And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. (ESV)
One of my favorite quotes of all time comes from Dostoevsky. He said, "Without God, everything is permissible." If one is able to believe that God does not exist then he can be led completely by his own desire. We know that our desires will lead us to all kinds of depravity. In fact, everything becomes permissible.
Dostoevsky also said, “Now suppose that there is no God or immortality of the soul. Now tell me, why should I live righteously and do good deeds, if I die entirely on earth?" A perfect question. Without a belief in God what is the motivation to do anything good? I have heard atheists claim that they can still do "good." But the bigger question is why would they?
The Apostle Paul describes the one who does not acknowledge God as having a debased mind. The Greek word for debased uses the imagery of a metal that is discarded because it has too many impurities. This is a great way for us to understand man's condition without God. They are full of impurity. There is no end to the kinds of evil that a debased mind can do.
Man without God does what ought not to be done. As you look back over all the centuries of man's existence you can find every variety of behavior that ought not to be done. Hitler was able to justify the annihilation of 6 million Jews. Even in our country today we have murdered over 60 million unborn children. A debased mind will do what ought not to be done.
A belief in God is not only necessary for our salvation. The preservation of our society demands a belief in God. Pray for our nation. Pray for our world. Pray that God would open the minds of those who have rejected him. Our lives depend on it.