CADRE Comments

A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

A recent letter written to Dr. Billy Graham and published on Seattlepi.com has me scratching my head. Here is the letter:

DEAR DR. GRAHAM: I want to make myself clear: I have no interest in God or religion, and I don't care who knows it. As far as I'm concerned, God doesn't exist, and this life is all there is. Don't even bother to write me back, because I'm not interested. -- G.P.

G.P. makes several very interesting statements in this short letter. Let's read them again, one at a time:

1. "I have no interest in God or religion" -- Really? Then why are you writing to Dr. Graham to tell him so? Certainly, you have some interest, don't you?

2. "I don't care who knows it" -- But you want Dr. Graham and all of the readers of his column to know it, right? Why is that?

3. "As far as I'm concerned, God doesn't exist, and this life is all there is." -- Did you give this any thought? I mean, if you don't believe he exists or that there is anything beyond this life, that's the result of some level of consideration, isn't it? This seems to show an interest in God or religion -- at least a negative interest -- which you have disclaimed.

4. "Don't even bother to write me back, because I'm not interested." -- So, you were just emoting about something you don't care about?

G.P., if you should stumble across this blog, I did want to respond. I'm not Dr. Graham, but your letter reads like there is something really wrong in your life. If you really didn't care about God or heaven, I cannot imagine why you bothered to write the letter in the first place. Were you simply bored and said, "Gee, I'll write a letter to a famous Evangelist telling him that I don't believe in God just because"? That hardly makes sense.

While I could be wrong, I suspect that you wrote the letter for entirely different reasons. I suspect that you wrote the letter because the God who "as far as you are concerned doesn't exist" is calling out to you. You, for reasons of your own, have chosen to reject Him, but you cannot shake the feeling that He's out there. Thus, like a person who is afraid to admit that he is actually bankrupt, you don't want to check your bank balances. You want to write letters to people saying, "I'm not bankrupt! I've got plenty of money, if I need it", when, in fact, you are greatly overdrawn.

I really would like you to reconsider the truth claims of Christianity. Don't simply reject them without considering much of the work that has gone into the many historic, philosophic and scientific arguments that cry out that God exists. Don't simply accept some friend's rejection of these arguments as good cause to reject them yourself. Many people, such as myself and the writers on this blog, have examined these arguments and found them quite intellectually and emotionally satisfying.

It really is too important of an issue to summarily dismiss, and it certainly is too important to think that firing off a letter to Dr. Graham without concerning yourself with how he might respond would be a satisfactory way to deal with it.

2 comments:

BK,
Maybe you are reading too much into this. I have encountered these kinds of atheists and let me guess the background of his answers.


BK said:
""I have no interest in God or religion" -- Really? Then why are you writing to Dr. Graham to tell him so? Certainly, you have some interest, don't you?"

Maybe he is replying to Dr Graham's prosetysing attempts and trying to stop Christians to shove Jesus down his throat.


BK said:
""I don't care who knows it" -- But you want Dr. Graham and all of the readers of his column to know it, right? Why is that?"

Maybe he is saying that he doesn't care any more if his neighbours find out that he is an atheist and start to shun him and vandalize his property. He is willing to take that risk.


BK said:
""As far as I'm concerned, God doesn't exist, and this life is all there is." -- Did you give this any thought? I mean, if you don't believe he exists or that there is anything beyond this life, that's the result of some level of consideration, isn't it? This seems to show an interest in God or religion -- at least a negative interest -- which you have disclaimed."

Maybe he has given it a plenty of thought and now is not interested in it any more. Rejected hypothesis are not interesting.


BK said:
""Don't even bother to write me back, because I'm not interested." -- So, you were just emoting about something you don't care about?"

Maybe he just wants to get the tax exempt prosletyzing to stop.


BK said:
"I suspect that you wrote the letter because the God who "as far as you are concerned doesn't exist" is calling out to you. You, for reasons of your own, have chosen to reject Him, but you cannot shake the feeling that He's out there."

I suspect that you wrote the blog entry because the reason is calling out to you. You, for reasons of your own, have chosen to accept Him, but you cannot shake the feeling that He's not out there.

Peter,

I actually agree that your first response (suggesting that he is sick of Christians shoving Jesus down his throat through proselytizing) may be right. Certainly, what he said is consistent with your interpretation.

However, I really find your second point to be a stretch. While there is certainly some level of wrongful hatred and vandalism towards atheists in some communities, I strongly suspect that the vast majority of hate crimes in America are committed towards those with religious faith.

Your third point could be possible, but he certainly doesn't seem to care to give any reason for his rejection of God which leads me to believe that there is no compelling reason driving such rejection.

The "tax exempt prosyletizing" statement doesn't seem even remotely connected to what he said.

"I suspect that you wrote the blog entry because the reason is calling out to you." The reason? If you meant "reason" (which I expect) then you should recognize that I have very good and strong reasons for my belief -- at least, I and many other Christians find the reasons good and strong. Of course, we disagree on this point, but that's why we have these types of blogs.

Thanks for the responses. They are food for thought.

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