God Thinks More Highly of a Moral Atheist Than He Does of an Immoral Christian

Our God (when I say “our God” I mean the Creator of heaven, earth, and all of us) has more regard for an atheist who tries to live morally than He does for a Christian who does not.

Christians will say that Jesus wants everyone to be a Christian.  The truth, according to the Bible, is that Jesus wants everyone to do right.

An atheist who loves his wife and children is doing better than a Christian who divorces his wife.

An atheist who serves others has more approval from God than a Christian who lives selfishly.

Yes, God wants us to acknowledge Him but what good is acknowledging Him if we’re not trying to live as morally as we know how?  If we profess a faith in Christ but don’t live morally then we just give people a reason to regard faith with contempt.

As for the atheist who truly wants to be moral in all that he does, he will not be able to remain an atheist for long – even though hypocritical “believers” present an obstacle he must step over.

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a group.

16 Replies to “God Thinks More Highly of a Moral Atheist Than He Does of an Immoral Christian”

  1. There is some truth in what you say, but we can’t forget John 10:9 where Jesus said, “I am the door.” Accepting that Jesus is the only door to the Father’s house makes you a Christian, whether or not you join a “group”. None of us are good enough morally without the sacrifice of Jesus.

    You are the door of your house. No one will try to get around you some way unless they are thieves or robbers (as Jesus called such). I have a couple of posts on “the Door,” in my May 2010 archives. I agree that some atheists are more pleasant to be around than some professing Christians. The truth is that Jesus is the truth, and only he knows our true heart.

    1. What matters is not being a Christian but rather knowing Christ and living for Christ.

      To hunger in one’s heart to do that which is right will lead to the door of Christ more quickly and more surely than any other attitude.

      As for Christians, many of them come to the door of Christ but do not walk through it and live constantly on the other side of it. They just talk about it.

      Everyone is going to heaven, but only those who live in the light of His countenance know His Shepherd’s staff in this life.

  2. In John 6:29 Jesus said, “This is the work of God, that you believe on him who he has sent.” If everyone is going to go to heaven anyway, there would be no need to believe in Jesus. Believing in Jesus can get you into a lot of trouble. Many of the early Christians died as martyrs because they taught that we must believe in Jesus.

    Do you think that people such as Hitler, and the Roman Emperors who heartlessly persecuted others, will go to heaven? Is Jesus going to have to say to some, “Depart from me…” as Matthew 25:41records? The early Christians believed Jesus said these things, and they went to great extremes to preserve his words for us. Why would we not believe his words?

    1. We certainly should believe Jesus’ words. But the words you quote here of His (John 6:29 and Matthew 25:41) apply to this life – not the one to come. Therefore, we should seek to live by them now, not later. Later will take care of itself.

      Indeed, it is not easy to think about sinful people being in heaven. But what about you and me – are we sinless?

      Every thought, every word, and every deed of ours is being judged. To the degree that our judgments are not fully executed here, they will be in heaven. There will be great discrepancies in heavenly outcomes. We needn’t think of it as a tee-ball awards ceremony where every player receives a trophy. Many who are first here will be last there, and vice versa.

      As for the martyrs who have stood up for Christ – indeed, they will receive great honor in heaven. We do well to imitate their faith. “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).

      I explain these issues at length in The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven and also in a series of 21 Essays on the Implications of Everyone Going to Heaven, which begin with “How Can God Let Bad People Into Heaven?”

  3. Some people are only sorry when they get caught. A “heaven” where people didn’t believe in God would be no different than this world. I mean “believing in” in the sense of being for him. Satan and the other Angels who rebelled knew God, but they weren’t “for God.” Just because God would rather die (and did) than lose us doesn’t mean that no one will be lost. I understand your desire for everyone to be saved. The Bible says God desires the same thing, but God does not always get what he wants. We can look around us and see that very thing.

    God knows that you can’t force someone to love you. You can sacrifice for them, but if that doesn’t get to them, nothing would, either in this world or the world to come.

    1. Let’s use your premise: “God knows that you can’t force someone to love you.” So, if someone doesn’t love you then you will let them suffer physically and psychologically in an intense way for an infinite period of time in a place that you control?

      If you’re that kind of person, who would love you for any reason?

  4. I don’t think we’re getting a true picture of hell. Any person in hell would be someone who has rejected God’s control, therefore I don’t believe that hell can be said to be under God’s control. I’ve written a couple of posts
    (Hell, parts 1 and 2, in Dec.2010, and Jan.2011 archives) that begin to tell what I think about it. I do believe the things Jesus said about hell that are recorded in the Bible. I don’t think any of us can interpret those things perfectly however. God is love, and I trust that all things that God must do will be governed by love.

    1. I read your two posts on hell. Your thoughts on it are interesting, but they are not biblical. You are seeking to understand Jesus’ comments about it, but you are not considering His comments in the context of the Scriptures (i.e. the Old Testament) which He fully embraced and upon which all His thinking was based.. If you will read Everyone Is Going to Heaven, it will explain the view of afterlife that the Old Testament taught and that Jesus believed. (It will also explain how Jesus changed it.) Or, you can simply do your own word study with an exhaustive concordance, searching out the key words that have to do with afterlife before the work of Christ (“Sheol” and “Hades”). As for the word “hell,” its meaning is rooted in the Hebrew word “Gehenna” and speaks about this life, not the afterlife.

      There is indeed a judgment that comes after this life. It will indeed bring back to each of us the pain we have inflicted on others. Hitler indeed will not enjoy the same rest as his victims – though I hasten to add that God’s judgments will be about everything a person does in life, not just what would show up in a movie about the Holocaust. Much recompense takes place in this life – in fact, more than we recognize. But the fullness of judgment indeed comes in the afterlife. Nevertheless God’s wisdom and mercy will allow that judgment to be tempered in mercy. As you rightly say, “all things that God must do will be governed by love.”

      God died for everyone – and He did not do so in vain.

  5. I have studied Sheol, Hades, Gehenna, and there are other words and descriptions. There’s Tartaros, outer darkness, and the lake of fire. John 3:18, says that whoever believes in Jesus is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is already condemned… There is no promise in the Bible that everyone will go to heaven. Many will try to change their mind when they see there’s no way to get around Jesus, but it wouldn’t be real. Most of those people would opt for another choice if they had one.

    The millennial reign of Christ upon earth will illustrate that principle. There will be another rebellion against God when a choice seems to arise at the end of the 1000 years. The inhabitants of Earth who survive the coming tribulation will live in a near-perfect world under Jesus, but many of those born during that period will reject him. Those who believe in him, even in this present world’s condition, have made their choice. We believe in him. There is no other hope. We can see in this world what happens when people reject Jesus.

  6. Mike,

    It’s true that Jesus is Lord even now, but Hebrews 2:8 says, “We do not yet see all things put under him.” That’s something that requires a literal fulfillment of many Biblical prophecies. Your interpretation requires that a great part of the Bible (that seems straightforward) be interpreted only in a symbolic sense. I believe it’s best to lean toward a literal interpretation, unless something is unquestionably symbolic. I realize it’s difficult to discern the difference sometimes, so I’m wary of being too dogmatic.

    1. A long time ago I heard the statement, “We don’t always take the Bible literally, but we do always take it seriously” – and warmed to it.

      Jesus took the Bible more seriously than anyone else, and it is His interpretive method that should guide us. While He never denied the original literal meaning, He made clear that the text’s ultimate purposes were to be realized through spiritual interpretation (John 6:63). Consider Jesus’ encounter with the great Jewish Rabbi Nicodemus wherein the latter kept trying to understand the former’s teaching in a literal sense – and was getting nowhere. Consider also the apostles’ constant references to Old Testament passages as types and shadows of Christ (Colossians 216-17; 1 Peter 1:10-12). This approach, of course, they learned from Him (Luke 24:25-27, 31-32, 44-48; John 5:49).

      The Scriptures are about Jesus and He Himself is the Teacher of their meaning to us. He did not “lean toward a literal interpretation.”

  7. I should add that there are occasions where the original understanding was figurative and the ultimate fulfillment in Christ was literal. For example, in Deuteronomy 18 Moses prophesied that God would “raise up” a prophet like him from among the Israelites. Of course, this promise was kept every time a new prophet delivered a message from God. Its ultimate fulfillment, however, was when Jesus was “raised up” from the dead. Thus the “rule” for interpretation is to listen for Jesus through His Holy Spirit, not develop some “system” of interpretation.

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