In Brief: Billy Graham bashes atheists

A woman writes Billy Graham to comment on her kind and loving atheist friend. Graham responds by bashing atheists.

Evangelical Christian Billy Graham — founder of the National Day of [Christian] Prayer — answers letters from readers in a syndicated column. In today’s column, he makes sure to reinforce the Christian belief that atheists are amoral and spiritually deprived.

A reader writes in:

DEAR DR. GRAHAM: The kindest, most thoughtful person I know says she’s an atheist and doesn’t even believe in God. I always thought we needed to believe in God before we’d behave like she does, but I guess this isn’t necessarily true, is it? – S.K.

That’s right, S.K. It is possible to care about others without the threat of damnation or promise of reward as motivation. But what does Dr. Graham think? In part:

Why is she such a kind and thoughtful person? I don’t know the reason; perhaps she simply has a sunny personality (as some people do), or perhaps her parents taught her to be kind and considerate when she was growing up. But I do know this: She’s not this way because she’s an atheist. In fact, she’s this way despite her atheism — because a true atheist has no real reason to believe in right and wrong or to behave sacrificially toward others.

Pray for her, that God will open her eyes — not only to His existence, but also to His love for her. And ask God to help you be a witness to her of Christ’s love and transforming power. On the outside, she may seem self-sufficient and indifferent toward God — but inside she may be spiritually empty and searching for inner peace.

And people wonder why atheists are one of the least-trusted groups in the US, after only Scientologists.

Was Graham out of other letters to which to respond? Or was he thrilled to have this opportunity to reinforce Christ-centered stereotypes of non-Christians? What do you think?

15 Responses to In Brief: Billy Graham bashes atheists

  1. "a true atheist has no real reason to believe in right and wrong or to behave sacrificially toward others." Makes sense, how else do you explain the overwhelming atheist prison population in this country?

  2. Yes – very funny, Sadface; but surely no one still believes that these stupid letters are sent in by real people!

  3. Here's a good one: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/03/billy_…

  4. "No real reason to believe in right and wrong…" The whole problem is trying to place any kind of belief on a non-believer. He starts off with a flawed premise, so any conclusion is going to be crap. If a belief is not the basis for a persons' actions and lifestyle–as in the case of an atheist–no conclusions can be made if that's the basis for one. GIGO–garbage in, garbage out–as the old computer acryonym tells us.

  5. I don't get how it's bashing atheists to suggest that someone may be searching for inner peace and need a little help. Billy Graham is a great man and doesn't deserve this snarky jab at his character. Get the giant chip off your shoulder before picking on someone else, how 'bout it?

    • Do you also not get how it’s bashing atheists to state that they have “no real reason to believe in right and wrong”? Do you believe that the only “real reason” is the promise of a reward or threat of punishment? If so, I pity you.

    • And why, precisely, is he a great man – because he says what you want to hear? I think the Dalai Lama's a great man, as he promotes universal compassion regardless of the specifics of people's belief systems – oh, wait, that's right. He isn't a Christian, so he can't be compassionate. Never mind.

    • His 'great man' status is immediately called into question by his remarks. Suggesting that someone is 'searching for inner peace', armed only with the knowledge that 'this is the kindest, most thoughtful person I know" and "she's an atheist", is at best simply ignorant, at worst (which it clearly appears to be based on the rest of his ranting) bigoted.

    • How is he a great man? Is it based on he ranting of the evils of homosexuals, or the belief that if non-whites and whites are then we dishonor what god did at the Tower of Babel. As an atheist I find that with the belief in a person godhead, only blinds a person heart to what is truly good. Also the idea that there is such a thing as pure good and pure evil is subjective at best, let alone to believe in any such thing.

    • avatar northern light

      It is said that philosophy is questions….in search of answers. Religion is answers …..in search of questions. I prefer the former….as it seeks truth…and has no ready made answer for lifes issues. Billy G will soon find out that there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow

  6. We could explain things to Mark all day, it's not going to get through. Religion has already removed his capacity for thinking.

  7. avatar Morgan-Lynn Grigggs Lamberth Carneades

    Crackers is such an idiot!He brainwashed himself to never fathom the reamifications of his stupid theology!He rankd with Sylvia Brown[e] and just as delusional. That comes from what Paul Kurtz calls the twin superstitions the paranormal and- the supernatural ” The Transcendental Temptation,” a must read tome.

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