Those who cannot praise the Supreme Lord nor listen to His divine glories are living corpses. Atheists i.e. those who are intolerant when His name is uttered, reflect a demonic tendency. People could be born with virtuous, pious traits (sattvik), traits of passion (rājasic) or traits of ignorance (tāmasic). In atheists, the traits of ignorance (tamas) predominantly rules. Or a combination of the traits of passion and ignorance rule. Virtuous traits are lacking in them.
Through gradual tests i.e. through repeated punishments and then through imparting right lessons, He blesses those who are predominantly filled with traits of passion coupled with a small degree of ignorance. However, to those who are composed only with ignorance (tamas), punishment is the only treatment as no lessons can be imbibed by them. He simply crushes them.
A teacher does not waste time on that student who scores zero in every exam. Having decided that this student is beyond reformation, the teachers does not even reprimand him for scoring zero. Happy that the student at least makes an attempt to attend school, the teacher remains silent. The same teacher reprimands the child who scores 80 or 90% knowing that with this small rebuke the student will work hard and is likely to score a perfect 100 in the exam.
Likewise, when the person is totally filled with tamasic traits, apart from killing him there is no other recourse available to the Lord. The same Lord goes to any extent to reform the person who has in him at least a little of rajasic traits in addition to tamasic traits. Then, what about those who are totally virtuous in nature? The Lord puts them through many tests and further purifies them so that they merge quickly into Him. The truth is that all three classifications of people are equally loved by the Lord who is an epitome of compassion.
from Srimad Bhagavatam – Day 759(Translations of Pujya Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji’s daily explanation of Srimad Bhagavatam on SGS Posts from March 2019