It is amazing to me when I meet nice people who are atheists.
These people are pleasant and thoughtful. They live by the rules of polite society. They do kind and helpful things for people in need. They go to work and work hard to accomplish something. They color in the lines and don't use garish florescent colors.
For me, this doesn't make any sense.
Have they misplaced their inner beast? Have they no passion in their hearts? Have they never felt a rush of murderous rage or lecherous lust? Have they no rapacious avarice driving them to acquire newer, better, faster and more things than anyone else? Have they no sense of pride, no drive for domination?
My inner beast is alive and well and barely under control - and that only by the grace of God. Praise God that Christ came to save us from our sins! I know that on my own - without God's work in me through Christ - I would be consumed by my beast. I can still hear him grumbling in my breast - violently rattling his cage when someone cuts me off in traffic. My beast is always threatening to break out. It is certainly not my strength that confines him there... but the power of God's Spirit at work in me.
Even so, I struggle with grouchy, sullen and sarcastic impulses - especially when I am tired. But I fight them - by thinking about God, His gift in Christ and His will for me revealed in His word. I try to fight off the feelings because I know there is a God in Heaven Who cares how I act. I want a relationship with Him more than anything, so I work at self control by His Spirit.
If I were an atheist, I am sure I would not be a nice one.
I need to be careful even thinking about it, lest my imagination be allowed to carry me into evil fantasies of violence, greed, etc., which the Lord has said are the same essential sin as the deeds themselves.
But I am sure I would be an atheist on the order of Hitler, Stalin or Mao. What did they do? Pretty much whatever they wanted as much as they wanted. They pursued power to satisfy their own desires. And why not? Time is limited. If there was no god to whom I must answer, I would work to get as far as I could in the direction of doing whatever I pleased. No morals, no conscience, no scripture, no restraint, no limits, no fear, no doubts. Everything and everyone would be viewed with a pragmatic eye - how will this help or hinder my pursuit of world domination? (Isn't this the idea behind the survival of the fittest - i.e., natural selection?)
Check out the news headlines and you will see evidence that many many people live this way as much as they can. Some, no doubt would be worse if it were not for fear of legal prosecution. Others spend most of their free time indulging in their fantasies through TV, pornography, or role playing games. Some are pretty well controlled in public, but in private or in situations where they think they are anonymous they let their inner beast free.
That doesn't surprise me. But it does surprise me when I meet nice people who are atheists. It doesn't add up.