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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. Honey Badger Don't Care

    Eddie

    "You convince me 'love' exists and I'll explain to you 'a higher being' (or in this case God) exists."

    Love is an electro-chemical respone that can be measured in the brain. It is very well doc umented. Why dont you do some reasearch.

    Now, lets see your "evidence" for your god.

    November 8, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • bostontola

      Not only can it be measured and explained at a electrochemical level, it can be explained at an evolutionary level.

      November 8, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • james

      Which "love" do you refer to? there is Eros, Philia, or Agape to start and the most common to us, The true love intended by the God of the Bible is described at ! Corinthians chapter 13. read it and see if you can give or have ever received or even experienced this kind of Loyal Love most frequently rendered from the Hebrew word Chesedh, referring to love motivated by commitment, integrity, loyalty, and deep attachment. This is often used in connection with God's love for humans and should also be between humans. Read it and try it, good for all.

      November 8, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
      • Honey Badger Don't Care

        Yes, the altruism that you describe is a survival trait that is common to most primates, including humans.

        November 8, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
        • G to the T

          Most especially between chosen mates and/or members of the same kin-group. Interesting that the early paulian church referred to each other as "brother" and "sister" thereby extending the kinship bond to strangers. Not necessarily a bad thing, but a lot of baggage does come with it. Oh, and it only applied to other christians.

          November 8, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
  2. I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

    Ho, Ho, Ho... Well, if it isn't stinking Billygoat Billyboy in poison. How are thou, thou globby bottle of cheap stinking chip oil? Come and get one in the yarbles, if you have any yarbles, you eunuch jelly thou!

    November 8, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Yarbles is what I say to him, and I'd chain his glazzies out soon as look.

      November 8, 2013 at 11:12 am |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        Great bolshy yarblockos to him.

        November 8, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • bostontola

      He's feeling close to Bog.

      November 8, 2013 at 11:17 am |
  3. bostontola

    I wish some psychologists, leadership counselors, sociologists, etc., would analyze the character in the bible called God. To me, this God character is a poor example of a leader. It tells you that you must not covet thy neighbors stuff, but then it is crazy jealous of other Gods. It is the " do as I say, not as I do" God. This character tells you to love but creates you with so many flaws that it has to kill all but 2 of each species of its creation. The list of this kind of conflicts goes on and on.

    I would love to see a full work up of this God character. I think the result would be that this character is one messed up mind. No way this God character is real, if that kind of unstable mind came with omnipotence, the universe would have been destroyed a long time ago.

    November 8, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • Colin

      I have a view on this (of course I would -:). The Bible traces about 500 years of evolving Jewish views of their god. Christians today have to deal with an additional 2,000 years of his evolution. In a sense, it is easy to trace the macro evolution of the Judeo-Christian God. He began as one of many gods and (perhaps) as a volcano god, developed as the principal, then sole Jewish god, split into two gods when Christianity broke off from Judaism and split again when Islam broke off from Judeo-Christianity in the Seventh Century.

      He is also fading away. He went from a man like figure walking in the Garden of Eden and wrestling with Jacob, to a non-physical being who regularly interacted with humans by sending angels to slay young Egyptians or appearing as a burning bush, to a being that interacted only through the occasional miracle. From there, he has faded further to a concept that many hold today, that of a totally non-interacting being who still has human personality traits, to the nauseating refrain “God is all love,” to, ultimately, God being nothing more than a metaphor for the totality of existence or the Universe itself.

      It seems to be a useful yardstick for the level of a person’s or a society’s sophistication – the further away and smaller their god is, the more advanced or sophisticated they tend to be.

      November 8, 2013 at 11:06 am |
      • bostontola

        Interesting hypotheses. Bottom line for me is; How can anyone study the bibles and conclude the God character is real? I think part of the answer is, people are taught isolated segments of the dogma that are consistent with current interpretations in their Sunday school when they are children. Scientists know children are open to anything (e.g. Santa). Most people don't dig deeper later in life.

        November 8, 2013 at 11:24 am |
      • JDD

        Colin,

        It's well established that the Christian Monasteries preserved much of our civilization's knowledge through the Dark Ages.

        There are also, for example, many astronauts and scientists who work within our space program who are Christians. In fact, they often cite their religious faith and awe of the created order – understanding it to be both created and ordered – as the reason they wanted to study the cosmos even more.

        How does this square with your theory on intelligence and sophistication?

        November 12, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • sybaris

      You may be interested in God: A Biography by Jack Miles

      November 8, 2013 at 11:48 am |
      • bostontola

        Thanks! It does look interesting.

        November 8, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
  4. richunix

    Colin,

    The Bible is a very human creation, as I came to see Christianity of very human religion. Men tried with the best of intention to improve and help mankind. Sadly, some of those same men twisted the original meaning in order to maintain power. Today 1/3 of the world’s great religion delegate women to second-class citizen and then made to believe power was given to men by a make-believe god. One day we will wake up and realize that we are great without a deity and yes we can make a difference working together, not in the name of some-hateful-god (because you don’t believe). However your statement has a touch of being a Marcionites in it, be careful least Irenaeus or Tertullian come after you.

    November 8, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • Colin

      Can you point me to a good, accurate source on authorship of the Old Testament? I am pretty up on the NT, but weak on the OT.

      November 8, 2013 at 11:02 am |
      • richunix

        The Marcionites reference was referring to Marcion (c. 85 –c 160) an early 2st century church leader who felt that the God of the Jews was a mean god (though just) and was not the same as the God of the Christian. He travel to Rome and went to great lengths (writing a new version of the Gospel) remaining the Old Testament from his version. The only reason we know are in the treaties written its distractor Irenaeus of Gaul and Tertullian of Carthage.

        For textual comparison… Wow I use a lot: here is a good place to start http://www.bible-researcher.com/index.html

        November 8, 2013 at 11:11 am |
        • richunix

          opps sorry corrected grammer
          The Marcionites reference was referring to Marcion (c. 85 –c 160) an early 2st century church leader who felt that the God of the Jews was a mean god (though just) and was not the same as the God of the Christian. He travel to Rome and went to great lengths (writing a new version of the Gospel) removing the Old Testament from his version. The only reason we know about him are in the treaties written its distractor Irenaeus of Gaul and Tertullian of Carthage.

          For textual comparison… Wow I use a lot: here is a good place to start http://www.bible-researcher.com/index.html

          November 8, 2013 at 11:14 am |
        • Colin

          Thanks, I'll check it out.

          November 8, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • richunix

      Colin,

      From the same site: http://www.bible-researcher.com/papy46big.html remember P46 is one of the earliest known version of the Bible...careful...it will open your eyes of what you see today what was really written and believe so long ago.

      November 8, 2013 at 11:21 am |
  5. Colin

    What is God's most fundamental message from the Bible? It preety much boils down to “Worship Me or I Will Torture You Forever. Have a Nice Life.”

    November 8, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • Pablo

      If you are not worshipping God, then you are worshipping something else-satan.

      November 8, 2013 at 10:34 am |
      • Reality # 2

        AND THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC/SATANIC CONS CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD

        Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)

        "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

        Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

        Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

        Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As do BO and his family)(As do Biden and Ryan)(As do the members of the SCOTUS)

        The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

        Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

        November 8, 2013 at 10:37 am |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        "If you are not worshipping God, then you are worshipping something else-satan." LOL I like how Christians manage to be stupid and hilarious at the same time...

        November 8, 2013 at 10:41 am |
      • sybaris

        Uh well if you don't believe your god exists then you don't believe Satan exists either.

        Kinda hard to worship what you don't believe in.

        November 8, 2013 at 10:42 am |
      • Colin

        Or, you might just think the whole thing is a load of nonsense.

        November 8, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • JDD

      Or it might be John 8:11 and Mathew 11:29.

      November 8, 2013 at 11:27 am |
      • Reality # 2

        As per many contemporary NT scholars, John's gospel is historically nil.

        To wit;

        From Professor Bruce Chilton in his book, Rabbi Jesus,

        "Conventionally, scholarship has accorded priority to the first three gospels in historical work on Jesus, putting progressively less credence in works of late date. John's Gospel for example is routinely dismissed as a source......

        From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John#Authorship

        "Since "the higher criticism" of the 19th century, some historians have largely rejected the gospel of John as a reliable source of information about the historical Jesus.[3][4] "[M]ost commentators regard the work as anonymous,"[5] and date it to 90-100."

        "The authorship has been disputed since at least the second century, with mainstream Christianity believing that the author is John the Apostle, son of Zebedee. Modern experts usually consider the author to be an unknown non-eyewitness, though many apologetic Christian scholars still hold to the conservative Johannine view that ascribes authorship to John the Apostle."

        And from Professor Gerd Ludemann, in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 416,

        "Anyone looking for the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John. "

        See also http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/john.html

        For a review of the historically nil, Matt 11:29, see http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb052.html

        November 8, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  6. Charlton

    That looks like a picture of Moses in "The Ten Commandments".

    November 8, 2013 at 10:30 am |
  7. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    I'm shocked the old con-man is still kicking... there's still a few more lives to ruin and money to collect...

    November 8, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      The Flying Spaghetti Monster is not done with him yet. There are more childeren to scare with pictures of him.

      November 8, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • Julio

      Amen to that. Someone who see's him for what he really is. Limos, private jets, vacation homes, extravegant lifestyle......all in the name of God. Sorry, just not a fan of yours Billy boy.

      November 8, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
  8. Honey Badger Don't Care

    Kay

    "The rants and hatefulness against this great man and all Christians comes from the clueless. You truly don't have the slightest idea what you're talking about."

    I'll debate you any day on the bible, science, or anything else. The average atheist knows much mroe about the bible than the average xtian.

    November 8, 2013 at 10:10 am |
  9. Madtown

    "... I have seen how far people have wandered from God,"
    -----
    But, he's speaking as if there's only 1 pathway, the one he endorses. I'm not an expert on his history, but I wonder what his take is on other religions.

    November 8, 2013 at 10:05 am |
  10. sybaris

    "You don't get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion" – L. Ron Hubbard

    or in Grahams, Roberts, Hinn, Baker, Robertson, White, Swaggert, Angely, Kennedy, Tilton, Copeland, Humbard, Van Impe, Meyer etc., etc. case be a proponent of it.

    November 8, 2013 at 10:03 am |
  11. Tiffany

    Sybaris, how cynical you seem to be. I'll put a fine point on my comment. He met with many presidents regardless of their political affiliation. He never campaigned for them, nor did he comment on their policies. He merely met with them, at their invitation, to offer spiritual support. The assumption that he was throwing his support behind them was left to people, like you, to decide, rightly or wrongly, on his agenda.

    November 8, 2013 at 9:46 am |
    • sybaris

      Yes, I am cynical of the greatest ponzi scheme known to man

      November 8, 2013 at 9:53 am |
  12. JJ

    Did Billy put Mormonism back on the cult list now that Romney is no longer useful? If so, I never got the memo.

    November 8, 2013 at 9:44 am |
  13. Colin

    No matter what you might think of the man, there are some pretty fundamental objections to his message that are pretty hard to overcome.

    1. At its most fundamental level, his belief is that an all-knowing, all-powerful, immortal being created the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies 13,700,000,000 years ago (the age of the Universe) sat back and waited 10,000,000,000 years for the Earth to form, then waited another 3,700,000,000 years for h.o.mo sapiens to gradually evolve, then, at some point gave them eternal life and sent its son to Earth to talk about sheep and goats in the Middle East.

    While here, this divine visitor exhibits no knowledge of ANYTHING outside of the Iron Age Middle East, including the other continents, 99% of the human race, and the aforementioned galaxies.

    Either that, or it all started 6,000 years ago with one man, one woman and a talking snake. Either way “oh come on” just doesn’t quite capture it.

    2. This ‘all loving’ god spends his time running the Universe and spying on the approximately 7 billion human beings on planet Earth 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He even reads their minds (or “hears their prayers”, if you see any difference) using some kind of magic telepathic powers. He also keeps his telepathic eye on them when they are not praying, so as to know if they think bad thoughts (such as lusting after their hot neighbor) so he knows whether to reward or punish them after they die.

    3. Having withheld any evidence of his existence, this god will then punish those who doubt him with an eternity burning in hell. I don’t have to kill, I don’t have to steal, I don’t even have to litter. All I have to do is honestly not believe in the Christian god and he will inflict a grotesque penalty on me a billion times worse than the death penalty – and he loves me.

    4. The above beliefs are based on nothing more than a collection of Bronze and Iron Age Middle Eastern mythology, much of it discredited, that was cobbled together into a book called the “Bible” by people we know virtually nothing about, before the Dark Ages.

    5. The stories of Christianity are not even original. They are borrowed directly from earlier mythology from the Middle East. Genesis and Exodus, for example, are clearly based on earlier Babylonian myths such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Jesus story itself is straight from the stories about Apollonius of Tyana, Horus and Dionysus (including virgin birth, the three wise men, the star in the East, birth at the Winter solstice, a baptism by another prophet, turning water into wine, crucifixion and rising from the dead).

    6. The Bible is also literally infested with contradictions, outdated morality, and open support for the most barbarous acts of cruelty. All of this is due to when and where it was written, the morality of the times and the motives of its authors and compilers. While this may be exculpatory from a literary point of view, it also screams out the fact that it is a pure product of man, bereft of any divine inspiration.

    7. A rejection of the supernatural elements of Christianity does not require a rejection of its morality. Most atheists and secular humanists share a large amount of the morality taught today by mainstream Christianity. To the extent we reject Christian morality, it is where it is outdated or mean spirited – such as in the way it seeks to curtail freedoms or oppose the rights of $exual minorities. In most other respects, our basic moral outlook is indistinguishable from that of the liberal Christian – we just don’t need the mother of all carrots and sticks hanging over our head in order to act in a manner that we consider moral.

    Falsely linking morality to a belief in the supernatural is a time-tested “three card trick” religion uses to stop its adherents from asking the hard questions. So is telling them it is “wrong to doubt.” This is probably why there is not one passage in the Bible in support of intelligence and healthy skepticism, but literally hundreds in support of blind acceptance and blatant gullibility.

    8. We have no idea of who wrote the four Gospels, how credible or trustworthy they were, what ulterior motives they had (other than to promote their religion) or what they based their views on. We know that the traditional story of it being Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is almost certainly wrong. For example, the Gospel of Matthew includes a scene in which Jesus meets Matthew, recounted entirely in the third person!! Nevertheless, we are called upon to accept the most extraordinary claims by these unknown people, who wrote between 35 to 65 years after Christ died and do not even claim to have been witnesses. It is like taking the word of an unknown Branch Davidian about what happened to David Koresh at Waco – who wrote 35 years after the fact and wasn’t there.

    9. When backed into a corner, Christianity admits it requires a “leap of faith” to believe it. However, once one accepts that pure faith is a legitimate reason to believe in something (which it most certainly is not, any more than “faith” that Bigfoot exists is) one has to accept all other gods based on exactly the same reasoning. One cannot be a Christian based on the “leap of faith” – and then turn around and say those who believe in, for example, the Hindu gods, based on the same leap, got it wrong. In a dark room without features, any groping guess by a blind man at the direction of the door is as valid as the other 360 degrees.

    Geography and birthplace dictates what god(s) one believes in. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own gods and they all seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams, and prejudices. Do you think they all exist? If not, why only yours?

    Faith is not belief in a god. It is a mere hope for a god, a wish for a god, no more substantial than the hope for a good future and no more universal than the language you speak or the baseball team you support.

    November 8, 2013 at 9:44 am |
  14. Tiffany

    How sad it is to see these attacks on a man that's only purpose was to "offer" the opportunity for people to accept God. He did so without shaming those that did not want to accept his offer. He was a simple message carrier and regardless of you beliefs or non-beliefs he should be afforded the respect of one of the greatest examples of humility and love for his fellow man to ever grace this earth.

    November 8, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • sybaris

      Like all evangelists he is a huckster, preying on the weak, albiet passively, to separate them from their earnings

      November 8, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • Julio

      Spoken like a true follower. He can spread all the good word in the world, but if you profit a life time of wealth from those who follow....what are really teaching? Mother Theresa yes, she walked the walk. Billy Graham, what a joke.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
  15. richunix

    @ Reality,

    I was going over the archeological evidence in the Canaanite towns of Jezeel and Megiddo. The current agrological dig has found pottery showing YAHWEH and his wife Ashwer. These along with BAAL and El (form the Canaanite Pantheon). For those who do not know, the above deities are NAMED in the Bible and in the earliest known Jewish text (i.e. The Septuagint or LXX).

    November 8, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • lol??

      Sorry! The word "Ashwer" doesn't occur in the KJV.

      November 8, 2013 at 9:45 am |
      • biblfat

        LOL. Some dubbed movies are really hilarious.

        November 8, 2013 at 9:48 am |
      • richunix

        Sorry my mis-spell "Asherah" often refereed as the Tree of life, thanks for the correction

        November 8, 2013 at 10:34 am |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          The tree of life's name is 'Yggdrasil"... all other names are irrelevant

          November 8, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • richunix

      Lucifer,

      Could you site your source please, most of my readings and study have only Yahweh and "Asherah". Thanks

      November 8, 2013 at 10:55 am |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        Because Odin and the Poetic Edda says it is so...

        November 8, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
  16. Tiffany

    I grew up listening to Billy Graham and saw his counsel given to many President's throughout the years. Never, never did I ever see, hear, or read that he gave any politician or political party a recommendation or support. Sadly his son has not followed his father's example. To this day I watch Billy Graham's crusades and his message is still as relevant today as it was throughout the years. He did not so much preach as simply to present the word of God without his own "spin" on the message. This world will be a much sadder place once this great man goes to meet his God.

    November 8, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • sybaris

      clergy meeting with politicians is tacit support

      drama much?

      November 8, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • Julio

      If I recall correctly, your comment matches ones written about Jim Jones. That turned out well.

      November 8, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
  17. Atul C

    Bible clearly states that they will hate you for my name sake.

    Really it doesn't matter what you all think, most important thing is what God thinks about me.

    May his grace be upon you to know the truth and have peace.

    November 8, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • sybaris

      Quoting Bible verses is like watching an 8 year old stab at you with an invisible sword, cute and ineefective.

      November 8, 2013 at 9:34 am |
      • lol??

        The A&A's sure like to argue against their own straw men verses.

        November 8, 2013 at 9:42 am |
        • biblfat

          If that's actually supposed to mean something, you might give an example. Speaking of straw requirements – exactly how many stables did Solomon have – the Bible seems conflicted with itself.

          November 8, 2013 at 9:45 am |
      • biblfat

        True.

        November 8, 2013 at 9:42 am |
  18. A Dose of Reality

    No matter how you dress it up, there are some fundamental difficulties with Christianity that are pretty hard to overcome.
    1. At its most fundamental level, Christianity requires a belief that an all-knowing, all-powerful, immortal being created the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies 13,720,000,000 years ago (the age of the Universe) sat back and waited 10,000,000,000 years for the Earth to form, then waited another 3,720,000,000 years for human beings to gradually evolve, then, at some point gave them eternal life and sent its son to Earth to talk about sheep and goats in the Middle East. While here, this divine visitor exhibits no knowledge of ANYTHING outside of the Iron Age Middle East, including the other continents, 99% of the human race, and the aforementioned galaxies. Either that, or it all started 6,000 years ago with one man, one woman and a talking snake. Either way “oh come on” just doesn’t quite capture it.
    2. This ‘all loving’ god spends his time running the Universe and spying on the approximately 7 billion human beings on planet Earth 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He even reads their minds (or “hears their prayers”, if you see any difference) using some kind of magic telepathic powers. He also keeps his telepathic eye on them when they are not praying, so as to know if they think bad thoughts (such as coveting their neighbor) so he knows whether to reward or punish them after they die.
    3. Having withheld any evidence of his existence, this god will then punish those who doubt him with an eternity burning in hell. I don’t have to kill, I don’t have to steal, I don’t even have to litter. All I have to do is harbor an honest, reasonable and rational disbelieve in the Christian god and he will inflict a grotesque penalty on me a billion times worse than the death penalty – and he loves me.
    4. The above beliefs are based on nothing more than a collection of Bronze and Iron Age Middle Eastern mythology, much of it discredited, that was cobbled together into a book called the “Bible” by people we know virtually nothing about, before the Dark Ages.
    5. The stories of Christianity are not even original. They are borrowed directly from earlier mythology from the Middle East. Genesis and Exodus, for example, are clearly based on earlier Babylonian myths such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Jesus story itself is straight from the stories about Apollonius of Tyana, Ho.rus and Dionysus (including virgin birth, the three wise men, the star in the East, birth at the Winter solstice, a baptism by another prophet, turning water into wine, crucifixion and rising from the dead).
    6. The Bible is also literally infested with contradictions, outdated morality, and open support for the most barbarous acts of cruelty – including, genocide, murder, slavery, r.ape and the complete subjugation of women. All of this is due to when and where it was written, the morality of the times and the motives of its authors and compilers. While this may be exculpatory from a literary point of view, it also screams out the fact that it is a pure product of man, bereft of any divine inspiration.
    7. A rejection of the supernatural elements of Christianity does not require a rejection of its morality. Most atheists and secular humanists share a large amount of the morality taught today by mainstream Christianity. To the extent we reject Christian morality, it is where it is outdated or mean spirited – such as in the way it seeks to curtail freedoms or oppose the rights of $exual minorities. In most other respects, our basic moral outlook is indistinguishable from that of the liberal Christian – we just don’t need the mother of all carrots and sticks hanging over our head in order to act in a manner that we consider moral. Falsely linking morality to a belief in the supernatural is a time-tested “three card trick” religion uses to stop its adherents from asking the hard questions. So is telling them it is “wrong to doubt.” This is probably why there is not one passage in the Bible in support of intelligence and healthy skepticism, but literally hundreds in support of blind acceptance and blatant gullibility.
    8. We have no idea of who wrote the four Gospels, how credible or trustworthy they were, what ulterior motives they had (other than to promote their religion) or what they based their views on. We know that the traditional story of it being Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is almost certainly wrong. For example, the Gospel of Matthew includes a scene in which Jesus meets Matthew, recounted entirely in the third person!! Nevertheless, we are called upon to accept the most extraordinary claims by these unknown people, who wrote between 35 to 65 years after Christ died and do not even claim to have been witnesses. It is like taking the word of an unknown Branch Davidian about what happened to David Koresh at Waco – who wrote 35 years after the fact and wasn’t there.
    9. When backed into a corner, Christianity admits it requires a “leap of faith” to believe it. However, once one accepts that pure faith is a legitimate reason to believe in something (which it most certainly is not, any more than “faith” that pixies exist is) one has to accept all other gods based on exactly the same reasoning. One cannot be a Christian based on the “leap of faith” – and then turn around and say those who believe in, for example, the Hindu gods, based on the same leap, got it wrong. In a dark room without features, any guess by a blind man at the direction of the door is as valid as the other 359 degrees. Geography and birthplace dictates what god(s) one believes in. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own gods and they all seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams, and prejudices. Do you think they all exist? If not, why only yours? Faith is not belief in a god. It is a mere hope for a god, a wish for a god, no more substantial than the hope for a good future and no more universal than the language you speak or the baseball team you support.

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

      Good morning and glad to see you back!

      November 8, 2013 at 9:26 am |
    • Boomer

      What you seem to lack with all of your "points" you make, is the humility to admit that just maybe, we as humans, do not know it all. You presume that we are infinitely intelligent, and that our logic is superior. It is quite a dangerous thing to believe "you" know better than God. There is more than plenty of evidence of a higher being's existence. You would label these instances as coincidence, or something we simply cannot scientifically explain yet. There are many things in this world that I cannot explain and have to use my faith in God to know that maybe I'm not meant to understand it. You, however, arrogantly pass it all off as "well, there is evil in the world, so God can't exist". Very, very simplistic view.

      November 8, 2013 at 9:36 am |
      • sybaris

        argument from ignorance.

        brush up on fallacious assertions and your argument may improve

        November 8, 2013 at 9:43 am |
      • Well Duh

        @Boomer
        "What you seem to lack with all of your "points" you make, is the humility to admit that just maybe, we as humans, do not know it all. You presume that we are infinitely intelligent, and that our logic is superior."

        I would agree to that, however, I haven't seen anyone state that.

        "There is more than plenty of evidence of a higher being's existence."

        Please provide convincing evidence.

        November 8, 2013 at 9:50 am |
        • Eddie

          You convince me 'love' exists and I'll explain to you 'a higher being' (or in this case God) exists.

          November 8, 2013 at 10:09 am |
        • Well Duh

          @Eddie
          "You convince me 'love' exists and I'll explain to you 'a higher being' (or in this case God) exists."

          Why do you need need to use some analogy to love to explain your god, I thought there was more than plenty of evidence for God?

          And what is it about love, do you think it exists as some enti-ty on it's own? It's a label we've place on an emotion, and an emotion that is subjective in it's description.

          And why use love as the go to emotion? Why not ask, do you believe in terrified, giddy, or lonely?

          November 8, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • Sanity

      Mr. Reality:

      You have gone to great length in convincing yourself there is no God and no reason for us to need a Savior.
      If you are so convinced of your stand on this, why bother to repeat your fallacies. If you insist on whistling in the dark, why do it so loudly? Philippians 2:10-11 – "that at the name of Jesus EVERY knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and EVERY tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

      November 8, 2013 at 9:41 am |
      • sybaris

        What is with the Bible verses?

        It's like Christians think every verse is a piece of kryptonite to an Atheist

        lol

        November 8, 2013 at 9:47 am |
      • Lol

        AMEN, well said!!

        November 8, 2013 at 9:51 am |
      • Well Duh

        "If you are so convinced of your stand on this, why bother to repeat your fallacies. If you insist on whistling in the dark, why do it so loudly?"

        Maybe it has to do with Christianity's non-stop trying to inject their religion into our secular government with their non-stop loud whistling.

        November 8, 2013 at 9:54 am |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        "that at the name of Jesus EVERY knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and EVERY tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Ridiculous self-serving christian propaganda. What bullshit.

        November 8, 2013 at 10:00 am |
      • richunix

        Ok Sanity,

        Let’s see how your verse compares to the earliest known version:

        You say:

        Philippians 2:10-11 – "that at the name of Jesus EVERY knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and EVERY tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

        This is what the Codex Sinaiticus says (circa 405 BCE) which is our earliest best known version

        και παϲα γλωϲϲα εξομολογηϲητε οτι κϲ ιϲ χϲ ειϲ δο ξαν θυ πρϲ (Konic Greek)
        and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

        Interesting in the differences and how much it has been embellished over the centuries

        November 8, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • richunix

      Broomer,

      There is no EVIDENCE what-so-ever period! That any deity has ever existed, other than what man has created, your argument falls into argumentum ad ignorantium – "appeal to ignorance;". Simple test: Take a rock (any rock) and ask your deity to move it (without any outside help), publish your findings and maybe you would have a case. To date NO ONE (BAR-NONE) have every walk on (luke warm)water, turned anyone to stone or even raised the dead. DO NOT be an apologist or be willing accept the explanation “your mind is too small to understand the greatness of God,” “God is outside the Universe” or “God moves in mysterious ways” when you come upon logical inconsistencies in your belief. A retreat to mysticism is the first refuge of the cornered wrong.
      Stephen F Roberts: “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

      November 8, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • snackbarfilms

      On the other hand, you believe that dirt, with no outside direction or intelligence, organized itself into intelligent beings. How many man hours have been spent coding computers? Trillions? And yet, all that intelligence applied in one direction has not produced anything like a human body, which arose, by your belief, with no intelligence at all. What a strange, unscientific doctrine you hold. You believe in spontaneous generation, where I believe in an intelligent creator. Who is the fool, really? And to compare Bible Christianity with Hinduism is intellectually dishonest. The Bible addresses man's greatest problem, which is sin. Look around today if you don't believe that is the case. In addition, the Bible contains prophecy after prophecy which have been fulfilled. No other book of religious writings can make that claim. God told the Jews that if they refused to obey him, he would scatter them to the four corners of the earth, which he did, and that they would remain a distinct people, which they are, and that he would call them back to their land in the last day, which he has done. God also told us that in the last days, no one would be able to buy or sell without being a part of a worldwide system of individual marks. That was farfetched a 100 years ago, to someone like you, but we see we are right on the cusp of that today? How could John have known that? No sir, the Bible is true and you are eternally wrong.

      November 8, 2013 at 10:06 am |
      • sybaris

        You really in all honesty need to take some college level courses in biology, anthropology and chemistry. If you already have then the curriculmn or insti.tution is suspect.

        While you're at it you might join a debate team or Toastmasters. The first thing you will shed is using circular logic to back your arguments.

        November 8, 2013 at 10:18 am |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        Stupid people are sad... creationists are mentally retarded... I feel bad for you...

        November 8, 2013 at 10:19 am |
      • Colin

        "On the other hand, you believe that dirt, with no outside direction or intelligence, organized itself into intelligent beings."

        The ONLY book I know that makes the ridiculous claim that man arose from dirt is the Bible.

        November 8, 2013 at 10:26 am |
        • snackbarfilms

          Then what do you believe man came from?

          November 8, 2013 at 10:33 am |
        • sybaris

          I can't watch this.

          It's almost sad.

          November 8, 2013 at 10:46 am |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Creationists have abandoned science and reason for magic and fantasy... arguing with a Creationist is like arguing with my dog about licking himself while company is over... pointless

          November 8, 2013 at 10:55 am |
        • Colin

          Sybaris, sorry for the delay, I just saw this. The most plausible explanation is a lengthy process (hundreds of millions of years) of abiogenesis in which molecules of increasing complexity are gradually assembled.

          November 8, 2013 at 11:12 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.