The Normal Christian Faith, by Watchman Nee

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Many people assert that there is no God. As a prosecutor I ask you first to check the qualification of these people. Are they qualified to make such claims? Are those who assert that there is no God moral or immoral? Do not just listen to their arguments. Even robbers and swindlers have their arguments. Of course, the arguments support them as robbers and swindlers. The subject of their arguments may be very noble; they may talk about the state of the nations and the welfare of society, but their opinions cannot be seriously considered. They are not worthy of passing such judgments. If a man is upright in his conduct and moral judgment, we can give credibility to his words, but if not, his words lose their credibility. This is especially true when it relates to the question of deity. It is interesting to note that the moral standards of men are directly related to their concept about God. Those who admit their own ignorance have a passable standard, while insistent atheists invariably have a low level of moral responsibility. I do not claim to know all atheists, but of the several thousand that I know, none of them possess a notably commendable morality. You may tell me that there was once a moral atheist, but if there was one, he is dead. Or you may tell me that there will be a moral atheist, but whoever he may be, he is not here yet. At least we can say that for now, we do not know a moral atheist.


Once at a gathering at the University of Nanking, I remarked that no atheist is moral. There were many students on the campus who did not believe in God. They were greatly offended by these words. The next day, while I was speaking, they came and shuffled their feet in an attempt to distract me and the audience. The next day when they came again, they made funny gestures and faces at me and carried on continuously throughout the speaking. On the fourth day the vice-president of the university, Dr. Williams, came and said to me, "We had better change the place of meeting. These students are infuriated by your assertion on the first day that atheists are not moral. Today they are not going to use their feet and lips only; they are going to use their fists. I heard that they will be waiting at the entrance of the hallway and will jump on you when you step in." I went along with the arrangement and conducted the meeting at another place. On the way to the meeting I walked alongside many students and listened to their conversations. Although many did not agree with me and felt uneasy about my preaching, they wanted to come back. One among them remarked, "Mr. Nee said that people who have no God have no sense of moral responsibility. This is perfectly right. How can anyone with moral decency shuffle his feet and jest while others are delivering a speech? Yesterday they caused such a disturbance in the meeting, and today they are going to come to fight. This is surely not what an honorable person would do. There is no doubt that those who do not believe in God do not have moral decency. Let us go to the meeting regardless of what they plan to do."

Once a young man told a preacher, "When I was young, I seriously believed in God. But now that I am in college. I can no longer believe in Him." The fifty-year-old preacher patted the young man’s shoulder and said, "My son, you do not believe in God anymore! Let me ask you a question: Since you have been converted to be an atheist, have you advanced morally? Has atheism helped you become better? Has it made your thoughts cleaner or your heart purer? Or did it make you just the opposite?" That young man felt ashamed. He admitted that he had gone downhill morally since his denial of God. The preacher pressed on: "I am afraid that you are not really saying that you believe there is no God, you are just hoping that there is no God."

(The Normal Christian Faith, Chapter 1, by Watchman Nee)