Verse 1 (and sometimes just the first sentence) of Psalm 14 is commonly quoted by Christians when talking about or to nonbelievers. The text of the verse is as follows:
- 1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
There are many easy responses to this. One might point to the clear good works of various atheists--Bill Gates' charity work, Elizabeth Cady Stanton's crusade for women's rights, Marie Curie's co-discovery of Radium, etc.--to refute the latter claim. One might also note that it is a non sequitur, since one's belief in deities and one's ability to do good deeds have little (if anything) to do with one another.
The first sentence is not so much a claim as a way to deflect criticism. Christians can justify ignoring the claims and arguments of atheists by derisively calling anyone who disbelieves in God a "fool." This is ad hominem at its most blatant, regardless of whether or not the words have the ring of divine authority.
Psalm 137 , which begins with "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion" is a beautiful song, expressing sadness over the Hebrews' exile in Babylon and the loss of their homeland.
Its last two lines are often omitted, however:
- 8 O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.
- 9 Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.