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Archive for the ‘Behavior’ Category

Hypocrites

Q: If Christianity is true, then why are most of the so-called “Christians” I know hypocrites? I’d rather be a complete unbeliever (which is what I am) than someone who claims to be a Christian but doesn’t act like it. At least I try to be a good person, and they don’t. — J.H.

A: I think that many self-proclaimed Christians are hypocrites precisely because Christianity is not true. The bible has so many inconsistencies and contradictions, that its is logically impossible to live by all of the rules contained therein. People who believe that the bible is the “word of God”, must necessarily choose which parts to follow and which to ignore. They do this even if they don’t realize it. Therefore, they may appear to act hypocritically because they are in fact ignoring certain parts of the bible. The hypocrisy is most noticeable when people choose to interpret the bible (choose which parts to follow and which to ignore) in different ways.

I also think that some Christians behave in deplorable ways because they believe that only faith (not good works) is required for salvation after death. (I’ve addressed this topic before.)

This picture is relevant to your final comment about trying to be a good person without religion.

Billy Graham’s answer.

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We Are Family

Q: I guess you could say I burned my bridges with my family over 20 years ago. They weren’t perfect, but I have to admit I was the main problem. Now that I’m older (and hopefully wiser), I’d like to get back in contact, but they aren’t interested. Should I just forget it? — J.H.

A: If you really would like to restore relationships with your family, you may need to demonstrate to them that you have changed (if indeed you have) and that they could benefit from the relationship. To be most effective, your family should see (by your actions) that you are a nicer person than the one they new 20 years ago. You may be have to be patient. Your family will likely need time to be sure that you have really changed and are not pretending to be someone you are not. However, you should be prepared for the eventuality that your family will never accept a relationship with you. If you are a caring, altruistic person, it should not be too difficult for you to establish deep and healthy relationships with other people in your community.

Billy Graham’s answer.

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No Love

Q: I know you’ll tell me God loves me, but you don’t know how much hurt I’ve caused and what a terrible person I’ve been. I know I need God and I wish I could believe He loves me, but I just can’t. — P.N.

A: Your god doesn’t love you; not because you’ve been a terrible person, but because it doesn’t exist. None of us need any type of god. God-belief and religion may have been beneficial when ancient humans were just starting to form the first societies. These religions provided a framework for law and order and simple (but incorrect) explanations for natural phenomena (eclipses, seasons, visible astronomical bodies, birth defects, etc.). However, because we have developed fair sociopolitical systems like democracy and explained much of the natural world through physics, chemistry, and biology, religion and god-belief are not needed now.

If you have acted in the past in a manner that has hurt others and that you regret, I hope that you try to make amends with those people and modify your behavior so that you are less likely to cause harm in the future. If you have not already, you may want to modify your personal moral code and try very hard to live by it.

Billy Graham’s answer.

Feel free to leave your answer to this question in the comments.

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Sex

Q: Can you give me even one reason why I ought to keep myself sexually pure? I’m 16, and I don’t see why I shouldn’t have the same fun my friends do, no matter what my parents say. But I promised them I’d write you. — K.S.

A: There a number of good reasons to not have sexual intercourse. If you are not careful , you can contract a sexually transmitted disease . Unprotected vaginal intercourse can result in a pregnancy. There may also be emotional dangers for young people, especially females. (However, a more recent study casts doubt on this idea.)

There are also good reasons to engage in sexual activity. It can be very exciting and pleasurable and can increase the level of intimacy in a loving relationship. Your decision to engage in sexual activity is yours alone. You should weigh the advantages and risks before you make your decision. If you choose to have sexual relations, I hope that you do so safely.

Billy Graham’s answer.

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Mr. Know-It-All

Q: How should you deal with someone who always feels like they have to be right? My cousin is like this, and even when he’s obviously in the wrong he’ll never admit it, or if he does, he blames someone else for the problem. Why is he like this? — H.J.

A: I’m not exactly sure why your cousin is like this, but he may be trying to compensate for some feelings of inadequacy in other areas of his life. I dealt with a coworker several years ago that was like this. My best advice would be to minimize your interaction with him and try not to get into arguments. If he says something to someone that you know is false, you may want to approach that person in private and explain your doubts of the truthfulness of your cousin’s statement.

Billy Graham’s answer.

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Decision

Q: How do I know when I make a decision about something that it’ll be right? I’m afraid I’m not very good at making wise decisions. — E.G.

A: Since we cannot see into the future, there’s no way to know for certain if we’re making the best decision when faced with a choice. However, you can use reason to make your best guess at the optimal choice. Try envisioning the implications (to you, other people, your society, the environment) of your different choices. If this is a major decision that will have far reaching effects, it might help to write your ideas down so that you can take the proper time in your deliberations. Then you’ll need to determine which of the actions is the most beneficial overall, taking yourself, other people, your society, and the environment into account. The weights that you attribute to these different aspects are entirely your choice. However, keep in mind that the results of your decision may be irreversible.

Billy Graham’s answer.

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Rehab

Q: I’ve been in a drug rehab program for six months, and they just told me I can go home for a few days at Christmas. I suppose I ought to be glad, but I’m actually scared because I’ll see all my old friends and they’ll try to drag me down. What can I do? — K.R.

A: I think it’s very important that you NOT see any of your old friends when you visit your home for Christmas. Assuming your family is supportive of your efforts to manage and overcome your addiction, you should spend time with them and them only. If you do not think you can avoid your old friends, you should consider visiting family in another city or staying at the program facility for the holidays. If you opt for these latter choices, you could ask your members of your family to visit you.

Billy Graham’s answer.

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