Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Billy Graham: True Christians?

Q: Several of my friends are active church types, but I can't see that it makes any difference in the way they live. How do you explain this? I don't think they're any better than I am. -- C. McK.
To tell you the truth, none if this surprises me. In fact research has shown that societies that believe in an unforgiving god tend to be more peaceful that those that believe in a forgiving god. And should this really surprise us? Christianity teaches that any sin a believer commits will be forgiven. It's this flawed system that would see murderers enter Heaven, and serves as no deterrent to bad behavior if
they truly believe they will be forgiven.
A: If someone is sincerely committed to Jesus Christ, it will make a difference in the way he or she lives.
Like rapist priests and a Pope that tried to cover the whole thing up? Like the majority of US prisoners, who are Christians? Like the insanely devout who bomb abortion clinics and protest funerals? Sure, belief made a difference for them. But it wasn't a good difference.
It may only be in small ways at first, but over time that person's life will be different because Christ now lives within them. The Bible says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come" (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Christ lives within them? Does that mean Jesus is going to pull out the Alien chestbuster routine, or is he more the explosive diarrhea type?
Only God knows, of course, whether or not your friends have truly believed in Christ. However, the Bible warns us against claiming we are following Christ, when in reality we aren't. We may claim to be Christians... we may say we're trying to live by the Ten Commandments or the Sermon on the Mount... we even may be active in a church, but we've never allowed Christ to take control of our lives. The Bible warns, "Faith without deeds is dead" (James 2:26).
You see, all Billy is trying to lay out here is the No True Scotsman Fallacy. It's a simple claim, but one that is easily combated with any amount of honest examination. Billy claims that belief will always make you a better person. But when presented with evidence that this isn't the case for someone, how is he to respond? Simple! Just claim that they aren't 'real Christians' and move on as if nothing ever happened. But this is dishonest. It ignores whether their belief is actually sincere. It ignores that by the very definition of what is required to be a Christian, they undoubtedly are.

It's but a sad attempt to try and redefine what something means in order to keep up the illusion that the initial claim is still true. But the truth is that the claim that belief always results in a positive change in the believer's life and actions is patently false.

History is full of believers and non-belivers alike who were good people and bad. Who lived rich lives or financially depressed ones. Belief has led some to end their life in hopes of Heaven, and it has drove many an innocent child to end their life because believers bullied them endlessly for being gay. Likewise, some claim that non-belief leads to an empty meaningless feeling toward life. This has not been my experience, but I don't pretend to speak for everyone.

So in the end, it's no surprise that there are believers that don't live saintly lives. That's because when you get right down to it, it's not your beliefs that matter but what kind of person you are independent of them.

-Brain Hulk

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