If you get into a discussion with Christians about their faith and you tell them, often reluctantly because you just know where it’s going to lead, that you don’t share their belief in a deity on account of there being no evidence for one outside of the human imagination, it isn’t long – if they haven’t done so already – before they start quoting ‘scripture’ at you.
Among their favourite verses, along with ‘For God so loved the world…’ (John 3.16) and ‘for a man to lie with a man… is an abomination’ (Leviticus 20.13) is Psalm 14.1: ‘The fool hath said in his heart there is no God’. And having cited it, they stand back in smug triumph, having put you firmly in your place and clinched the argument.
But the Bible would say this, wouldn’t it? It’s in its interest, and in the interest of those who wrote it and believe in it, to rubbish those who don’t buy into its fallacies. Christians who quote this verse, and others, are wilfully refusing to accept that you don’t recognise the ‘authority’ of their magic book. What they are really saying is, ‘You don’t believe in my God or the Bible, but I’m going to use it anyway to ‘prove’ my point.’
Why do they do this? Can they not see the futility of it? It’s like my quoting from ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas to demonstrate that, whether they like it or not, Santa Claus is watching over them to see if they’re naughty or nice. But referencing one make-believe source does not prove the existence of another. You have to believe in Santa Claus to begin with, as children often do, to believe the poem is an accurate account of his activities. So it is with the Bible. It only has significance if you already believe that God exists. It won’t of itself convince you that he does.
The Koran has its own ‘the fool hath said in his heart’ verses. Loads of them. Christians might like to consider whether a Muslim telling them ‘the vilest of animals in Allah’s sight are those who disbelieve’ (Q8:55) would persuade them that Allah is the one true God, and that they’re idiots for thinking otherwise. It wouldn’t, of course, so perhaps they’d kindly stop wasting their own time, and ours, doing the same to atheists.
The best response to a believer who tells you ‘the fool hath said in his heart there is no God’?
‘If even a fool can see it, why can’t you?’