Skip to main content

Atheism: The Foolish Way

The concept of the 'fool' is one that is both intriguing and instructive. The books of Psalms and Proverbs offer a rich tapestry of verses that delve into the characteristics and consequences of foolishness. In the book of Psalms, the Psalmist presents the fool in a spiritual context. Psalm 14:1 states, "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, they have done abominable works; there is none who does good." Here, the fool is depicted as one who denies the existence of God, and this denial leads to corruption and evil deeds. This verse suggests that the root of foolishness lies in the rejection of divine authority and moral standards.


Similarly, in Psalm 53:1, the psalmist reiterates, "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.' They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good." This repetition underscores the Bible's assertion that the rejection of God is the epitome of foolishness. Denial of God is not an intellectual endeavour but led by emotions and desires of the heart.


Turning to Proverbs, the fool is presented in a more practical, day-to-day context. Proverbs 12:15 states, "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice." Here, the fool is described as one who is self-righteous and resistant to advice, in contrast to the wise who are open to counsel.


In Proverbs 18:2, the fool's disregard for understanding is highlighted: "A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion." This verse paints the fool as one who prioritises self-expression above understanding, suggesting a lack of humility and a propensity for arrogance.


Proverbs 26:4-5 presents a seemingly contradictory instruction concerning dealing with fools: "Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes." These verses, when studied closely, provide a nuanced approach to dealing with foolish people. The first part warns against engaging with a fool on his terms, as it may lead to becoming foolish oneself. The second part advises to address the fool's folly directly to prevent him from becoming conceited. The key here lies in discernment and wisdom in handling different situations.


In Proverbs 26:12, there is a sobering assessment of the fool's condition: "Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them." This verse highlights the dangers of self-deception and pride, suggesting that they are even more detrimental than foolishness. It challenges believers to maintain humility and openness to correction.


Proverbs 26:11 offers a stark image of the fool's tendency to repeat his mistakes: "As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly." This verse suggests that the fool, unlike the wise, cannot learn from his mistakes, leading to a cycle of repeated folly.


Proverbs 9:6 Commands to forsake the foolish and live, the second part of the command, "and you will live," provides a compelling motivation for leaving foolishness. It suggests that the abandonment of foolishness leads to life. This concept of 'life' in the Bible is multifaceted, encompassing physical, spiritual, and eternal dimensions. The promise of life, therefore, is not merely survival or existence, but a full, abundant, and eternal life that is aligned with God's will and purpose. This implies that foolishness is not only detrimental but also life-limiting. It hinders individuals from experiencing the fullness of life that God intends for them.


The verse concludes with another command: "walk in the way of knowledge." This command is not independent, but is intrinsically linked to the first. Leaving foolishness is not an end, but a means to an end, which is to walk in the way of insight. The term 'walk' suggests a continuous, ongoing journey, showing that wisdom is not a onetime acquisition, but a lifelong pursuit. The 'way of insight' implies a path characterised by understanding, discernment, and wisdom. This command, therefore, is a call to a lifestyle of wisdom, where every decision, action, and interaction is guided by insight.


When viewed in the broader context of Proverbs, this verse is part of Wisdom's invitation to the simple. Wisdom, personified as a woman, has prepared a feast, and invites the simple to partake of it. This context enhances the understanding of the verse. It suggests that wisdom is not elusive or exclusive, but is readily accessible to all who will leave their simple ways. It also reinforces the value and benefits of wisdom, depicting it as a feast, a symbol of abundance, satisfaction, and celebration.


From these verses, the Bible's depiction of the fool serves as a warning against certain attitudes and behaviours. It caresses the understanding that foolishness stems from the rejection of God, self-righteousness, a disregard for understanding, and an inability to learn from mistakes.


As Christians, these verses challenge us to continually seek God, remain humble, strive for understanding, and learn from our mistakes. They remind us that wisdom is not merely about knowledge or intelligence, but about our attitudes towards God, others, and ourselves.


In conclusion, the Bible's portrayal of the fool in the books of Psalms and Proverbs offers valuable insights for the Christian journey. By analysing these verses, we gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be wise and how to avoid the pitfalls of foolishness. In doing so, we are better equipped to live out our faith to honour God and benefit those around us.


Heavenly Father, we come before You today with hearts full of hope and hands lifted high. We acknowledge Your sovereignty, Your wisdom, and Your love for all of humanity. Lord, we bring before You our atheist friends around the world who have yet to know You. We ask, oh Lord, that You would touch their hearts and open their eyes to see the truth of Your existence and the depth of Your love for them.

We pray for wisdom to fill their hearts and minds. Just as Solomon asked for wisdom and You generously provided, we ask that You would grant these individuals a spirit of wisdom and revelation to know You more. We pray that they would not lean on their own understanding, but in all their ways acknowledge You, and You will make their paths straight.

Father, we understand that faith is a journey, and we ask that You would guide these individuals on their path. May they encounter You in the beauty of creation, in the kindness of others, and in the quiet moments of reflection. We pray that they would seek wisdom and find it, for You promise that if we ask for wisdom, You give generously to all without finding fault.

We also ask for patience and understanding for ourselves. Help us to love unconditionally, to speak truth in love, and to be a shining light of Your grace and mercy. May our lives be a testament of Your love and may our actions lead others to seek Your wisdom.

Finally, Lord, we pray for a world that is in desperate need of Your wisdom. We pray for leaders, for decision-makers, for influencers. May they seek Your wisdom above all else and may their decisions bring peace, justice, and healing to our broken world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.