THE EMOTIONAL ATHEISTS
What is the emotion? It is the part of man’s psychological makeup which controls his wants, likes, and dislikes, his preferences and aversions, and his pleasures and displeasures. Some people do not want God; they dislike God. Since they prefer not to have God, they say that there is no God. Let me relate a story. There is a bird called the ostrich. It has a big body, and it is tall. A man can even ride on it. But it is very dumb. In order to catch it, a few dozen men will surround it and chase it around until it becomes tired. The ostrich has a big body, but its head is very small. When it sees many people chasing it and men all around, it will dig a small hole in the ground with its feet and bury its small head in the hole. The ostrich thinks that it will be safe if it does not see anyone anymore. It does not realize that even though its head is in the hole, the men are still present. Its big body is still exposed and not hidden. There are some people who wish that there were no God. They wish that there were no such thing as God. Can their wish mean anything? Does God not exist just because they wish to have no God?
Once I was preaching the gospel in one place, and a very evil person purposely came and said to me, "Do not say anything to me about Jesus, the Bible, or the gospel. You do not have to speak about these things, because a basic problem has not been solved. How can you talk about the gospel when the most crucial question of whether or not there is a God is not settled?" I then asked him, "Friend, do you not believe that there is a God?" He said, "I have told you already that there is no God. What makes you say that God exists? Please explain it to me." I said, "Of course, you do not believe that there is a God." He asked, "Why do you insist that there is a God when I say that there is no God?" I said, "You know the answer yourself." He seemed bewildered and said, "How do I know?" I said, "You know within." He was a little frustrated and said, "What does it mean that I know within?" I said, "You wish that there was no God. There is no need for me to say anything more. You know within." He seemed to understand a little and walked away embarrassed. There is no need to say anything to these ones or argue with them. Actually, they cannot be considered atheists; they are only trying to reject God in their feelings.
THE "VERBAL" ATHEISTS
These people do not argue from reason; they merely assert with their mouth that there is no God. They are very stubborn, and there is no way to argue with them. If you ask why they do not believe in God, they cannot give you any reason. They merely tell you that they do not believe. You can give them a hundred reasons why there is a God, and they will come back a hundred and one times to tell you that there is no God. Even if you can give a thousand reasons, they will oppose you with a thousand and one reasons. You can do nothing about these people. They are merely being stubborn. They will not change what they have said. Even if you argue with them for three days and three nights, and even if they know they are wrong, they will still insist and argue with you. Although they may give many reasons, their reasons are all prejudiced and presumptuous. They are very insistent about what they say, and no one can do anything about them. Their minds are empty and void of reason. Yet their mouths are full of atheistic jargon. This is why I call them "verbal" atheists.
It is impossible to reason with the above three groups of people. But there is another group of atheists. There is more hope for this group, yet its number is very small. What kind of atheists are these?
(The Normal Christian Faith, Chapter 17, by Watchman Nee)