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It had been said that Friedrich Nietzsche (German philosopher of the 19th century) once remarked: “There cannot be a God because if there were one, I could not believe that I was not he.” Nietzsche was the son of a Lutheran minister, but later in life shed himself of his father’s religion and, ultimately, became insane (Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Vol. 5, p. 505).

His sentiment is exactly the sentiment of a great many who believe in God. They don’t think it in so many words, but they do live it. These people are known as “practical” atheists. A practical atheist is one who lives as if there is no God, though there is belief that He exists. A practical atheist does not accept the notion of eternal accountability with regard to the way he (she) lives life. This approach to life encourages one to think God will see through personal failings and, in His mercy, save just the same. They have, in effect, become their own god because they judge themselves (and others) in a way that accords with one’s personal preference.

The Scripture says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12, NKJV).