Today is “National Atheist Day.” At least that’s what some say. The idea is based on a familiar Scripture quote, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Psalm 14:1) Since this is April first, April Fools Day, some have deemed it fair to point out how foolish it is not to believe in God.
But before we accuse atheists of being fools, perhaps we should find out what god they are rejecting.
Over the past few years I have heard from several people who find it very hard to believe in God. They, in fact, seriously doubt that He exists and want nothing to do with Him if He does. In their minds, God is cruel, distant, and arbitrary. He is kind to some and mean to others. He judges on the basis of sin, yet lets the oppressors get by with almost anything. His judgment looms for those who try hard to please him, but there seems to be no judgment for those who don’t try at all. This god is someone they reject.
But this is not the God of the Scriptures. This is the twisted image of God presented by the flesh and the religious system. People operating in the flesh expect their efforts to be noticed and their “mistakes” to be overlooked. They want to be judged on what they intended or on what they wanted to intend to do. They developed a religion that has a god who operates like we do. The flesh expects God to bargain, to recognize our works, and to turn His back as we hurt ourselves and others.
This is the god many churches present.
This is the god many who call themselves “atheists” are rejecting.
If God is impressed by the rich, like some churches are; if God finds pleasure in catching us in sin and holding that over our heads, like some churches seem to teach; if God rejects whole groups of people because of the struggles of their hearts, the color of their skin, or the culture of their birth, like some churches have taught; and if God is so focused on His anger that He killed His Son just because He had to kill someone—then I don’t think I would want Him either. But none of that is true. That is not the God of the Bible.
Don’t misunderstand me. I have read the Bible and I have seen the consequences suffered by those who turned away from God. But I have also seen His continual invitation for deliverance and protection. I have seen, throughout the Bible, His attempts to reach out in love to anyone. And I have seen that He respects each one enough to allow them to go their own way.
The Bible presents a God who loves people enough to call them from sin and the consequences that will hurt them and others. And, even when they fail and continue to sin, He still calls them to come and be washed and saved. This is the God who loves.
Most of the people who have told me they no longer believe in God have never really known Him. They have known only the god of the flesh and religious system. They have never met the God who loves them.
Before you think of the atheist as a fool, be sure he is rejecting the true God. It isn’t foolish at all to reject a false god.