by Bob Johnson
In the November 13, 1995 issue of Christianity Today, page 31, we read, “Questions about the authority of Scripture had been troubling the young preacher (Billy Graham) for weeks. Knowing that the matter must be settled in his mind if he ever hoped to preach with authority and power, he wrestled with his doubts until he was able to pray; ‘Oh God, I cannot prove certain things. I cannot answer some of the questions my friends are asking. [Yet, here and now I am ready to accept the Bible] by faith as the Word of God.'”
Perhaps some of Graham’s doubts regarding the Bible were: the talking donkey at Numbers 22:28; God threatening people by saying, “Beholld, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces” at Malachi 2:3; God commanding the Hebrews/Jews to kill people by stoning for working on the Sabbath as is found at Numbers 15:32-36; that God would order someone to “eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight” as Ezekiel 4:12 claims; that Jesus would condemn the Jews for NOT killing their disobedient children as Matthew 15:4-6 claims. Billy Graham must also have had very serious doubts about salvation through Jesus since the Bible is not even clear about this center piece of Christianity. None of the above material from the Bible can ever be accepted by God-given reason. Plus there are hundreds, if not thousands, of additional Biblical claims that are contrary to our God-given reason which Graham would not be able to align with his gift from God of reason.
The article goes on to say, “That simple prayer transformed Graham’s ministry – and convinced him, once for all, of the Bible’s absolute authority. Since that special moment at Forest Home, no conviction has marked his ministry more deeply. Across the years, the Bible has remained the foundation for his preaching and the ultimate standard by which he judges both his relationships and the conduct of his evangelical work.” The Bible remained Graham’s “foundation for his preaching and the ultimate standard” because he turned his back on God’s gift to him, and to all of us, of reason in order to accept the unreasonable ungodly nonsense in the Bible.
Mr. Graham, by his simple prayer and admission, has given Deists and all people who value their God-given reason much more than books written by men and merely masquerading as “revealed” religion, an unbeatable weapon. He admits there is no logical reason that is satisfying to our God-given common sense and reason to believe the Bible is the inspired word of God! And he is the most highly praised influential Protestant Christian leader in the world! Revealed religionists are therefore forced to replace their God-given reason with faith (which is a human invention designed to dull the mind), as Mr. Graham has done, in order to believe the Bible was written with the authority of God. We can add his prayer to our collection of arrows designed to penetrate through to the core of superstition.
Many people think there is something miraculous to Graham’s rise to prominence in the Christian evangelical world. In reality there is nothing God related to it. Instead of God, it is based on advertising. And not just any advertising, but advertising promoted by one of the most powerful men of the 20th century – Bernard Baruch.
Bernard Baruch (pictured at right with Winston Churchill) was a very powerful and wealthy Jewish financier. He saw some of Graham’s sermons in a South Carolina newspaper and was impressed. What may have impressed him was Graham breaking away from the standard Christian doctrine of the time that the Jews where “Christ-killers,” and children of Satan. For example, John 8:44 has Jesus telling the Jews, “Ye are of your father the devil, . . .” John 5:16-18 says the Jews persecuted Jesus and sought to kill him. And at John 7:13 we read, “Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.” Graham stayed away from these Bible teachings and that must have been very pleasing to the Jewish financier, Baruch.
It seems this “new evangelism” of Graham’s pleased Bernard Baruch so much so that Graham writes on page 162 of his autobiography Just As I Am, “In late winter of 1950, we held our first major southern Crusade in Columbia, South Carolina. Governor Strom Thurmond invited Ruth and me to come and stay in the governor’s mansion as his guests.
“One day while there, we received a call from a Mr. Howland, the head of the Atlanta office of Time and Life, saying that the founding editor and publisher, Henry Luce, wanted to come down and spend two or three days with us. Mr. Luce, it seemed, had received a letter from his friend, senior statesman and financier Bernard Baruch, who was vacationing at Hobcaw Barony, his plantation near Charleston. The morning newspaper in Columbia, the State, was carrying my sermons each day, and Mr. Baruch had been reading them. He had told Mr. Luce that this was something he thought America needed and that he should send some of his people to get acquainted with me. Henry Luce decided to come himself.” From that point on Graham received almost exclusively positive press (free advertising) from the mainstream media.
The powers that be, like Bernard Baruch, want “revealed” religion so they can better control people. The father of the neoconservative movement, Leo Strauss, made this very clear. For an in-depth look at Strauss’ ideas and teachings on basing society on the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament read the book Jewish Philosophy and the Crisis of Modernity (Suny Series, Jewish Writings of Strauss).Strauss wanted the world based on the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament. (The neocons are the primary reason for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and for the control Israel has over U.S. politicians.)
One Bible lesson the neocons and politicians find very appealing is found at Romans 13:1-7 which reads, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.”
Deism cannot be used by unscrupulous politicians and their string-pullers. This is because Deism demands that Deists always question everyone and every thing. God-given reason is central to Deism, not unbridled emotion.
There are no “holy” books in Deism. As Thomas Paine wrote in The Age of Reason, “Deism, then, teaches us, without the possibility of being deceived, all that is necessary or proper to be known. The creation is the Bible of the Deist. He there reads, in the handwriting of the Creator himself, the certainty of his existence and the immutability of his power, and all other Bibles and Testaments are to him forgeries.”
Thomas Paine also wrote in The Age of Reason regarding the Bible of Deists, the Creation, “It is only in the CREATION that all our ideas and conceptions of a word of God can unite. The Creation speaketh an universal language, independently of human speech or human language, multiplied and various as they may be. It is an ever-existing original, which every man can read. It cannot be forged; it cannot be counterfeited; it cannot be lost; it cannot be altered; it cannot be suppressed. It does not depend upon the will of man whether it shall be published or not; it publishes itself from one end of the earth to the other. It preaches to all nations and to all worlds; and this word of God reveals to man all that is necessary for man to know of God.”
Just as the former leading Atheist, Antony Flew, gave up Atheism for Deism, I hope Billy Graham will give up Christianity for Deism.
Bob Johnson is a freelance writer in the Tampa area of Florida. He was raised Roman Catholic, but after a stint in Marine Corps infantry and reading Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason he became a Deist.
In 1993 he founded the World Union of Deists, and in 1996 he launched the first website devoted to Deism. He is the author of God Gave Us Reason, Not Religion, Deism: A Revolution in Religion, A Revolution in You and An Answer to C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. He has also written the introduction to Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason, The Complete Edition and Principles of Nature by Elihu Palmer.