Originally posted by @ghost-of-a-duke
Does such a God not appeal to you, who 'prefers an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every deed is foul, foul, foul?
Explain your thinking.
There’s no such thing as an “honest and righteous atheist.” In fact, there’s no such thing as an honest and righteous human being, apart from Christ.
God’s standard is perfection, and we are all sinners. One who has lied a single time is not honest, one who has committed a single sin is under condemnation.
What makes one righteous (in right standing with God) is accepting and believing in Jesus Christ and His Resurrection. An atheist is naturally not righteous. A TV preacher who is “putting on a show” or “going through the motions” because he has not accepted Christ in his heart and does not believe in Him and His Resurrection in his heart is obviously not righteous either.
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
(2 Corinthians 5:21)
The Lord looks on the heart, and salvation and righteousness are determined by acceptance and belief in Christ and His Resurrection in one’s heart.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”
If the TV preacher is behaving in a foul manner as your OP suggests, then he is not saved nor righteous (in right standing with God) because an aversion to sin and the performance of good works follow genuine acceptance and belief in Christ due to the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit in a new believer.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
(2 Corinthians 5:17)