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Thursday, June 30, 2016

American atheists are on the rise. They have radically different visions of the future.

The rally lineup is promising on paper. 

Among its stars are Penn Jillette, the magician and libertarian, and Bill Nye, who has built his entire reputation in popular science on the strength of his charisma, without even a master's degree behind his name.

Bill Maher is on the lineup, as is the comedian Lewis Black.

The heads of American Atheists and the Center of Inquiry and the Freedom From Religion Foundation are speaking.

 Members of the Wu-Tang Clan have come.

Two members of Congress will be speaking, although their remarks will be confined to the case for secular pluralism in law.

Welcome to the "Reason Rally."

 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.

Psalm 14:1

  Both Psalm 14:1 and Psalm 53:1 read, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” 

Some take these verses to mean that atheists are stupid, i.e., lacking intelligence.

 However, that is not the only meaning of the Hebrew word translated “fool.” 

In this text, the Hebrew word is nabal, which often refers to an impious person who has no perception of ethical or religious truth. 

The meaning of the text is not “unintelligent people do not believe in God.”

 Rather, the meaning of the text is “sinful people do not believe in God.” 

In other words, it is a wicked thing to deny God, and a denial of God is often accompanied by a wicked lifestyle.

 The verse goes on to list some other characteristics of the irreligious: 

“They are corrupt; their deeds are vile; / there is no one who does good.”  

Psalm 14 is a study on the universal depravity of mankind.

 Many atheists are very intelligent. 

It is not intelligence, or a lack thereof, that leads a person to reject belief in God. 

It is a lack of righteousness that leads a person to reject belief in God. 

Many people do not object to the idea of a Creator, as long as that Creator minds His own business and leaves them alone. 

What people reject is the idea of a Creator who demands morality from His creation. 

Rather than struggle against a guilty conscience, some people reject the idea of God altogether. 

Psalm 14:1 calls this type of person a “fool.”

Psalm 14:1 says that denying God’s existence is commonly based on a desire to lead a wicked life. 

Several prominent atheists have admitted the truth of this. 

Some, such as author Aldous Huxley, have openly admitted that a desire to avoid moral restraints was a motivation for their disbelief.

 Belief in a divine Being is accompanied by a sense of accountability to that Being. 

So, to escape the condemnation of conscience, which itself was created by God, some simply deny the existence of God.

 They tell themselves, “There is no overseer of the world. 

There is no Judgment Day.

 I can live as I please.”

 The moral pull of the conscience is thus more easily ignored.

 Trying to convince oneself there is no God is unwise.

The point of “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” is that it is an impious, sinful heart that will deny God. 

The atheist’s denial flies in the face of much evidence to the contrary, including his own conscience and the universe he lives in.

 A lack of evidence of God’s existence is not the true reason atheists reject a belief in God. 

Their rejection is due to a desire to live free of the moral constraints God requires and to escape the guilt that accompanies the violation of those constraints.

 “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them . . . so that people are without excuse…

Their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools…

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts…

They exchanged the truth about God for a lie” (Romans 1:18–25).

 Proverb 14:12, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

 In Proverbs 21:2 we read:
"Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts."

the Bible gives us the answer:
In the way of righteousness [is] life; and [in] the pathway [thereof there is] no death. - Proverbs 12:28

For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things [is] death. - Romans 6:20-21
In the way of righteousness (obedience or right-doing) is life, in the pathway of righteousness is no death.

Then (in Romans 6:20-21) we see the bible describing people who were servants of sin, we read that while they were servants of sin they "were free from righteousness".

 In other words they were unrighteous. What would have been the end result or fruit of their unrighteousness?

The verse plainly says it "the end of those things is death"

So the way that seems right but ends up a way of death is the way of unrighteousness.

The way of that leads to life is the way of righteousness.

So now, let's go and look at the last half of Proverbs 21:2.

"Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts."
We can, by doing what seems right in our own eyes, appear to look good on the outside.

But the Lord knows our heart and what is truly going on inside of us.

If we understand the true condition of our heart, then we'll understand why the way of unrighteousness seems right.

In Jeremiah 17:9 the Bible says:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
You see, we are living in a sad and tragic world of sin (or unrighteousness).

 By very nature sin has a corrupting and contaminating effect.

When sin entered the human race the heart that once was naturally inclined to obey its creator, received the impress of sin and became naturally inclined to disobey.

This is the problem, you and I all have this natural heart that is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.

It seems right in our own eyes to follow what our heart is telling us to do, rather than to follow what God asks of us.

But let's not be deceived!

This way is not the way that leads to life.

The good news is that it doesn't have to be like this!

Jesus has provided a way so that every believing person can be saved from sin and their deceitful and wicked heart.
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? - John 11:25-26
Jesus, dear reader, is life.

If we believe in His great love for us and in His mission as a saviour for our sins, indeed if we receive Him into our hearts and accept His great sacrifice as if it was just for me, then although we used to follow the ways of death we will be empowered by Him to follow the way that leads to everlasting life.

The question for you and I today is "Believest thou this" ?
Day by day, hour by hour through faith in the power and grace of Jesus, we will have a new, clean and pure heart created in us, a heart that isn't naturally inclined to sin.

May our prayer each day be:
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. - Psalms 51:10
Psalm 118:24
This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

God loves you so much!

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