All men are sinners. But in what theologians call His Common Grace, God places restraints on the full expression of human sinfulness. If He didn't, this world would long ago have become uninhabitable. In placing these restraints, the Lord most frequently uses His word, with special emphasis on His law and His gospel. People who live with the knowledge of God and who have come under the influence of His word usually show signs of it in how they live, even if they are not born-again Christians. On the other hand, people who deliberately seek to rid themselves of the fear of God and even descend to the ultimate lie of human existence and say that there is no God also show the fruits of their godless belief system in how they live.
A recent Canadian research poll showed that this is true in moral and social behavior. Consider the following figures. According to the survey, there is a:
* 32-point gap between theists and atheists on whether forgiveness is "very important" (84 percent vs. 52 percent). * 33-point gap on patience (72 percent vs. 39 percent). * 30-point gap on generosity (67 percent vs. 37 percent).* 19-point gap on concern for others (82 percent vs. 63 percent).* 23-point gap on family life (88 percent vs. 65 percent).
According to the poll's other findings, there was a 13-point gap between theists and atheists on kindness, a 16-point gap on "being loved," an 11-point gap on friendship, a 10-point gap on courtesy, a 12-point gap on politeness, a 13-point gap on friendliness and a 5-point gap on honesty.
It is interesting that these figures come out just when a few over-confident atheists are going about arguing how much better off our country would be if we could get rid of God. Never forget these cold hard facts. Not only does atheism, like every other unforgiven sin, damn the soul eternally but it drags human relations down dramatically. According to these poll data, an atheist world would largely be unforgiving, impatient, selfish, loveless, impolite and unfriendly. And it would destroy family life.
Atheism is a small (only 6% of Americans claim to be atheists) but deadly attack not only on Christianity but on the very fabric of society. The best answer to it is the Christian faith lived out in the power of the Holy Spirit.
That leads me to one final word: there is a world of difference between a general admission that God exists and a saving faith in Christ. From the survey figures we deduce that many a theist lives like an atheist. Many a theist will be lost, including many who try to live by a high code of human decency. It takes more than that to save the soul. It takes the redeeming power of the blood of Christ applied by the life-changing power of His Spirit. This saving grace makes sinners into saints. Atheism has no such redemptive quality. It removes restraints on human depravity. Woe to a nation when atheism cuts off its people from the restraints of Common Grace to give vent to every evil passion. We are already seeing evidence of this godlessness around us. Atheism makes bad men worse. It is the death of a free society.