Monday, October 21, 2013

A rather impotent god

A reader asks Billy Graham if he's met anyone that didn't believe in God, and then concludes that they on;y said they were an atheist to 'sound smart'. Then Graham goes on to continue that same cluelessness...
God has done everything he can to reveal himself to us

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: Have you ever met anyone who absolutely did not believe in God? I’ve met some people who claimed to be atheists, but after talking with them I decided they only said they were atheists because they thought it made them sound smart. — M.G.

DEAR M.G.: Yes, over the years I’ve met some people who not only claimed to be atheists, but also sincerely believed that God did not exist.
But notice that I said they “believed” God didn’t exist — because if they were honest, they had to admit to me that they couldn’t prove it. The best they could do was say that they had never found him. But what if they’d been looking in the wrong place, or in the wrong way? In other words, atheism is based not on facts, but on faith — a faith that God doesn’t exist.

Like you, I’ve found that some people who claimed they didn’t believe in God weren’t really sincere; they just thought it made them sound smarter than people who believe in God. But more often, I’ve found, they didn’t believe in God simply because they didn’t want to — because they wanted to be free to run their own lives.

The Bible warns, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1). Why does the Bible say an atheist is a fool? One reason is because someday every one of us will die and meet God, and they will be left without hope. But the Bible also says atheists are foolish because God has done everything possible to reveal himself to us. He did this most of all by becoming a man: Jesus Christ. Do you want to know not only that God exists, but also shat he loves you? Look at Christ.
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The oddness of this one starts right with the title... 'God has done everything that he can'? Excuse me, but I was always taught that God was omnipotent. That there is literally nothing that he can't do. So, 'everything he can do' shouldn't even be part of the Abrahamic god's vocabulary. And if he really had done everything that he can do, guess what? We would all be believers. Obviously we're not, and many believe in other gods, so either your god is so powerless that his only means of communication is a very poorly written old book, or he has a sick sense of humor. Or, you know... he doesn't even exist.

Then MG decides to get a bit snarky. Granted, a little snark can be funny, but this case illustrates his ignorance. Yes, we just say that we don't believe to sound smart... Because there's nothing smarter than labeling oneself as some sort of outcast. It's so smart to just state a position that gets so many thrown out of their homes, disowned by family, or even abuse at the hands of those they thought they could trust. It's smart to own your beliefs only to have the close-minded just instantly judge you and turn away... even those that you considered to be friends. And if we secretly did believe (as is being insinuated) would deifying the god we supposedly secretly believe in, be a smart thing to do? Sorry MG, but we say we don't believe, because we actually don't believe. There's really no more to it than that.

And then Billy goes off the deep end... He rightly claims that we can't be absolutely certain that there is no God. Okay, fair enough. That's not what atheism is claiming. But guess what, you also can't be absolutely sure that there IS, a God. Last I checked, no person was omniscient. So you could also be wrong. So let's call that part even and more on.

Then here's the doozey. He claims that 'atheism is not built on facts, but on faith - a faith that God does not exist'. No... Not even close. All Graham has done here is show that he has absolutely no idea what atheism even is.

Atheism is not a faith that there is no God. All it is, is the lack of belief in gods. That means that even if you have never even heard of any gods, you are an atheist. Why? Because you lack belief. Babies are born lacking belief, and that would technically make them non-believers as well. In no way is atheism a faith that there is no God. When asked the question if you believe in God, if you answer in any way other than 'yes', you are an atheist. That means those that say 'I don't know', just as well as 'no'. This is because both groups lack belief in God. And before anyone claims that the 'I don't know' group and agnostic, we are talking strictly about belief here, not knowledge. Agnosticism answers a different question that atheism, which is why I'm an agnostic atheist.

Of course Graham concludes that many 'atheists' simply don't want to believe or so they can live their lives. Let's first realize that we can't choose what we believe. You either believe something or you don't. Sure, there may be some who claim to be atheist for the reasons Graham mentions, but I've never met one. And if I did, and knew their reasoning, I wouldn't consider them an atheist since they actually did believe. But let's remember this important point. Atheism makes no distinction on why people don't believe. Maybe some don't believe because of life events. Some don't believe because of reality that's been revealed by science. There are those that simply aren't convinced by the claims of their church or the Bible. There are even those that wish it was all true, wish they could believe, but they can't. So Billy, tell me how someone that want's to believe but doesn't is somehow also steadfast in some strange faith that there is no God?

I can tell you that I wanted it to be true. I wanted to believe that I would never die. But Christianity just didn't stand up to scrutiny. Scientific explanations made more sense, and I just couldn't devote my life to something that failed every single test along the way and all the evidence was and is, or the side of science. But, no... Graham say that God has done everything that he can. So considering how little it would have taken in order to continue to believe, you're God must be pretty damn weak.

And he closes with Psalm 14:1... "The fool says in his heart, There is no God."Then he says that we are fools because we will one day stand before God.  Well, what about Matthew 5:22?
But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
So... You might want to be careful who you're calling a fool, Billy. But more importantly, you speak as if there is absolute certainty that you are correct and have pinned your hopes on the correct god. So who's the fool if you die and find yourself before Odin or Ganesh, Mr. Graham?

-Brain Hulk

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