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Archive for the ‘Rejecting Belief’ Category

Attack

Q: I just saw a movie that was a clever attack on the Christian faith (in my opinion). Although it was only a story, it claimed Jesus was just another man and there isn’t any reason to believe He was the Son of God. Why would someone want to tear down people’s faith? — J.W.

A: The Christian faith is easily attacked because it is an obvious fiction that a huge number of people believe to be true. Jesus (if he ever existed at all) was a normal person and not any kind of god. In his book Godless, Dan Barker had this to say about faith:

    “If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are admitting that the assertion can’t be taken on its own merits. If something is true, we don’t invoke faith. Instead, we use reason to prove it. Faith is intellectual bankruptcy.”

Having faith in something that is unreasonable and cannot be proven is dangerous for the individual believer and our society at large. Faith in non-existent gods has caused war, oppression, rape, and tyranny. We’d all be much better off if the people of the world were to reject faith and embrace reason and compassion.

Billy Graham’s answer.

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Wasting Time

Q: I know I ought to tell others about Jesus and urge them to believe in Him, but the last time I tried I failed so miserably that I haven’t attempted it since. I couldn’t answer their questions, and I know they must have thought I was a fool, but I couldn’t help it. — M.McC.

A: I am not surprised you had a hard time answering questions about Jesus. The stories in the bible are completely absurd and contradictory. Instead of spending your time telling others about the story of Jesus, you would be better off researching the origins of the story. Most of the stories and themes in the bible (both New and Old Testaments) were borrowed, adapted, or copied from older cultures and religions in the Middle East and Mediterranean regions. The books of the New Testament were written decades after Jesus supposedly lived and died, and the authorship of those books is not known. These facts combine to erode the credibility of the bible. Don’t take my word for it, however. Research this topic for yourself, and if you approach it with an open mind, you are likely to come to a similar conclusion. If you eventually reject the bible, Christian teachings, and belief in the supernatural, you’ll likely have more time to spend on worthwhile efforts (e.g., doing something you enjoy, spending time with your family, and helping others).

Billy Graham’s answer.

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

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Q: One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to read some of the Bible every day. But like most of my resolutions, I’ve failed to keep it. I found some of it interesting, but I didn’t really understand most of it, so I stopped. Was I doing something wrong? — A.J.L.

A: I can’t blame you for stopping. The bible is a horrible book. It’s horribly boring, horribly cruel1, horribly inconsistent2, horribly wrong3, horribly misogynistic4, horribly absurd5, and has horrible credibility6. Many people have said that the best argument against the existence of the Christian god is the bible itself, and I tend to agree.

1 The bible describes its god as a murderer of millions (including infants!)
2 There are two different creation stories in Genesis. More examples here.
3 The sun revolves around the Earth? More examples here.
4 Men can divorce their wives, but women cannot divorce their husbands. More examples here.
5 A donkey sees an angel, recognizes it as such, and then speaks in human language (presumably Hebrew) to his master. Taken from here.
6 The bible is incredible (i.e., too improbable to be believed).

Billy Graham’s answer.

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Q: I don’t see how anyone could think that the devil isn’t real — not with all the evil that goes on in the world today. But will the devil ever be defeated? I’d like to think so, but the world doesn’t seem to be getting any better, does it? — G.F.

A: There are many, many people, including me, who do not believe in any devils (or gods, for that matter). There are common elements that are shared by many of the religions that have been fabricated by humans such as a creation myth, a great flood, the fall of man, the Hero’s Journey, a virgin birth, a messiah, and even a malevolent supernatural being (e.g., your devil). It is obvious to most Christians that the elements of older religions (e.g. Mithraism, Paganism, Egyptian and Greek mythologies, Zoroastrianism, etc.) are pure mythology. However, the Christian bible and tradition borrow heavily from these older mythologies. For someone who looks at this information rationally, it is easy to see that Christianity and the Jewish tradition from which it arose are also nothing more than human fabricated mythology. Therefore, the “devil” of which you speak is just an element of this myth.

I think Christian churches propagate the devil myth for two main reasons. First, they use the threat of eternal torment (at the hands of Satan) as a way to exert power and influence over their adherents. Second, they revert to blaming unfortunate events and malevolent actions on the devil either because they can’t explain it any other way or because they choose not to deal with the real reasons for these unfortunate circumstances.

As to your last point, I think the world is indeed “getting better”. See this post for more.

Billy Graham’s answer.

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

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Q: Does the Bible say that some day God will take our old bodies and remake them so they’ll never grow old? I don’t understand how this is possible, since our bodies disintegrate after we die and hardly anything is left. — K.F.

A: Billy Graham claims that the Christian bible indeed says this, and without looking it up myself, I would trust him to be correct. However, you should not trust anything in that bible. The bible states the following:

  • Hares are ruminants (Leviticus 11:6)
  • Bats are birds (Leviticus 11:13,19)
  • The sun revolves around the Earth (Ecclesiastes 1:5)
  • The Earth does not move (1st Chronicles 16:30)
  • There is a “firmament” that separates the waters of Earth form some other waters (Genesis 1:6-7)
  • The sun, moon, and stars are fixed in this firmament (Genesis 1:17)

As these statements are certainly wrong, how can any of the bible be trusted? The Christian bible is also full of inconsistencies and logical errors. It advocates cruelty and oppression of others. This book should not be trusted, believed, followed, or revered. It has no credibility.

I am glad that you are asking this type of question. If you continue to question the absurdity, inconsistency, and cruelty of the bible, you are likely to conclude that it is nothing more than a human fabrication (and not a good one, either).

Billy Graham’s answer.

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

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No Need For God

Q: I know their religion is important to some people, but what would you say to someone like me who doesn’t feel any need for God? I’m happy enough as it is, so why should I bother with God? — J.McK.

A: My answer will depend on the reason you do not have “any need for God”. If you do not believe that any gods exist because you have not seen or heard any evidence or good reasons to do so, then you have reached a rational, intelligent conclusion. I would hope that you continue to keep an open mind, but if you continue to apply reason, you are very unlikely to hear any good arguments for the existence of supernatural deities.

However, based on your question, it seems that you may have a slight inclination to believe some type of god exists. If this is the case, I would suggest that you research the history and validity of human religions. If you approach this rationally, you will likely come to the conclusion that there are no good reasons to believe in any gods.

Billy Graham’s answer.

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

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Second Chance

Q: My cousin always claimed to be an agnostic — a person who doesn’t know if God is real. Last month, he had a heart attack, and although he’s getting better, I know he could have died. Do you think God is giving him a second chance? — B.McK.

A: No, a fictitious supernatural entity cannot do anything, including giving your cousin a second chance. In lieu of saying more, I’ll direct you to this very nice article at AlterNet that discusses atheism and near-death experiences. It’s much better than anything I could write on the subject.

Billy Graham’s answer.

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