The Good Atheist

You shall love your neighbor as yourself. —Romans 13:9

When a man learned that an elderly woman could no longer buy her medicine and pay her rent, he came to her rescue. He took her into his home and treated her as if she were his mother. He gave her a bedroom, prepared the food for her meals, bought her medicine, and transported her whenever she needed medical attention. He continued to care for her when she could no longer do much for herself. I was amazed when I learned that this good man was a zealous atheist!

The Jews were shocked by Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan, because He put him in a positive light. They despised the Samaritans the way I tend to look down on atheists.

A lawyer had tested Jesus by asking how he could inherit eternal life. Jesus asked him what the law said. The man answered that he must love the Lord with all his heart and his neighbor as himself (Luke 10:25-27). He asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” (v.29). In Jesus’ story, the Samaritan was the neighbor who showed kindness to the wounded man.

Jesus wanted this parable to challenge His listeners. The stories of the Good Samaritan and the good atheist remind us of this high standard of God’s Word: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Romans 13:9).

Herbert Vander Lugt

To love my neighbor as myself
  Is not an easy task,
  But God will show His love through me
  If only I will ask.


Needy people need our helping hand.

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