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The Daily Office: Day 24- The Atheist Who Believes in God

Silence for 2-5 minutes:

If your mind wanders, silently pray a simple prayer again and again, such as, "I surrender to your love" or "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me" until the Holy Spirit gives you a sense of peace and focus.


Psalm 14

1 The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good.

The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.

They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.

Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the Lord?

There they are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous. You would shame the plans of the poor, but the Lord is his refuge.

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.


Most humans on planet earth both now and throughout all of history believe in the existence of God. Most humans on planet earth live as though there is no God.  This is what the Psalmist is referring to in Psalm 14. David is not pointing to someone who has the belief system like that of famed atheist Richard Dawkins, but rather someone who says I believe in God, and yet their life is one of ever devolving corruption and neglect of the poor. How could one believe in God and yet not believe that we are accountable to Him for the gift of our lives? That person would be a fool.  We have all been fools!

James, who was Jesus' half brother and reflected the prophetic edge of his older sibling, puts it this way. "You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!" (James 2:19)  In other words, demons are not atheists, but they are undoubtedly corrupt, and they are certainly fools.  

All of us have lived lives of self-centeredness, where we refuse to allow God to tell us anything and refuse to submit to His will and guidance.   Paul quotes from this Psalm to describe the moral depravity of all of all of humanity in Romans 3 where he concludes that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." The only answer to our pathetic condition of being those who know that there is a God and yet live as practical atheists is the grace of God that comes through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  God has mercy on the fool and awakens us to a life lived before a loving, yet observant God to whom we must give an account.


In what ways do you live a life that says, "there is no God." Ask the Lord to awaken you to a life of surrender and dependence upon the one who has given you grace.


Lord, though I profess faith in you, I have often lived as though you do not exist.  I have been so foolish to do this.  Help me to live a life of openness and dependence upon you and your grace. Transform me through the repentance that is initiated and empowered by the Holy Spirit.  Free me from my corruption.   In Jesus' name.  Amen!

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