Billy’s Being Silly May 17, 2011

Billy’s Being Silly

You always hear Christians point to Billy Graham as the person who best represents their faith. He’s not political! He’s not corrupt! He preaches Jesus’ message!

Graham was asked in his syndicated column this past weekend why there are so many atheists around these days. After saying that there were indeed more visible atheists these days, he proceeded to rattle off a bunch of lies:

… atheism has no satisfying answer to the basic questions of life — questions like “Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? How do I know what’s right and wrong? What happens when I die?” Atheism says we are here by chance, and life has no meaning or destiny. Taken to its conclusion, atheism ends in despair.

As one commenter wrote, being an atheist isn’t about finding all the answers to those questions; Instead, we have the freedom to discover those answers wherever they may be.

We are here by chance, but we’re hopefully making the most of our lives. It’s incredible luck that we’re here. It’d be a shame to waste that opportunity.

As for the despair bit, Graham is just delusional.

I’ve been to atheist conferences. Graham’s straw man makes it sound like we’re all sitting around, emo and moping, waiting for the sweet release of death. That’s not the case. When we get together, we’re excited and full of joy. We have the same ups and downs as Christians do.

Later, he writes:

Many atheists, I find, reject God for one reason: They want to run their own lives.

(No)God forbid we actually take responsibility for our own actions…. Atheists “reject” god only because there’s no evidence for one. Has Graham even spoken to an atheist before? Doesn’t sound like it.

I don’t know why this column even runs anymore. Graham was asked if there are more atheists now than before. He didn’t even really answer the question. Instead, he used it as an opportunity to spread lies about people he knows next to nothing about.

And Christians respect him?!

At least Christopher Hitchens didn’t hold back. He once said, bluntly as always, Graham’s full of shit. Check out the 1:00 and 3:00 marks:

With someone like, say, Billy Graham, I think one can see all the symptoms of a self-conscious fraud. I mean someone who doesn’t believe any of this at all, but is a reasonably good businessman.

[Host: You think Billy Graham’s an evil man?]

Yes. Disgustingly evil man.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • For a good read on a thorough investigation of Graham check out Prince of War by Cecil Bothwell. It is available at his blog –

  • The link didn’t work. I am trying again.


  • Billy answers his own question when he states atheists want to take responsibility for their own life, instead of having some fictional being from thousands of years ago telling them who they should be.

    In a way, you could say this is Billy’s first intelligent statement in a very long time.

  • Magicthighs

    “atheism has no satisfying answer to the basic questions of life — questions like “Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? How do I know what’s right and wrong? What happens when I die?”

    Classical case of projection. What he’s really saying is “without religion I’d have no identity, no grounding, no sense of purpose, no sense of morality, and I’d be afraid to die”.

  • Jon

    “atheism has no satisfying answer to the basic questions of life”

    I guess this is my biggest beef with evangelicals – many people (atheists or not) aren’t interested in *satisfying* answers…we bloody-hell want *correct* answers. You want a satisfying answer to “Who am I”? I got a few satisfying answers – “The King of the World”, “The King of Pop”, “The Greatest Stud in the Universe”. These answers are very satisfying. They are also very incorrect.

  • Pseudonym

    I’ve never met a Christian who claims that Billy Graham best represents their faith. Of course, I’m not American.

  • Richard Wade

    Every one of Graham’s statements about atheists is what people who have never gotten to know any atheists say. I hear Christians parrot this crap like a memorized list, and whenever I’m able to pin them down to swear in the name of their god to tell the truth, they admit that they never have actually gotten to know a single atheist. They just heard somebody else say it, and they’re repeating it.

    The statements are just repeated falsehoods. The lie is in their pretense that they actually know what they’re talking about.

    Talk to an atheist?? Get to know them?? Are you kidding?? Ewwww!

    Always call them on how do they know what they claim to know about us. Do they have personal, intimate knowledge of several atheists? Names and details, please. Or are they just repeating somebody else’s false witness? Never let a single bullshit slander get by unchallenged.

  • Erik T

    You don’t really think Billy G writes his own column, do you? He’s got someone on staff to ghostwrite it for him. I’m pretty sure that person writes the questions too, since for several years the column didn’t even publish an address to send in questions.

  • Dan

    Many atheists, I find, reject God for one reason: They want to run their own lives.

    YES! Now you get it! (Almost. “Reject God” is your choice of words, not mine.)

  • Roxane

    I get SO tired of people making things up about atheists. I wish there was some way we could all shout out to all of these clowns, “You made that up in your own febrile, puerile brain and it has nothing whatsoever to do with me.”

  • Kamaka

    … atheism has no satisfying answer to the basic questions of life — questions like “Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? How do I know what’s right and wrong? What happens when I die?”

    Ah, excuse me, Billy, but the existential questions atheists ask are quite different from the ones you are busy projecting on us. “What happens when I die”? Stupid fuck, you know very well what happens, and so do I. My answer is satisfying enough, because it’s true.

    “Who am I?” An ape, lucky to be alive and experiencing life.

    “Where did I come from?” A long line of apes. And before that, star-stuff.

    “Why am I here?” There is no “why”. It is what it is.

    “How do I know what’s right and wrong?” An interesting slander coming from one who’s moral compass is broken.

    Here’s one or two existential questions an atheist might ask:

    What can I do to enhance the experience of children learning about the world?

    Is there some unique contribution I can make to humanity before I am dead and gone?

    As I move through the world, am I doing my best to help others to move through the world successfully?

  • Jamie

    If anything, religion is what doesn’t have satisfying answers to the basic questions of life.

  • Gail

    I’m not sure all Christians think of him as who represents their faith, but definitely evangelical Christians. He was always cited as like the best man ever when I went to a Southern Baptist church as a child. We used to stay at his Cove Camp place on retreats, too.

    I remember one time our youth pastor made a chart of a giant line, with god at one end and people along the way according to how close their “relationship with god” was (apparently the sole point of our life is to move along that line as close to god as we can get, because that sounds like a great purpose in life), and the youth pastor actually wrote in some names on there, which actually seemed kind of tacky, and he put Billy Graham like RIGHT next to god. That’s the kind of thing I sat through twice a week until I went to college. Awesome, right?

  • T-Rex

    Billy will be dead soon. I just hope he’s resurrected after a few days so he can tell every one there is no heaven or hell, no gawd and that his whole life was spent preaching lies. Then I want him to apologize for being responsible for having “under gawd” put into the pledge and having “in gawd we trust” plastered on our currency. Then he can die again and just stay dead.

  • @Pseudonym:

    I have. His child, Calvary Chapel, believes the way that Billy Graham does, and so does my parents’ pastor, and my parents, and my family…

  • Bronwyn

    He’s not totally clean. There are some audio tapes of him and Richard Nixon complaining about Jews.

  • Reff

    All the basic questions of life can be answered by my birth certificate.
    Who am I?: (Name)
    Where did I come from?: (City and county of birth)
    Why am I here?: (Names of parents)
    How do I know what’s right and wrong?: Certificate is signed, dated & notarized, confirming authenticity
    What happens when I die?: Someone will fill out a death certificate.

  • It always strikes me how Christians like Billy are completely incapable of understanding arguments against religion that don’t involve god. I suspect it’s because religion plays such a big role in their lives that they literally can’t imagine life without it. They invent these reasons why we don’t believe in god that still leave room for us to believe god exists even though we don’t believe in god (if that makes any sense). It lessens the threat to their belief this way.

  • atheism has no satisfying answer to the basic questions of life — questions like “Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? How do I know what’s right and wrong? What happens when I die?”

    Of course atheism has no answers for this. Atheism isn’t a philosophy or a science, it is a statement of lack of belief in gods. It has nothing to say beyond that.

    Atheists on the other hand are people who may or may not have answers to these questions. Also I find the various Christian stock answers to these questions to be wholly unsatisfactory.

    Many atheists, I find, reject God for one reason: They want to run their own lives.

    I don’t reject God. I don’t belief that any such entity exists. I think that I’d need to accept that God exists in order to reject it. I don’t so I haven’t.

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