August 27, 2007

That Other Kind of Atheist

Psalm 14

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt; their deeds are vile ... Psalm 14:1


There’s a certain kind of atheist being described in this psalm.

It’s not the openly militant atheist, representing a tiny minority that wants to prohibit all mention of God from public life. It’s not the depressed atheist, who is despondent over the problems of life and has come to feel that if God were real he would not have let those problems happen. It’s not even the atheist like one of my business customers at the bank—a man who was convinced that humankind is improving things on its own, and that all human beings would be better off if they didn’t distract themselves with concerns about God.

We aren’t always able to identify the atheists of Psalm 14 by what they say. They might even say the Lord’s Prayer or the Apostles’ Creed along with us. But in their hearts, they say, “There is no God.”

And when they look at others, they see someone who satisfies their own hunger for the moment. They see someone or some thing that they can use, a resource to meet their need of the moment. Those atheists think, “I’ll use them, I’ll abuse them, I’ll devour them, because I am the center of my universe; I have the power to do it. I’ll do this because I recognize no God, I recognize no divine standard.”

When God looks into your heart, what does he see?

Father God, guard us from the actions of people whose hearts and minds refuse to acknowledge that there is a God looking down on them from heaven. Amen.

About the author — Fred Bultman

Fred Bultman began a “second career” as a pastor in 1997, after a first career in the banking business.  He served as pastor to congregations in the U.S. and Canada. In retirement, he continues to enjoy sharing in the ministry of the churches in and around his home in Fremont, Michigan.

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