They say there are no atheists in the foxhole.
Even fewer when death is certain.
None once the final curtain falls.
God’s Word declares, “The fool hath said in his heart ‘there is no God’” (Psalm 14).
For three decades, until his death in 1953, Josef Stalin was the mass-murdering atheist dictator of Soviet Russia.
He was also a fool.
In his 1994 book, “Can Man Live Without God,” famed Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias recounts a story he heard firsthand from British Journalist Malcomb Muggeridge “that stirred [him] then and still does even yet.”
Muggeridge had collaborated with Svetlana Stalin, Josef Stalin’s daughter, on a BBC documentary about her God-hating father. She recounted his last act of defiant rebellion against the Creator: “[A]s Stalin lay dying, plagued with terrifying hallucinations, he suddenly sat halfway up in bed, clenched his fist toward the heavens once more, fell back upon his pillow, and was dead.”
“[H]is one last gesture,” observed Zacharias, “was a clenched fist toward God, his heart as cold and hard as steel.”
In my experience it is something common among atheists: an inexplicable, incongruent and visceral hatred for the very God they imagine does not exist.
Indeed, Romans 1:20 notes, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”
Yet excuses they make.
Psalm 19:1 likewise observes: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”
The manifest intentionality and fine-tuning of all creation reveals design of breathtaking complexity. The Creator is of incalculable intelligence and infinite splendor. As I see it, atheism provides a case study in willful suspension of disbelief – all to escape, as the God-denier imagines it, accountability for massaging the libertine impulse.
“Wouldn’t the atheist ‘suspend belief’?” you might ask.
No, the phrase is properly “suspension of disbelief.” It is defined as “a willingness to suspend one’s critical faculties and believe the unbelievable; sacrifice of realism and logic for the sake of enjoyment.”
In the case of the atheist, or the “freethinker,” as they paradoxically prefer, that which is unbelievable is that somehow everything came from nothing – that there is no uncaused first cause; that God does not exist, even as knowledge of His being is indelibly written on every human heart and proved by all He has made.
Be they theist, atheist or anti-theist, on this nearly all scientists agree: In the beginning there was nothing. There was no time, space or matter. There wasn’t even emptiness, only nothingness. Well, nothing natural anyway.
Then: bang! Everything. Nonexistence became existence. Nothing became, in less than an instant, our inconceivably vast and finely tuned universe governed by what mankind would later call – after we, too, popped into existence from nowhere, fully armed with conscious awareness and the ability to think, communicate and observe – “natural law” or “physics.”
Time, space, earth, life and, finally, human life were not.
And then they were.