What the Bible says about Atheism
(From Forerunner Commentary)
The word skandalon, translated "offenses" or "offense," is used by Jesus three times in this verse. Skandalon is the trigger of a trap on which bait is placed. When an animal touches the trigger to eat the bait, the trap springs shut, and the animal is caught. When used in a moral context, skandalon indicates the enticement to conduct which will ruin the person in question.
Obviously, the verse's context is moral. Jesus' concern is the sin of being the temptation or enticement that causes others to sin. He does not stipulate whether one is the direct cause through persuasion or flaunted worldliness, or indirectly through one's manner of life. Hypocrisy may very well tempt others to sin more than outright atheism!
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Defense Against Offense
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