Saturday, September 10, 2022

Atheism: A Fool's Pursuit

In the prevailing circumstance of today, it is not just individuals who are foolish. Whole nations and vocations, complete schooling systems, the totality of the human race, tosses this way and that as a ship of fools.

Now hear the Lord’s evaluation of the folly of the atheist in Psalm 14: “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no god’ ” (v. 1a).

By a strange twist of the logic of pride, a man boasts that he is ignorant of God. He would not think of boasting that he was ignorant of anything else. But by claiming that the witness to God’s existence simply is not clear to him, he insulates himself from any sense of accountability to God. But when men claim to be wise they become fools (Rom. 1:22).

If the atheist is a fool, then a vocation controlled by atheism is a vocation of fools. If modern education derives its values from an atheistic perspective, then the whole enterprise is built on folly. The same principle I holds for government, data management, biology, sports, news media, and the arts. Each one serves as a vocation for fools, so long as the endeavor works on the assumption that “there is no god.” Any vocation built on a supposed principle of neutrality with respect to God has chosen folly as its foundation.

“They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good” (v. 1b).

Don’t you find it striking? Educated humanity says, Believe in the ever-increasing greatness of man, and don’t worry about God. But God’s wisdom says, You’re a fool if you don’t believe in God; and be sure you never put your trust in man. The psalmist says that this evaluation about man is not his, but comes from the Lord:

“The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God” (v. 2).

We naturally assume that some men seek to know God, even if they do not arrive at a perfect understanding. Aristotle, Plato, and other philosophers were God-seekers, were they not? Certainly the heathen in the jungle, unspoiled with the materialism of the modern world, seeks to know the true God.

But the Lord answers with an unqualified NO! The supposed seeker has a prejudicial perspective that keeps him from wanting to find the true God.

“They have all turned aside, They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one” (v. 3).

Given certain circumstances even the atheist will call on some kind of god. He may acknowledge the god of chance, hoping for his share of good luck. He may look to astrology, assuming the stars have the power to determine his fate. But he will not call on Yahweh, the God of history and the covenants. He will grant no recognition to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“… And do not call on the LORD? There they are in great fear, for God is with the generation of the righteous” (vv. 4–5).

Yet God abides among the assembled generations of the righteous. Loyalty to the Lord passes on from generation to generation as God’s people gather for worship. This reality awes the atheist. Despite all its mockery of Christianity, the world wonders at the love found in the assembled generations of the righteous. The unbelievers are convicted of their sin, they fall down on their faces and exclaim, “Clearly God is among you” (1 Cor. 14:25).

The humble believer doesn’t fit the pattern of the rest of humanity. Wherever they go, whatever they encounter, belief in Yahweh the God of history remains their only confidence. Whether their problems are great or small, personal or national, they always return to a single source of confidence.

It may not seem wise to have only one hope in life. But the only alternative to trusting the Lord for all of life is to be a fool who says in his heart, “There is no God.” If there is a real God, then He must be the only object of continual trust.

“Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD brings back the captivity of His people, Let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad” (v. 7).

These people crying out to the Lord already had suffered at the hands of atheists. They lost a great deal. But they trusted that Yahweh would restore their losses. Inevitably He will give back all that has been taken from His children.

The folly of the atheist is always with us.

There is the fool, the school of fools, the vocation, the nation, the race of fools.

But an alternative way of wisdom may be found in the person of Jesus Christ. In Him are found all the treasures of divine wisdom and knowledge. The message of the Cross may be foolishness to those who are perishing. But to those being saved it is the power and the wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:18).