Atheists are Fools?

From a blog by Sofyst entitled Atheist [sic] are Fools:

Psa. 14:1
The fool says in his heart, "God does not exist."

I was reading a comment by another on my discussion boards. The guy is an atheist, and is somewhat disgruntled at the fact that one of us Christians would consider atheism to be foolish. The Christian said (paraphrasing) that if one wants to discuss with an atheism for the purpose of the edification of the believer, and so that the believer can see the wisdom of God manifested within the foolishness of the atheist, let him do it. Well this did not set right with our atheist friend.

Now, by no means am I saying that I would welcome the thought of being called a fool. But I am likewise, by no means, encouraging us, as Christians, to ignore the Scripturally taught idea that atheism is a foolish belief system. If one can truly look around all that is, and consider truly, all presuppositions and biases aside, one cannot help but notice, at least finitely, that there has to be something more.

Am I then to bypass the obvious conclusion that the Sir is a fool, simply because it may upset him? I find it upsetting, and highly insulting that one would use the reasoning within their little head so utterly wrongly. This I find insulting, yet countless still do it.

I tell you what...I will quit calling atheism a foolish doctrine, and atheist fools, when you quit believing in a foolish doctrine, and quit acting as fools. There, is that fair enough? I think so.

I think that this post is both instructive and profound. It is instructive because it helps to remind us that we need to be careful, in our apologetic, that we not simply quote the Bible at an atheist, say "you are a fool", and consider ourselves to have helped spread the Word of God. Gregory Koukl calls this sort of tactic "spreading more heat than light." Christians need to make certain that they have, at a minimum, a grounding in the apologetics tools to make the atheist understand how they are being a fool -- not just proclaiming that they are so.

I think it is profound because of the final paragraph. We need to remember that it is the Word of God that we are defending as apologists. That same Word of God is what pronounces atheism to be foolish. Thus, we are definitely acting consistent with the Bible when we call atheism foolish. I don't think that that should be our first line of approach to telling an atheist about the Good News, but it is an approach that we can use if the situation arises. Then if the atheist doesn't like being called foolish, we should feel free to tell him that if he doesn’t want to be called foolish, he should stop being an atheist. Pretty simple, no?


biblemike said…
No BK, not that simple at all. All who deny God are fools according to scripture, but that does not mean we have the right to call them fools. That is God's right not ours. We can pass judgement on what a person does, but not on the person themselves.

Jesus said Judge not lest you be judged, because judgement of the individual belongs to God alone. We are to use discernment to judge situations and actions, but not people. If you want to tell the atheist that atheism is foolish, you may have grounds to do so,but it is hardly edifying. If you tellhim that he is a fool, then you are passing judgement on him not just the thing he believes in and that is wrong.

How many people do you listen to if they start out insulting you? How many atheist will really listen to what I say as opposed to just letting me speak, if I call them fools before I begin? To say something that is true may be permissible but it is not edifying. To say that the choices I have made are better than the choices you have made my ormay not be true, but saying it is not edifying. This one is not up to your usual standard, BK.
BK said…

We are mostly in agreement and I think that the difference is the result of a failure on my part to be clear. By no means am I suggesting that a proper apologetic starts by calling atheism foolish. I think that this is more inflammatory than informative, and I would oppose that. However, if the conversation ends up heading down that way, I am saying that it is not incorrect to tell someone that atheism is foolish. (Note also, I am not saying that you call them a fool--it is the belief, not the person, that is foolish). I have used this tactic in the past with mixed results. Sometimes it causes people to get really, really mad (bad result), and sometimes it gets people thinking (good result). You have to be careful to use this particular tactic only in appropriate circumstances.


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