question nihilists fail to answer: why should I respect the lives of others when life has no meaning? Some nihilists will be honest by doing away with morality entirely and embracing the notion that might makes right. If that's the case, then they have no right to complain when a thug kills them and takes their property.

The third reason is that the modern world is already nihilistic and its rotten fruits have been laid bare for all to see. I have lived long enough to see the West's religious core crumble into dust, and the nihilistic hedonism that replaced it has proven to me that those who claim people can find morality through philosophy or community are dead wrong. To modern people, nothing matters other than the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. Judging by the extremely high rates of depression, drug addiction, and suicide, I don't think that's working out for them. I tried doing whatever made me feel good and I still felt miserable. No amount of material pleasures could ever fill the spiritual void in my heart. It was only by submitting to God that I was able to find true happiness.

I am not the first to point out the absurdities and destructive logical conclusions of nihilism. Seraphim Rose already did so in his fantastic work "Nihilism: The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age". This, however, has not stopped it from sweeping the world and deconstructing every idea and institution. It seems unstoppable. It is an acid that dissolves everything it touches, including itself. Therein lies the silver lining: this ideology cannot and will not last forever because it is fundamentally self-destructive, a trait that is already manifesting itself in its adherents. What we need to do is submit to God and become physically and spiritually strong enough to survive nihilism's violent death throes.

The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation. Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.

- Psalms 37:14-15