(? date published ?)
In August 1995, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, America’s foremost atheist, was reported missing. By July 1996, she had not been found. A search for an update led me to the Internet home page for the American Atheists Association, an organization founded by Ms. O’Hair. They comment on futile attempts to find her (and a son and granddaughter who are also missing), but seem unconcerned, even amused, by the disappearances.
Ms. O’Hair is best known for filing a case on behalf of another son that led to a 1963 United States Supreme Court ruling banning prayer in public schools. She also worked to have Bible reading banned from the school system.
Even though one of her sons has become a Christian, this woman claims to have no religious beliefs whatsoever and scorns all who believe in any higher being. Whether admired, hated or ignored, she made waves in the system and considers herself a person of influence. Oddly enough, the Bible that she mocks has a few words of its own for her. It says, “Only a fool says in his (her) heart there is no God.”
The Bible never defends or tries to prove the existence of God. It does say that creation itself reveals “God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature” and because these can be clearly seen, all people are “without excuse.” In other words, in the day when God judges lives and the secrets of our hearts, no one can claim ignorance of Him. There are no atheists.
Some say “practicing atheist” is a better term. It describes people who live “as if there is no God.” They believe themselves to be above their Creator, above His sovereign rule and beyond the reach of His judgment. They do what they please without concern over eternal consequences.
An even harsher reality is that God sees all people as “practicing atheists.” The same passage that calls professing atheists “fools” goes on to say, “God looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. Everyone has turned away, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Isaiah says, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way.”
While atheism seems to be a terrible sin, in Jesus’ day, some came to Him with stories about people who seemed to be greater sinners than anyone else. Jesus replied, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
Apart from repentance from sin and turning to Christ, all are without faith and faithless, bound for God’s judgment. Their sin condemns them unless they stop ignoring God’s offer of forgiveness and enter a faith relationship with Him through His Son.
People who accept His offer yield to the influence of God rather than ruling their own lives. Believers may not be as well known as the Madalyn O’Hair’s of this world but they are people of a far more lasting influence. God promises an eternal reward for their lives of faith and works of righteousness. For those who do not believe, He says “all their righteous acts are like filthy rags.”
The American Atheist association may not know or admit the location of their founder but God knows where she is. Not only that, He knows the condition of her heart. Whatever else she claims about her beliefs and the importance of her life, it will be her heart and how it has led her to live that will be His means of evaluation. From that, He will determine her ultimate destiny.