Flannery O’Connor’s story “The Lame Shall Enter First” is told from the point of view of Sheppard, who is unable to empathize with the grief of his son, Norton, over the death of his mother a year ago. Instead, Sheppard insists that helping others is the most important good in life. In addition, Sheppard does not believe in God or heaven, espousing a rational view of life that does not provide Norton the means to understand the death of his mother and the emptiness it created in his life. It takes Rufus Johnson, a fourteen-year-old child who fully believes in good and evil and especially in the power of Satan, to enable Sheppard to understand the love and attention his son needs. However, Sheppard learns this only after Norton kills himself in an attempt to reach his mother, whom he imagines he sees on the moon when he looks at it through a telescope. Through both satire and irony, O’Connor suggests that science cannot replace moral thought and that moral thinking begins with authentic love and compassion rather than a false sense of “doing good.” Furthermore, evil, represented by Rufus, becomes an instrument of good, but only with tragic consequences. Atheism more than Rufus is the real antagonist in the story, for Sheppard’s lack of belief in God and compassion undermines his attempts to accomplish a false, self-absorbed understanding of good.