November 7th, 2013
06:08 PM ET

Billy Graham turns 95 at star-studded birthday

By Phil Gast, CNN

(CNN) - The Rev. Billy Graham took people to church, perhaps for the last time, as hundreds joined the iconic evangelist Thursday evening for his 95th birthday.

A guest list that included former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Rev. Rick Warren and businessmen Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump came to pay tribute to a man beloved for his humility and faithfulness.

Because the frail Graham no longer has the strength to speak behind a lectern, his enduring message of salvation through Jesus Christ came in the form of "The Cross," a 30-minute DVD that made its debut at the celebration.

"He is my spiritual hero," said entertainer Ricky Skaggs shortly before the celebration began at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, North Carolina. "He exemplifies brokenness and humility."

Graham, in a wheelchair, entered the room to a standing ovation. Although he did not give a formal speech, he later made impromptu remarks from his table, thanking family and friends.

"The Cross" was filmed in part this year at Graham's remote mountaintop home in Montreat, east of Asheville.

His hearing and eyesight have dimmed, but Graham has remained true to his familiar themes.

"Our country is in great need of a spiritual awakening. There have been times that I have wept as I have gone from city to city and I have seen how far people have wandered from God," the pastor said in what is expected to be his final video production. "Of all the things I have seen and heard, there is only one message that can change people's lives and hearts."

That message, as billions around the world have heard for more than six decades, is salvation and the need to live a new life because of Christ's sacrifice on the cross.

Graham has provided counsel to generations of U.S. presidents beginning with Harry S. Truman. Staging revivals that he called "crusades" around the world, the founder of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has reached untold millions of people in person.

In the video, Graham said when he was young he did not foresee speaking to large audiences.

"As I look back over my life, it is full of surprises. I never thought I would become friends with people in different countries all over the world," he said.

Singers Lecrae and Lacey Sturm also are featured in the video, which can be watched online and will be played in churches across the country. It is part of the "My Hope America with Billy Graham" series. The production included recorded sermons and footage of a younger Graham.

Skaggs, singer Michael W. Smith and TV host Kathie Lee Gifford were among those leading the singing of "Happy Birthday" to Graham. About 850 well-wishers were on hand at the resort inn.

Palin told Graham that his Christian message is needed for a "great awakening" the nation and world need.

Graham is a member of the Rev. Don Wilton's church, Spartanburg  First Baptist in South Carolina, and he still watches Wilton's sermons on TV.

"He'll look at me and say, 'Don, let's talk about that second point you had on Sunday,'" said Wilton, who drives up at least once a week to Graham's home.

"My favorite part is when he puts his hands on me and prays with me," Wilton told CNN affiliate WYFF in Greenville, South Carolina.

Graham, a Charlotte native, began his missionary work in 1944 when he started speaking at rallies for the Youth for Christ/Campus Life ministry. Five years later, Graham was holding a "crusade" in tents in downtown Los Angeles.

Cliff Barrows was with Graham in the early years and for decades has served as music and program director.

Barrows, 90, turned to his boss on Thursday evening, paying an emotional tribute.

"I praise God for the journey we have had together. Thank you with all my heart for the privilege. Happy birthday."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Billy Graham • Christianity • evangelicals • Leaders • Protestant • Sarah Palin

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soundoff (713 Responses)
  1. skytag

    Seems like it would be at least a little intimidating to be Billy Graham's pastor.

    November 8, 2013 at 2:13 am |
    • HotAirAce

      What's so hard about "Wink, wink, say no more, good collection this week, pass the whiskey, did you see the hotty in the second row, what is that black fellow doing in the White House, but I do like the looks of his wife. . ."

      November 8, 2013 at 3:01 am |
  2. It's difficult realizing when you're stupid


    November 8, 2013 at 2:01 am |
    • HotAirAce

      matthew I think this was meant for you.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:17 am |
  3. Bootyfunk

    matthew wrote:
    "There is not one...just as none exist to prove evolution. That is why it is still referred to as a theory. Hell, one of the most prominent evolutionists, Richard Dawkins, realizing the holes advocates panspermia (aliens)."

    matthew clearly doesn't know the word "theory" means in the scientific community. theories are have so much evidence backing them up, they are considered factual. the word you are looking for is "hypothesis". people with little scientific understand often make that mistake. they think a "hypothesis" has the same meaning in general society - it doesn't. they also often think it goes hypothesis leads to theory and finally a law - this also untrue. hypothesis leads to theory OR law. laws and theories are equal in the scientific community. they are different kinds of explanations.

    for you to say, "that's why it's still just a theory" highlights your ignorance on all things science. is nuclear theory "just a theory"? how about the theory of general relativity? electromagnetic theory? lol.

    read this website and it will explain the differences to you so you never look foolish again by spouting, "it's just a theory":

    November 8, 2013 at 1:55 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      sorry, typo, hit return before i went back. first sentence should read:
      matthew clearly doesn't know what the word "theory" means within the scientific community. theories are considered "fact" because they have so much evidence backing them up

      November 8, 2013 at 1:58 am |
      • Krhodes

        right, however that does not make them true now does it.

        November 8, 2013 at 2:13 am |
        • Bootyfunk

          are you saying something factual isn't "true"? evidence tends to prove some things true and some things false. there may be gaps in our knowledge, but evolution has mountains of evidence to prove it is factual. there is zero evidence that disproves evolution.

          November 8, 2013 at 2:23 am |
  4. ss

    a very deluded man who did much harm deluding many generations. his departure will be welcomed by anyone who values the enlightenment and reason.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:54 am |
    • skytag

      Graham is no more deluded than any believer and a better person than most from what I know of him. Maybe you're thinking of Pat Roberson.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:04 am |
      • gustifer53

        Roberson and Graham lost their senses long long ago. Actually ALL Republicans and Teabaggers have lost their senses too...They prove it on a daily basis...All you have to do is turn on your computers and read the news, except for the republican owned Fox Noise, Rush LIMPdick hasn't a clue about anything either...Just a bunch of noise makers is what they all are.

        November 8, 2013 at 4:06 am |
        • Irfan

          I agree with @skytag . I think you are thinking of Robertson. Plus, Billy Graham is a Democrat

          November 8, 2013 at 7:30 am |
    • Krhodes

      Ah...those peaceful life loving atheist/liberal types hoping for someone's death. That is a nice touch isn't it?

      November 8, 2013 at 2:24 am |
      • Indeed

        Just what I was thinking.

        Regardless if you agree or don't agree with him – saying that a death of someone is a welcome event shows just how cold a person can be.

        Also – so many threads like this one shows how Godwin's law should also apply to a political boasts. Good times.

        November 8, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
  5. Rogue351

    This man has caused more harm than good, separating families along with millions of people from their money for his own prosperity. I hope he has eye of the needle in mind at his age. The damage is done and he will be judged on his actions of greed and hate. For a man that calls himself a true believer he has obviously over looked some things and has chosen to follow only what suits him.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:53 am |
    • skytag

      I'm an atheist but I think you sound nuts. I have no reason to believe he's done more harm than good with his ministry.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:00 am |
      • JCS

        It's true. Religion has never hurt anyone. Unless you're a dirty jew or muslim.

        November 8, 2013 at 2:06 am |
  6. Woody

    Sarah Palin, Rick Warren???? This doesn't sound like your basic Mensa Society meeting. As for Rupert Murdoch and Donald Trump, somehow, someway, they'll make a buck out of this.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:50 am |
    • Doris

      With that crowd, I'm sure they'd put up signs to warning about fires. They should have invited Smoky the Bear just in case.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:54 am |
      • Doris

        and here I am still waiting for some of this wet wood from spring to dry out.

        November 8, 2013 at 1:55 am |
  7. I'mvotingforHillary

    I lost all respect for him when he supported Romney by removing the reference to Mormons as a cult from his website. If you truly believe in something you are not going to compromise those beliefs for nobody.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:35 am |
    • skytag

      Every religion is a cult. Nothing is more arrogant than to claim, with no evidence anything you believe is correct, that people who believe something different are in a cult.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:54 am |
    • nerdy_christian_13

      I agree with your comment about Mormonism, but at the same time, the options were a Mormon or a Unitarian Universalist.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:19 am |
  8. Dandy Dizmore

    The Billy Graham Prayer:
    Please, please Skyfairy .... take this turkey and Jim Bakker.... I cannot stand to look at them any longer and perhaps you could use them to annoy those fallen angels... as they have annoyed me for years...

    November 8, 2013 at 1:26 am |
  9. WhatDidYouSay

    Science is the study of how God creates.

    November 8, 2013 at 1:21 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      religion is the illusion that god created man when the opposite is true.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:24 am |
    • HotAirAce

      If you say so. Too bad many scientists disagree with you.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:25 am |
  10. matthew

    Go read about max planck and plancks constant. The probability is greater than 1 part in 10×50. I know your used to getting your philosophy from a fortune cookie and science from TV....but hopefully you can figure it out. Since you espouse such wisdom in your posts I am assuming you understand right hand amino acid chain evolution, time and probability of the single cell

    November 8, 2013 at 1:00 am |
    • Colin

      So, let me get your logic straight. You honestly believe that you have scientific proof that the most widely accepted explanation for biological diversity in the World, which is supported by overwhelming evidence in the Worldwide fossil record, completely independently verified and validated by genetic mapping and taught in every college and University in the World – is wrong.

      The greatest, most esteemed biologists in the World have been wrong for the last 160 years and the true, correct explanation for biological diversity can be found in a late Bronze Age book of Jewish mythology.

      You honestly believe this?

      Well, I would suggest that you immediately publish a scientific paper with your findings because you are certain to win a Nobel Prize. This would be the most remarkable event in recent scientific history.

      November 8, 2013 at 9:21 am |
      • fred

        There is no argument that various scientific disciplines support current accepted thought on biological diversity. The problem is taking scientifically supported theories such as evolution then extrapolating them into a World View that has no more scientific support than the belief God simply saying let it be and it was.

        I could use some help in understanding how accepting evolutionary theory supports a position of "no God needed". We have not been able to reproduce possible origins of proteins without creating an environment that could not have existed. At this point in time origin of life remains unknown. Without faith no God needed and God did it are equally valid.

        November 8, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
        • kim

          Seems to me it is simple deduction where the evolutionary progression by means of natural laws advanced from a single cell. Why would we suddenly need god or gods when one was not needed for 3.85 billion years?

          November 8, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
        • fred

          Wouldn't that be induction since you are making a generalized statement without evidence that one leads to the other? How about I flip that around and say evolution points to the creation of beings that are evolving into the Image of God out of a simple protein? Thus, Genesis is proven by the process of evolution where God formed man out of the dust of the earth given one day for God could be 3.85 billion man years.

          November 8, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
  11. Mary

    Billy Graham has spread the Good News to untold numbers of people. It has been his life's mission and he has done it well. Those who are criticizing his good work now are no different from the unbelievers in Christ's time. The point of Dr. Graham's video was to show that others who didn't believe found the truth. Perhaps those posting critical comments should watch the video.

    November 8, 2013 at 12:58 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Sounds like he should be charged with crimes against humanity for chronic lying.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:01 am |
    • Dandy Dizmore

      IOW, he lead the lemmings over the cliff with him.. yeah, what a guy...

      November 8, 2013 at 1:27 am |
  12. Juan Mercado

    Rev. Billy Graham is a man who has inspired generations of Americans, counseled presidents and transformed families. My father was a cheater and an alcoholic until he heard Rev. Graham on the television. He put his hand on the TV and prayed the sinners prayer and walked away a changed man. Rev. Graham is a man of integrity and honor. Even people who disagree with him respect him. One of his best friends was a former evangelist who turned into an atheist. Even if you disagree with his message, show a little respect for a great man and a great American.

    November 8, 2013 at 12:54 am |
    • S1N

      Anyone who spends their entire life attempting to convince people to take part in mass delusions (Magic Sky Daddy) is NOT great at all. Such people should have been aborted.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:18 am |
      • skytag

        Graham didn't force anyone to listen to him. He inspired a lot of people to be better people. True, it was with a delusion they all believed, but based on what I've seen over the years he did much more good than harm.

        November 8, 2013 at 2:09 am |
  13. Reality # 2

    And Graham gets $400,000 a year for mouthing said statements. And for free, we counter his statement with:

    The Apostles'/Agnostics'/Atheists' Creed 2013: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    (references used are available upon request

    November 8, 2013 at 12:19 am |
    • Jay

      "Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by many semi-fiction writers?"

      I'm no religious fiend, but also I wouldn't spout off - even in a pseudo humor piece (sorry, mate, but you can work on the humor bit) - by betraying my historical ignorance. If you had a rudimentary understanding of near eastern studies, legend and myth making during that period, you'd know that the Gospel accounts hardly fit the template for "mythology." In fact, it was precisely the opposite that made it so scandalous - the unattractive and preposterous inclusion of women as eyewitness testimony, the portrait of a "mythological hero" as the broken and executed, et al.

      I wouldn't vote you as rapporteur for my town's atheist club.

      November 8, 2013 at 12:44 am |
      • Bootyfunk

        i doubt you belong to any atheist club. more like a card carrying christian. lol.

        there is no good evidence jesus ever existed, yet you speak of history? and i'm sure as an atheist you would agree if he did live, he wasn't the son of a sky god - just a man. a man that said he was the son of a god, which would make him crazy or a liar. but i digress...

        "If you had a rudimentary understanding of near eastern studies, legend and myth making during that period, you'd know that the Gospel accounts hardly fit the template for "mythology.""
        +++ actually, you're the one that seems to be suffering from a lack of knowledge on the subject. magical accounts of people walking on water and coming back from the dead fit PERFECTLY with mythological belief. the jesus myth was borrowed from several other religions/mythologies.

        "the unattractive and preposterous inclusion of women as eyewitness testimony, the portrait of a "mythological hero" as the broken and executed"
        +++ this actually made me laugh. women are treated like barnyard animals in the bible. they are told to be silent and submit to men, husband, brother or father. the bible says non-virgin women are to be stoned to death on their father's doorstep. females are weak or evil in the bible, usually leading men to downfall. and you post that they were allowed to be a witness? hahaha. wow, they should feel honored.

        November 8, 2013 at 1:08 am |
      • Reality # 2

        As requested:

        From Professors Crossan and Watts' book, Who is Jesus.

        "That Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, as the Creed states, is as certain as anything historical can ever be.

        “ The Jewish historian, Josephus and the pagan historian Tacitus both agree that Jesus was executed by order of the Roman governor of Judea. And is very hard to imagine that Jesus' followers would have invented such a story unless it indeed happened.

        “While the brute fact that of Jesus' death by crucifixion is historically certain, however, those detailed narratives in our present gospels are much more problematic. "

        “My best historical reconstruction would be something like this. Jesus was arrested during the Passover festival, most likely in response to his action in the Temple. Those who were closest to him ran away for their own safety.

        I do not presume that there were any high-level confrontations between Caiaphas and Pilate and Herod Antipas either about Jesus or with Jesus. No doubt they would have agreed before the festival that fast action was to be taken against any disturbance and that a few examples by crucifixion might be especially useful at the outset. And I doubt very much if Jewish police or Roman soldiers needed to go too far up the chain of command in handling a Galilean peasant like Jesus. It is hard for us to imagine the casual brutality with which Jesus was probably taken and executed. All those "last week" details in our gospels, as distinct from the brute facts just mentioned, are prophecy turned into history, rather than history remembered."

        See also Professor Crossan's reviews of the existence of Jesus in his other books especially, The Historical Jesus and also Excavating Jesus (with Professor Jonathan Reed doing the archeology discussion) .

        Other NT exegetes to include members of the Jesus Seminar have published similar books with appropriate supporting references.

        Part of Crossan's The Historical Jesus has been published online at books.google.com/books.

        There is also a search engine for this book on the right hand side of the opening page. e.g. Search Josephus

        See also Wikipedia's review on the historical Jesus to include the Tacitus' reference to the crucifixion of Jesus.

        From ask.com,

        "One of the greatest historians of ancient Rome, Cornelius Tacitus is a primary source for much of what is known about life the first and second centuries after the life of Jesus. His most famous works, Histories and Annals, exist in fragmentary form, though many of his earlier writings were lost to time. Tacitus is known for being generally reliable (if somewhat biased toward what he saw as Roman immorality) and for having a uniquely direct (if not blunt) writing style.

        Then there are these scriptural references:

        Crucifixion of Jesus:(1) 1 Cor 15:3b; (2a) Gos. Pet. 4:10-5:16,18-20; 6:22; (2b) Mark 15:22-38 = Matt 27:33-51a = Luke 23:32-46; (2c) John 19:17b-25a,28-36; (3) Barn. 7:3-5; (4a) 1 Clem. 16:3-4 (=Isaiah 53:1-12); (4b) 1 Clem. 16.15-16 (=Psalm 22:6-8); (5a) Ign. Mag. 11; (5b) Ign. Trall. 9:1b; (5c) Ign. Smyrn. 1.2.- (read them all at wiki.faithfutures. Crucifixion org/index.php/005_Crucifixion_Of_Jesus )

        Added suggested readings:

        o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.

        2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
        – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

        30-60 CE Passion Narrative
        40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
        50-60 1 Thessalonians
        50-60 Philippians
        50-60 Galatians
        50-60 1 Corinthians
        50-60 2 Corinthians
        50-60 Romans
        50-60 Philemon
        50-80 Colossians
        50-90 Signs Gospel
        50-95 Book of Hebrews
        50-120 Didache
        50-140 Gospel of Thomas
        50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
        50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
        65-80 Gospel of Mark
        70-100 Epistle of James
        70-120 Egerton Gospel
        70-160 Gospel of Peter
        70-160 Secret Mark
        70-200 Fayyum Fragment
        70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
        73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
        80-100 2 Thessalonians
        80-100 Ephesians
        80-100 Gospel of Matthew
        80-110 1 Peter
        80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
        80-130 Gospel of Luke
        80-130 Acts of the Apostles
        80-140 1 Clement
        80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
        80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
        80-250 Christian Sibyllines
        90-95 Apocalypse of John
        90-120 Gospel of John
        90-120 1 John
        90-120 2 John
        90-120 3 John
        90-120 Epistle of Jude
        93 Flavius Josephus
        100-150 1 Timothy
        100-150 2 Timothy
        100-150 T-itus
        100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
        100-150 Secret Book of James
        100-150 Preaching of Peter
        100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
        100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
        100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
        100-160 2 Peter

         4. Jesus Database, http://www.faithfutures.o-rg/JDB/intro.html –"The JESUS DATABASE is an online a-nnotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
        5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bis-sar24.htm
        6. The Jesus Seminar, http://en.wikipedia.o-rg/wiki/Jesus_Seminar
        7. http://www.biblicalartifacts.com/items/785509/item785509biblicalartifacts.html – books on the health and illness during the time of the NT
        8. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.
        9.The Gn-ostic Jesus
        (Part One in a Two-Part Series on A-ncient and Modern G-nosticism)
        by Douglas Gro-othuis: http://www.equip.o-rg/articles/g-nosticism-and-the-g-nostic-jesus/
        10. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission
        Presented on March 18, 1994
        11. The Jesus Database- newer site:
        12. Jesus Database with the example of S-u-pper and Eucharist:
        13. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
        13. http://www.textweek.com/mtlk/jesus.htmm- Historical Jesus Studies
        14. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/
        15. D-iseases in the Bible:

        16. Religion on Line (6000 articles on the history of religion, churches, theologies,
        theologians, ethics, etc.

         17. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT ntgateway.com/
        18. Writing the New Testament- e-xisting copies, o-ral tradition etc.
        19. JD Crossan's c-onclusions about the a-uthencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the c-onclusions of other NT e-xege-tes in the last 200 years:
        20. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
        21. Luke and Josephus- was there a c-onnection?
        22. NT and beyond time line:
        23. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
        24. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan's books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.
        25. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.
        27. The books of the following : Professors Gerd Ludemann, Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
        28. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
        29. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus

        November 8, 2013 at 8:36 am |
  14. Honest Abe

    Too bad he sold his soul to the devil when he endorsed Mormonism after a brief visit with Romney. He undermined his life's work with a pointless endorsement, or website edit in this case.

    November 8, 2013 at 12:04 am |
    • Bob

      Supporting one god fraud from another is not a big move.

      November 8, 2013 at 12:18 am |
  15. ahitler

    So do you "speak out" against hypocritical Christians picking on gays? What about Christians calling doctors who perform legal operations "murderers"?

    so, do you "speak out" against people who pick on palin? what about adolf killlin 6 million legally?

    November 7, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
  16. kennyzales

    Colin: You've prevented a compelling argument to ridicule and disbelieve religion. You know..that belief-thingy that was created by mankind to help him understand everything that he couldn't explain himself. However, you've presented no argument to dissuade anyone from their faith and/or spirituality. Yes, the Bible is full of silly parables. This has nothing to do with the Supreme Creator in which I have faith and absolute certainty of he/she/its existence. Anyway, please keep fighting the good fight. You'll present quite a relevant challenge for Fundamentalists. 🙂

    November 7, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      "However, you've presented no argument to dissuade anyone from their faith and/or spirituality."
      +++ i disagree. you are not persuaded, but others may be. it's never any one conversation that brings atheists to lose their belief in god. it's usually many conversations, books, articles, etc. that eventually brings atheists around to non-belief. so while what colin said may not alone sway people, he adds to the argument.

      November 8, 2013 at 12:01 am |
  17. guest

    I thought Billy Graham was dead? Like, long dead?

    November 7, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      If I wanted to be real mean I would say that he hasn't engaged his brain in decades so likely is brain dead but I don't want to be so I won't say it.

      November 7, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
  18. shehar39

    We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God.. thank goodness for Jesus and fearless men like Graham who will tell the truth

    November 7, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      sin is a disgusting concept invented by religion to control you. we are not all born evil sinners like your book says. that's terrible. people are better than that. have some faith in your brothers and sisters instead of an invisible sky fairy.

      November 8, 2013 at 12:03 am |
      • matthew

        Lol....if that were true humans would not feel guilt, shame or remorse. Without god or Sin, these concepts are no more rational than claiming you have a headache.

        November 8, 2013 at 12:46 am |
        • Bootyfunk

          you seem to be a bit behind on social evolution, lol. research has shown ethics are a boon for survival and acceptance within a group structure. look it up, be amazed.

          you do not need belief in a non-existent deity to be a good person. murder was considered wrong long before christianity reared it's ugly head. stealing too. what society could people run around randomly murdering and stealing? lol. you have a childlike understanding of social constructs and development.

          November 8, 2013 at 12:58 am |
        • matthew

          Actually your behind on social theory. You have no basis to call anything good or bad, these become relative concepts enforced only through power and manipulation and majority rules. If society decides killing all seniors is a boon then it is OK,because there are no absolutes, no ultimate right or wrong and no logical basis to differentiate.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:08 am |
        • Bootyfunk

          you said: "Lol....if that were true humans would not feel guilt, shame or remorse. Without god or Sin, these concepts are no more rational than claiming you have a headache."
          +++ you're kind of trampling your own argument. lol. yes, good and bad are relative. i never said they weren't. but then you said "these become relative concepts enforced only through power and manipulation and majority rules". only? only in your mind, perhaps. you seem to think people can't be good without the threat of god and sin and punishment in hell making them be good - i disagree and so does the scientific community. you seem like an intelligent person – but woefully uninformed on the subject you're mouthing off about. if you really want to gain some understanding of how ethics have developed in human culture, read the research below. or you can keep being willfully ignorant on the subject. altruistic behavior strenghtens bonds within a community, which then makes it more like you will survive in the future if you need help, as those that you once helped will likely help you when you need a hand. hard concept, eh?

          scientists find the beginnings of ethical behavior in primates:

          November 8, 2013 at 1:21 am |
        • Doris

          Absolutes, matthew? What is an absolute truth? What can you or anyone convey and demonstrate purely by objective means? What do any of us think we know via science or "spooky" physics that does not employ some level of subjectivity/consensus?

          November 8, 2013 at 1:33 am |
      • Jay

        Sin is invented by religion? How about use a bit of common sense. I don't need religion to tell me the obvious: all things being equal, people are narcissistic clods and rotten to each other. The question is not "sin", the question is, what can deliver us from it...

        November 8, 2013 at 12:52 am |
        • Bootyfunk

          you have a dreary and disgusting view of your fellow man - i do not. in fact, i think it's exactly opposite. people aren't generally terrible - they are generally good. if you need god to make you behave, you are in a sorry state. if you try hard, you will find that you can be a good person without belief in an invisible sky fairy. seriously. just try.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:00 am |
      • justinbalch

        You honestly think humanity is good? Even those who try to be good still act selfishly sometimes. Usually, we kinda chalk it up to being "human," and that's kinda the point. Everyone, despite the best intentions hurts other people sometimes, and some people don't even care to try. I suppose one can make themselves feel better about their own failings by comparing themself to others, or by pretending they aren't that bad, but eventually our own hearts condemn us..

        November 8, 2013 at 1:21 am |
        • Bootyfunk

          what a gloomy opinion you have.
          yes, i believe people are good.
          look at the boston marathon bombing. wouldn't be hard to duplicate. easy to make homemade bombs and explosives. yet you don't see stuff like that happening very often here. and when it did happen, hundreds if not thousands of people responded. people sent donations from across the world. people help people more than they hurt people. open your eyes and look around. 2 people set off explosives - but thousands helped. yes, i do think people are generally good.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:27 am |
  19. montyross

    Long Life, the best revenge. hahahahahahahahahahahaha!

    November 7, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
  20. Colin

    Dear Bill Graham:

    God here.

    I'm sorry yo uwasted your life in pursuit of an after life that does not exist, but, you see, heaven and I do not exist. Is not the concept of a 13,700,00,000 year old being (age of the Universe) capable of creating the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, monitoring simultaneously the actions and thoughts of the 7 billion human beings on this planet utterly ludicrous?

    Look, if I did exist, I would have left you a book a little more consistent, timeless and independently verifiable than the collection of Greco-Roman Middle Eastern mythology you call the Bible. Hell, I bet you cannot tell me one thing about any of its authors or how and why it was compiled with certain writings included and others excluded, nor how it has been edited over the centuries, yet you cite it for the most extraordinary of supernatural claims.

    Thirdly, when I sent my “son” (whatever that means, given that I am god and do not mate) to Earth, he would have visited the Chinese, Ja.panese, Europeans, Russians, sub-Saharan Africans, Australian Aboriginals, Mongolians, Polynesians, Micronesians, Indonesians and native Americans, not just a few Jews. He would also have exhibited a knowledge of something outside of the Greco-Roman Middle East.

    Fourthly, I would not spend my time hiding, refusing to give any tangible evidence of my existence, and then punish those who are smart enough to draw the natural conclusion that I do not exist by burning them forever. That would make no sense to me, given that I am the one who elected to withhold all evidence of my existence in the first place.

    Fifthly, in the same vein, I would not make about 5% of the human population gay, then punish them for being that way. In fact, I wouldn’t care about how humans have $ex at all, given that I created all of the millions of millions of species on the planet, all of whom are furiously reproducing all the time. Human $ex would be of no interest to me, given that I can create Universes. Has it ever occurred to you that your obsession with making rules around human $ex is an entirely human affair?

    Sixth, I would have smitten all you Christian activists, and all evangelicals and fundamentalists long before this. You people drive me nuts. You are so small minded and speak with such false authority. Many of you still believe in the talking snake nonsense from Genesis. I would kill all of you for that alone and burn you for an afternoon (burning forever is way too barbaric even for a sick, sadistic bast.ard like me to contemplate).

    Seventh, the whole idea of members of one species on one planet surviving their own physical deaths to “be with me” is utter, mind-numbing nonsense. Grow up. You will die. Get over it. I did. Hell, at least you had a life. I never even existed in the first place.

    Eighth, I do not read your minds, or “hear your prayers” as you euphemistically call it. There are 7 billion of you. Even if only 10% prayed once a day, that is 700,000,000 prayers. This works out at 8,000 prayers a second – every second of every day. Meanwhile I have to process the 100,000 of you who die every day between heaven and hell. Dwell on the sheer absurdity of that for a moment.

    Finally, the only reason you even consider believing in me is because of where you were born. Had you been born in India, you would likely believe in the Hindu gods, if born in Tibet, you would be a Buddhist. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own god(s) and they always seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices. What, do you think we all exist? If not, why only yours?

    Look, let’s be honest with ourselves. There is no god. Believing in me was fine when you cringed in fear during the Dark Ages and thought the World was young, flat and simple. Now we know how enormous, old and complex the Universe is.

    Move on – get over me. I did.


    November 7, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
    • hahahaha

      LOL Nicely done Sir!!!!!!!!!

      November 7, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
    • shehar39

      He is real.. and He sent His only son to die on the cross for your sins

      November 7, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        then he is a horrible and evil god. only a maniac would send their son to be killed for no reason. sin does not exist and neither does god.

        November 8, 2013 at 12:04 am |
    • dedamol

      Probably 1 or 2 valid points, but no more. It is inceasingly obvious to me that militant atheists are just as shallow in their arguments and mean-spirited in their criticisms as the religious folks they try to discredit!

      November 8, 2013 at 12:05 am |
      • Bootyfunk

        when the religious don't like or agree with a criticism about their particular religion, they often throw out ad hominem attacks instead of making a valid point, as you have done here. what part of what colin said was shallow? and why is it shallow? be specific this time.

        November 8, 2013 at 12:08 am |
        • counterww

          That is funny. I have not seen a valid point from you on this whole forum . You sound like a bitter person with nothing to do in your day.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:34 am |
        • Bootyfunk

          i guess you think you're making one?
          for you to say i haven't made a valid point is disingenuous. i've made several points about social evolution, religion and more. perhaps you have some reading comprehension issues.

          and i'm not bitter at all. come out to hawaii and i'll teach you to surf, brah. 🙂

          November 8, 2013 at 1:41 am |
    • matthew

      Lol...by your own flawed logic and silly argument we should not be here. Let's for a second assume evolution is true, there is simply not enough time in the universe for it to ever have occurred, let alone for a single copy cell to have emerged.

      November 8, 2013 at 12:49 am |
      • Bootyfunk

        "Let's for a second assume evolution is true, there is simply not enough time in the universe for it to ever have occurred, let alone for a single copy cell to have emerged."
        +++ why do you think there hasn't been enough time for "a single copy cell to have emerged"? how long is enough time, btw? what evidence do you have to back up your premise that there hasn't been enough time? how do you know that?

        you don't seem to know what the word "logic" means.

        November 8, 2013 at 12:55 am |
      • perryjb

        You are seriously going to make the assertion that evolution is some kind of hoax?! Look around you. To say there has not been enough time for it to occur is preposterous. The planet is BILLIONS of years old. Go take a loom at the grand canyon o n if you want proof. Human lifespans are NOTHING in comparison. I hope that you are not one of these new earth creationists who seriously believes the scrap they teach at schools like liberty university that asserts that the earth is around 4000 years old. If so please get your tuition back.

        November 8, 2013 at 1:18 am |
        • matthew

          Max Planck and Planck's constant. Viewing right hand branch chain amino acid evolution (proteins) there is greater than a 1 in 10×50 chance of occurence . ergo even if the universe is 16 billion years old (2x evolution est) there is not enough time for a single cell to have evolved into being (Time requiring a positive and successful mutation each second since time began) This is real science...you know one of those pesky facts that remains impossible to explain.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:25 am |
        • HotAirAce

          Matt, have you informed Richard Dawkins of this? I'm sure he would be very interested to know that you can invalidate his, and thousands of other scientists, life's work.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:28 am |
        • Bootyfunk

          Planck was a brilliant man, but also a religious kook that said: "Both Religion and science require a belief in God." very unscientific view. and sorry, planck's constant doesn't in any way prove there hasn't been enough time for evolution to happen. lol. how did you come up with that conclusion? you are putting bad numbers into a bad equation and then gloating about the answer.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:35 am |
      • HotAirAce

        Matt, where can we find a copy of your scholarly article successfully debunking evolution, as in which scientific journal was it published on?

        November 8, 2013 at 1:23 am |
        • matthew

          There is not one...just as none exist to prove evolution. That is why it is still referred to as a theory. Hell, one of the most prominent evolutionists, Richard Dawkins, realizing the holes advocates panspermia (aliens).

          November 8, 2013 at 1:27 am |
        • HotAirAce

          If you believe that Richard Dawkins actually, as in seriously, advocated aliens, then you are mentally ill or a liar, but then those traits do highly correlate with being a believer, my opinion of course.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:31 am |
        • matthew

          I don't need to inform Dawkins, and youve obviously never read him. He may be an evolutionary zealot, but he does acknowledge the logical and sciebtin gaps, deferring to panspermia, aliens and his unshakable belief that history will ultimately vindicate evolution.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:36 am |
        • counterww

          Yes, he did comment on aliens helping start life here on earth. The internet is a wonderful place.


          November 8, 2013 at 1:36 am |
        • Bootyfunk

          matthew doesn't realize evolution has been proven. that's why it's a "theory". theories are accepted as fact in the scientific community. perhaps you don't understand what "theory" means in the scientific community. it's a common mistake because of how it is used in general society. evolution has mountains of evidence that proves it true.

          look up the differences between hypotheses, theories and laws.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:38 am |
        • Bootyfunk

          counterww said: "Yes, he did comment on aliens helping start life here on earth. The internet is a wonderful place."
          +++ he said it was a distant possibility, not that he believed it true. try not to be so dishonest when you post. and it is a distant possibility, a lot more possible than an invisible sky fairy magicking up a universe, haha. i doubt aliens had anything to do with it, but is an unlikely possibility.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:44 am |
        • HotAirAce

          So there are thousands of scientists who agree that evolution is a fact, that have conductied hundreds of experiments and made hundreds of predictions and developed hundreds of medicines based on evolution, all fully docu.mented and verified using the scientific method, and you want us and them to chuck all that away because you don't believe in evolution yourself, but can't produce a single scholarly article to show why you are correct. You truly are delusional.

          Re: Dawkins and aliens, I suspect you are fixating on a snippet from an interview where Dawkins humored the interviewer by agreeing to a hypothetical question. The fact is that life on Earth *might* have been the result of a visit by aliens, but saying that doesn't mean the probability is100% or even much greater than zero. In fact, given the complete lack of actual evidence for any god, the probability of an alien visit might be about the same as that for any god existing.

          November 8, 2013 at 1:48 am |
        • matthew

          Hot air..you call me delusional. I simply point out even Dawkins is open to the possibility evolution can't account for everything, but your smarter than us all apparently. Your claim about evolution being the genesis of modern scientific discovery shows how delusional you are. Quantum theory and physics are actually responsible for most of the miracles of science and neither is empirically nor logically compatible with evolution. I don't care what you believe...but like most evolutionary aethists you really, truly don't know what you believe or why but as long as it isn't a god that's all the evidence your capable of considering

          November 8, 2013 at 1:59 am |
        • matthew

          And my last comment for bootfunk. Your a joke. I mention Dawkins and aliens, someone posts that I'm correct from a net source, and in 30 seconds youve googled it and posted back you interpretation and created facts. Go READ Dawkins before you make a fool out of yourself. He writes very elaboratly and specifically about his belief in panspermia in his own words. Believe what you will, but at least be willing to give up guise of pseudo intellectual and do the heavy lifting

          November 8, 2013 at 2:04 am |
        • HotAirAce

          Let's see. . .

          I never said evolution provides all the answers.

          I never said evolution was the genesis of anything.

          But now you've made another claim that you need to back up – that quantum theory and physics are not compatible with evolution – if you can.

          I don't claim to know everything or even much.

          I do claim that believers don't have actual evidence for their most basic believes and that I have never been proven wrong on that point. But do go ahead and be the first.

          November 8, 2013 at 2:09 am |
        • HotAirAce

          You just have to love a delusional believer on the run. Imagine calling someone else a pseudo-intellectual just after claiming a huge number of scientists are plain wrong but admitting that you don't have even just one scholarly article to support your claims. Simply amazing!

          November 8, 2013 at 2:13 am |
        • matthew

          Now your ur just wasting everyone's time and truly being foolish. This is where I make yet another claim "in about 9 hours the sun is going to rise in the eastern sky" and this is where you parrot once again to go prove it....lol

          November 8, 2013 at 2:17 am |
        • Bootyfunk

          and matthew just keeps being disingenuous... did YOU watch the interview?
          dawkins didn't say he BELIEVES aliens designed us. he said it was a possibility. and it is. just as we could possibly design a species in the future with yet undiscovered scientific techniques, or build off cloning. he didn't say he believes aliens designed us, just that it is a possibility. instead of reading from a website about the interview, just watch it yourself: there are theories that life arrived on earth on asteroids as well.


          notice dawkins says if aliens did create us, they themselves came about from an evolutionary process or were created themselves by other aliens. basically, he says if you go back to the start, the first "species" evolved and were not created.

          November 8, 2013 at 2:20 am |
        • HotAirAce

          Given that you don't have a clue where exactly I live and are therefore making an assumption, there is in fact a high probability that you are wrong about when the sun will rise, assuming that some unproven god doesn't prevent it, as alleged on occasion in The Babble.

          But I'm way more interested in your claim about QM, physics and evolution. Are you admitting you cannot back up that claim?

          November 8, 2013 at 2:23 am |
        • tallulah13

          I think I'll put my trust in people who have dedicated their lives to science and research rather than a kook like matthew who claims great knowledge but doesn't even understand the scientific meaning of "theory".

          November 8, 2013 at 2:29 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.