Thursday, January 16, 2014

Billy Graham still doesn't get it

 Billy gets asked about atheists, then he goes on to prove how clueless he is about us...
Q: Do you think there are more atheists today than there used to be? My cousin says he's been reading some books by atheists, and now he's decided to become one (much to his family's disgust, I might add).
Um, no... One can't simply decide to become an atheist. You either believe in god(s) or you don't. It's not an active decision... it's a passive result. You can no more decide to become an atheist than you can decide to like a food that you hate the taste of. It is sad that his family is disgusted by someone simply having a different opinion on religion, or even for simply looking into things honestly.
A: I don’t know if there are more atheists than there used to be, although it’s possible, since there are more people in the world. But it does seem they are more vocal, and because our society is getting more secular their message often gets more of a hearing.
It is difficult to say if atheists do make up a higher percentage of the population, that we used to. Statistics are saying that's the case. But how much of that growth is due to closeted atheists simply
coming out of the dark and admitting who they are. Yes, we are finally getting heard more. But don't try and pretend we're dominating the airwaves, because Christianity and Christians still get far more coverage than anyone else.
An atheist is a person who believes that God doesn’t exist (in contrast to an agnostic, who says he doesn’t know whether or not God exists). But look carefully at that definition: An atheist believes God doesn’t exist. He can’t prove it; he can’t verify it; he can’t demonstrate it. He lives only by faith — faith that he is right, and everyone else is wrong.
Wrong, wrong, and wrong. An atheist does not believe that God doesn't exist... Well, they can, but that's not the actual definition. To be an atheist, you have to lack belief in a deity, not believe there isn't one. This means that an atheists belief can , and often is, passive. He gets 'agnostic' wrong as well. Agnostic is not a distinct position from atheism. Atheism and theism deals with what we believe. Agnostic and gnostic deal with what we know.

They are answers to two different questions, which is why I am an agnostic atheist. I do not believe in God, so I'm an atheist. But I also can't possibly claim to know for certain, so I'm also agnostic. Agnostic atheist... that's me.

And we also don't live only by faith. I know I don't. I don't disbelieve in God because of an active disbelief in his existence. I don't believe because I remain unconvinced by the claims, and the lack of evidence. That is not faith in the slightest. Also, is it odd to anyone else that Graham is talking down about faith, when that's exactly all what Christians have to rely on for their belief?
Often, however, people who claim to be atheists don’t reject God because they’ve examined all the evidence and concluded there is no God. Instead, they reject God for one reason: They don’t want anyone (including God) to interfere with their way of living. 
Wrong again Billy... We say we don't believe because we actually have examined all the evidence (or lack thereof) and remain unconvinced. What a god is telling me to do or not do doesn't enter into whether or not I believe in it or not. If my desires dictated what I believed in, I actually would be a believer of sorts. I quite like the idea of reincarnation, so if my desires influenced my beliefs, I'd probably be a Shinto-Buddhist rather than an atheist. But the truth matters to me, so I am an atheist.
Not all atheists are bad or immoral; some live commendable lives. But it’s also no accident that some of the worst atrocities in human history were committed by regimes that were based on atheism. No wonder the Bible says, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, and their ways are vile” (Psalm 53:1).
 True, not all atheists are bad or immoral. In fact, I've never met one that was. As for atheist atrocities... please name one. But I'll go ahead and guess where he's going with this... Hitler was not an atheist. He frequently stated that he was a Catholic. In fact, all of his writings and other aspects make it clear that he was in fact a Christian of some stripe. As for Stalin, Pol Pot, and Mao... while they may have been atheists themselves, their atrocities were not done in the name of atheism. They could have had any beliefs and the results would have been the same. Communism basically became a religion of it's own. They replaced the idea of an infallible god with that of an infallible state.
Pray for your cousin; only God can convict him of his sin and open his eyes to the truth of Christ. Also, pray that you will be an example to him of Christ’s love and compassion, even if others in your family reject him.
And I can only hope that believers such as Graham and  his reader bother to do five minutes of research before they open their mouth and show how little they know about the subject, or throw around ugly and incorrect accusations. Is that so much to ask?

-Brain Hulk

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