Dear Rev. Graham: 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). — Mrs. J.Q.
… and Mr Graham has responded.
Given that he is 95, you would think that after presenting his arguments for many decades he would have learned something from the rebuttals, but alas no, after 95 years he now demonstrates his complete inability to learn. Here is his reply crammed full of straw men arguments along with my comments in blue like this …
Rev. Graham: I don’t know if there are more atheists than there used to be, [Well you should know because there are Pew research polls available and apparently happily being ignored] although it’s possible, since there are more people in the world. [Ah but the percentage is rapidly increasing, if it was down to an increasing population, then that percentage would remain unchanged] But it does seem they are more vocal, [Welcome to the age of the internet, the flow of information has indeed increased] and because our society is getting more secular their message often gets more of a hearing. [So does yours, the problem is that you do not have a rational logical evidence based claim]
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. [Now this is where he gets it all very very wrong … atheist/theist = I do not believe/I believe … in stark contrast agnostic/gnostic = I do not know/ I know … so the vast majority of non-believers are in fact “agnostic atheists” (I do not know and I do not believe). The burden of proof rests with those asserting a claim, it is very very dishonest to attempt to shift it like this, it is the typical theist stance because they have no evidence to verify any of their claims]
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. [This is factually wrong, most non-believers have given the topic a lot of thought and examination and reach the no-god conclusion because theists are unable to establish their claim, in fact when examined, most non-believers know more about the bible than most believers] Instead, they reject God for one reason: They don’t want anyone (including God) to interfere with their way of living. [This is complete and utter bollocks, he simply does not appear to grasp the rather basic fact that his imaginary friend is not real, I also do not take guidance from the easter bunny and santa claus either] Not all atheists are bad or immoral; some live commendable lives. [Factually speaking, 99% of the US prison population are believers, and the ethics of most theists is also highly questionable … intolerant homophobic bigots … but some do rise above that and 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. [That is an outright bold lie, the root cause for what he refers to is political fanaticism, personality cults, and a guy at the top who was a psychopath, non-belief had nothing at all to do with it] 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). [Well, if he does indeed wish to label non-believers fools, I’ll quote the bible right back at him, at one point Jesus advises his followers like this … “but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire“. Matthew 5:22]
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. [Actually that last bit is good advice. If, as a believer, something does bother you, then simply chatting to your imaginary friend about it is indeed best. If your imaginary friend is real, then he can sort it out … after all the claim is that god can do anything … right? In stark contrast, many believers end up behaving in a truly obnoxious intolerant manner towards relatives who dare to doubt and that says ever so much about the substance and quality of their “Christian Love”. ]
So did Mr Graham really write that response yesterday, was it actually Billy Graham at the age of 95 responding to letters in public newspapers? I suspect not, I think it would have been at best one of his staff members simply writing a canned reply in his name.
But even so, it has to be one of the silliest bits of guidance I have ever had the misfortune to read.