Atheism At Its Best Is the Worst

by Owen D. Olbricht
305 W. Maryland Ave., Sherwood, AR 72120

In September 1995, Madalyn Murray O'Hair, an atheist who was the leader in getting prayer removed from public schools, disappeared with one of her sons and a granddaughter and has not been seen since. Besides clothes, highball glasses, and other standard rubbish collected during her travels, she left behind in Austin, Texas, three dogs, her medicine, and a ten-year-old Porche which was found in the Austin airport after she vanished. She probably took with her $500,000, which she withdrew from the American Atheist Inc. bank account in San Antonio. The F.B.I. recently arrested a man named Waters (a former associate of Ms. O'Hair) for her murder.

No one is sure what happened to her. Some think she died or was murdered. Others think she left for New Zealand. Recently an auction was held in Pflugerville, Texas, to pay some of her back taxes. Among those things that were sold were two dollar bills with "In God We Trust" crossed out, the 1985 Porche, and a Bible given to her December 19, 1968, by a group of school girls at a Baptist church in Tulsa.

The Porche 944, with only 45,000 miles on it sold for the cheap price of $2,750 and her two dollar bills for $10.00. Her set of atheist books sold for $10.00 while the Bible sold for $2,000. One would wonder why an atheist so fervent in her desire to remove belief in God from society would have kept a Bible in her home. A Roman Catholic bought the Bible, and a Baptist bought the Porche. One would have thought that belongings of a person of such national recognition would have sold for a higher price like that of famous people. Surely she would have been sadly disappointed if she would have known that her atheist books would have brought so little in comparison to the price paid for her Bible. Her lawyer is holding her diary, which was not sold, hoping for a higher bid.

Philip Terzian, associate editor of the Providence Journal in Rhode Island, as quoted in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Saturday, January 30, 1999, page 88, in the article, "A Prayer for Madalyn Murray O'Hair" evidently with insight into her diary, wrote:

It is no great surprise to learn that Mrs. O'Hair was something of a tortured soul, yearning all her life for wealth, and notoriety. She wishes to "humiliate Billy Graham on television for money, and to own a mink coat, and a Cadillac." She certainly gained notoriety, if not wealth but it scarcely brought her happiness. Each new year, she resolves to achieve great things and conquer the world for disbelief, but by springtime she is deep in the slough of despond, blaming Jews, homosexuals, and blacks for her distress.

For moralist among us, there may be a lesson in this--something along the lines of G.K. Chesterton's notion about atheism. "The great danger," he said, "is that when people cease to believe in God, they do not embrace nothing, but anything." Madalyn Murray O'Hair pointedly rejected God, as many do, but she clearly was entranced by the vain goddess of success. Human nature abhors a vacuum.

The life of Mrs. O'Hair is an example of the misery and depression that can come from living without God. Her only hope of happiness was in her present personal success, gain, and national acclaim. She was without belief in anything or anyone outside her own self who could uphold, help, and sustain her. Doomed to failure was her life's goal of destroying the Rock on which others stood. At its best, her life was worse than that of most Christians.

In contrast to her life, look at the joy and happiness that fills the lives of thousands of followers of Christ. Even if their faith is in vain, the results of their belief in Jesus gives purpose, meaning, and joy to their lives. At the very worst, the Christian's life is much better than anything atheism has to offer; while at its best, the life of an atheist is much worse than the life of a Christian at its worst.

The faith of a Christian is not in vain, but is built on the solid Rock of Jesus the Christ, the Son of God. Such a life not only brings happiness now, but offers the hope of a glorious life in the existence to come.

Concerning Christians and their relationship with Jesus, Peter wrote, "And though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible, and full of glory" ( 1 Peter 1:8). Can such joy be found in atheism?

Back to Contents Does God Exist?, JulAug99.