Billy Graham Answers the Question, Why am I an Optimist?

go team jesus

This is a question and answer I see often on Christian blogs, Twitter, and Facebook:

“Why am I an optimist? Because I have read the last book of the bible, and we win.” —Billy Graham

Simply put, Billy Graham and a number of Christians think, in the end, their team wins! Yea, Team Jesus, way to go. We’re #1. Rarely do they consider HOW their team wins. You see, I read the last book of the Bible too ,and here is what it has to say about the methods used by God and Team Jesus to win the eternal game of life:

  • Kill 1/4 of the inhabitants of earth by the sword, hunger, and mauling by animals (Rev. 6:8)
  • Sun turns black and the stars fall from the sky (Rev. 6:12.13)
  • Earthquakes happen and every mountain and island is moved out of their place (Rev. 6:12,14)
  • Fire mingled with blood burns up 1/3 of the trees, and burns up all the green grass (Rev. 8:7)
  • A great burning mountain is cast unto the sea and 1/3  of the sea turns to blood (Rev. 8:8)
  • 1/3 of the creatures in the sea are killed and 1/3 of the ships are destroyed (Rev. 8:9)
  • A star falls from heaven and makes 1/3 of the water undrinkable (Rev. 8:10,11)
  • 1/3 of stars, moon, and sun are smitten and darkened (Rev. 8:12)
  • Locusts with scorpion stingers are loosed on those who do not  have the seal of God on their foreheads…these locusts will torment humans for five months (Rev. 9:1-12)
  • 1/3 of humans are killed by fire, smoke, and brimstone (Revelation 9:14-21)
  • The two witnesses cause droughts, turn the waters to blood, and afflict humans with plagues (Rev. 11)
  • The wrath of God falls on the earth and blood flows horse bridle deep in the streets of Babylon (Rev. 14)
  • Angel pours out his vial and afflicts humans with grievous sores (Rev. 16:2)
  • Angel pours out his vial and kills all living things in the sea (Rev. 16:3)
  • Angel  pours out his vial and turns all the waters to blood (Rev. 16:4)
  • Angel pours out his vial on the sun and scorches humans with fire (Rev. 16:8,9)
  • Angel pours out his vial on the seat of the beast and humans gnaw the tongue because of pain (Rev. 16:10-11)
  • Angel pours out his vial and dries up the River Euphrates (Rev. 16:12)
  • Angel pours out his vial into the air and there are thunders, lightnings, earthquakes, every island and mountain disappears, and 50 pound balls of hail fall on the earth (Rev. 16:17-21)
  • Jesus comes back to earth, slaughters everyone, and the birds eat the flesh of the dead (Rev. 19)

Cue music, everyone sing, Our God is an Awesome God.

Millions of Christians believe that the book of Revelation is literally true. They believe all of the above will happen sometime in the near future. Never mind the glaring scientific and statistical problems Revelation presents, millions of Christians think God is going to open up one big can of whoop-ass and Team Jesus is going to finally win over Team Satan. As Evangelist Dave Young is fond of saying, Some day you will be glad you are a Christian! The end of time, as believed by many Christians, is that some day.

Just remember this the next time an Evangelical sidles up to you and wants to be your friend. If you don’t join Team Jesus, they will be on the sidelines of heaven some day cheering as God does his imitation of a torturing serial killer.

 

 

Comments (31)

  1. ismellarat

    I think the best way of disabusing someone of believing what you outline is to force them to be consistent with it. Give them a doll and a knife, for example, and ask them, if they were to find themselves being given an order by God to kill a captive child, how exactly they would do it. In front of their congregation, if possible.

    Or, if reluctant, they should take the opportunity to repent of their rebellion.

    And then show how they would kill it. Keep repeating, until they agree that they don’t really believe. :)

    You guys are always trying to make your points the hard way, with facts and logic, to people who often don’t even know what the concepts mean. Not that most other people seem to, either.

    Of course this will (conveniently for me) only work with the evil facets of religion. After you get into its “good” territory, it’ll be their turn to ask atheists (in front of their friends) why they don’t more openly support these people for, say, their hopes of an eternal existence. “You want your family to stay dead? How come? Were you only pretending to love them?” :)

    Sure, I’m running on wishes and fumes here, but I think that’s all we’ll ever have, this side of life. It seems pretty unlikely, that there exists someone who’s figured it out but hasn’t put it on the web by now.

    Reply
    1. Guest

      Deleting comment – never mind.

      Reply
    2. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      I generally agree with your approach. Many Evangelicals now support same sex marriage because they now know someone who is gay. When we KNOW someone it is much harder to make hardline, offensive statements about them. As long as Evangelicals are part of the Evangelical monoculture and they don’t come into contact with real flesh and blood people, it is easy for them to say and believe some pretty awful things.

      Reply
      1. gimpi

        Perhaps that’s why many Evangelical groups work so hard to discourage any association with the “unsaved.” If you know people outside of the bubble, you might not be cheering for their eternal torture.

        Reply
  2. Byroniac

    Best sentence in this entire post in my opinion: “Never mind the glaring scientific and statistical problems Revelation presents, millions of Christians think God is going to open up one big can of whoop-ass and Team Jesus is going to finally win over Team Satan.” LOL! Love it.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      As I mentioned to another commenter, I have not read Revelation since I deconverted. As I read, I found myself thinking, there is no way this is true. First God is going to run out of people to kill long before we get to the end of Revelation. I also asked myself, what is this obsessions with 1/3? Funny, and sad, how it all made sense years ago. I had a plethora of end times books, complete with Clarence Larkin’s book of charts.

      Reply
      1. John Arthur

        Hi Bruce,

        Heavens! My late Father-in-law had a friend who had Larkins’ Dispensational Truth. His friend used to bring it to bible studies along with his Scofield Bible (smiley face).

        Glad to be out of that kind of atmosphere.

        Shalom,

        John Arthur

        Reply
  3. juliet1128

    The constant obsession with death certainly does not appear optimistic to me. I’ll never understand doomsday preps and their wish for an apocalypse. Thanks for putting that list up, because I never really read Revelations. I grew up Roman Catholic, so Bible study was minimal. :)

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Thanks for commenting, Juliet!

      Reply
  4. mikespeir

    Someday: that magical time out beyond the extent of the lives of anyone on the planet, so what’s claimed will happen “someday” can never be disproven.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Yep!

      Reply
    2. ismellarat

      Not someday. Soon! Real soon!

      Which seems to be used in the same sense as the signs displayed in some bars – “free beer tomorrow.”

      Reply
  5. Doug B

    I blush now to recall a time in my life when I expressed confidence that there would never be a nuclear war that destroyed humankind – because the Bible didn’t foretell it!

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Ah yes. There are still countless American Christians that are certain that the Bible is the blueprint for the future.

      Not sure of your age, Doug, but your comment got me thinking about the nuclear scare in the 1960′s and my teacher having us prepare for a nuclear attack by hiding under our desk. (yeah like that is going to help) I envisioned you standing and and refusing to get under the desk. No need, since the Bible does not mention nuclear war! :)

      Reply
  6. Texas Born & Bred

    This is precisely why, even as a semi-believing christian, Revelation was written by some guy doing high-dollar drugs. It is crap and should not be in the bible.

    My 2 cents.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      This is actually the first time I have gone back through Revelation since I deconverted. I thought, WOW, and then I thought, there is no way you can take this literally. It makes no sense. Funny how it made perfect sense years ago. :)

      Reply
  7. Michael

    I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this – and, when I was a Christian, used this pithy pissy excuse. It’s Bumper Sticker Theology at best, and disingenuous at worst. Or visa versa. Speaking of Bumper Sticker Theology, I’d love to see a post on that!

    Reply
    1. mikespeir

      Interesting how you never see any of the so-called “sophisticated theology” on bumper stickers. Could it be because real-world Christians don’t subscribe to it?

      Reply
      1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

        Yeah, you never see a bumper sticker that says, “To understand the various theories of the atonement, please honk so driver can stop and explain them to you.” Much easier to say, This Bloods for You. :)

        Reply
    2. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Added to the list. That said, the rapture is going to happen before I get to everything on my list. :)

      Reply
  8. lightfighter6

    Not too difficult to understand for me. Everyone likes to talk about how there is no limit to God’s love, yet fail to acknowledge that his wrath also has no limit. Since I have a choice of his love or wrath- I think I will gladly stick with his love.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      The problem with this view is that it fails to take into account God’s use of wrath in immoral ways. It also fails to take into account why a God of love so viciously and completely destroys the very people he created. Some would argue that God has an anger management problem, and when he gets riles up he tends to kill people, including the innocent.

      You say that everyone has a choice, and that choice is to accept or reject Jesus Christ, right? Yet millions of people have died without ever hearing about Jesus or having the opportunity to make a choice. According to the Bible, these people will be tortured by God in the Lake of Fire for eternity. Can it be said that God loves these people when he gave them no choice and then punishes them for not making a choice they never knew they had to make?

      Reply
      1. lightfighter6

        Bruce, God is a just God and yes he is the Judge. There are not to many places left on this earth where people have not heard about Jesus Christ. But for the sake of the argument it seems that Romans 1 addresses this scenario very well. Here is an argument by William Lane Craig that is plausible (http://youtu.be/pM59LxTVj14).

        As for the reliability of Scripture, which seems to be what you are referring to as being unreliable or unjust, it boils down to the fact that Jesus Christ did not refute any portion of the Scriptures. And since he defeated death via the resurrection (if he did not my faith is in vain) I will trust that the very Word he quoted from is accurate as he claims it to be.

        The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
        (Psa 12:6-7)

        Reply
        1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

          So, a person can gain entrance into heaven by looking at creation and acknowledging there is a God? Why send missionaries to these people then? Leave them alone. Most every cultures religions believe God exists. Are you saying all roads lead to the Christian God?

          God killing millions of people in Genesis 6-8 was immoral and unjust. Countless innocent children and unborn were drowned in the flood. In what way is God’s action just and moral? The Bible says God only punishes a person for their own sin, yet the Bible is replete with stories of God punishing other people for a person’s sin.How is this just?

          Please read the comment rules. http://brucegerencser.net/comment-rules/ Preaching, Bible quoting is not permitted. I give Evangelicals one chance to say what they want to say. After that, I expect them to interact with what I wrote. If they don’t, I don’t let them comment further. Quoting a Bible verse to prove I am wrong is no argument at all. While you are certainly free to believe, by faith, whatever you want, when you make claims like Jesus resurrected from the dead, I am going to expect proof for this claim. Again, quoting the Bible is not proof. This is always a problem for Christians who want to engage in discussions about evidence yet want to use their faith as evidence. Faith is subjective;what I am looking for is objective arguments.

          Thanks for commenting.

          Bruce

          Reply
          1. lightfighter6

            Thanks for the discussion Bruce which I have annotated on the LF6 Comment Trail which you are welcome to follow. It will be hard for me to comment further without Scripture. Take care…LF6 out

        2. ismellarat

          William Lane Craig is letting people in the video believe that these unreached people have a real chance (“you’re worried about their salvation, is that right?”), when he actually believes that most of those that the person was asking about are pre-condemned because God already knew they wouldn’t convert:

          http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billcraig/docs/middle2.html

          “…on the basis of Scripture we must say that such “anonymous Christians” are relatively rare. Those who are judged and condemned on the basis of their failure to respond to the light of general revelation cannot legitimately complain of unfairness for their not also receiving the light of special revelation, since such persons would not have responded to special revelation had they received it.”

          This strategy of tricking people into heaven has always bothered me, although I can’t repeat enough that I hope there’s something beyond this life.

          He may have changed his mind on this somewhat. He says here

          “…by helping to spread the gospel throughout the world, we can bring it about that people will be saved who would not have been saved, had we remained silent.”

          http://www.reasonablefaith.org/middle-knowledge-and-christian-exclusivism

          (I haven’t read all of the preceding link, but it seems to conflict with “they have no reason to complain about not having heard.”)

          Reply
          1. lightfighter6

            No doubt God’s foreknowledge is in the equation…

        3. gimpi

          Lightfighter6, there used to be plenty of places on earth where no one had heard of Jesus. China – 1520. Peru – 1208. Japan – 840. Hawaii – 1627, Colorado – 1243. Brazil – 427. Siam – 620. Vietnam – 1042. All those Mesoamericans, Chinese, Polynesians, Japanese, Native Americans, Asians, all condemned for being born in the wrong place and wrong time? That’s justice. Really?

          Reply
          1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            Especially since we now know that a person’s religious beliefs are primarily determined by geography and parents. This is so easy to understand, well for everyone except those who think an invisible, supernatural ghost goes around whispering to people, telling them that Christianity is the one true religion. :)

          2. ismellarat

            You can only go so many levels deep in the replies. I’m replying to lightfighter6.

            “No doubt God’s foreknowledge is in the equation…”

            Well yes, but this doesn’t address the point I was making. Craig (and you, by quoting him, I think) was apparently reassuring people that, not to worry, all those in other cultural situations who seem like decent folks will be under standards of judgment which fit their situations.

            But in light of what Craig said in the first article I linked to, it’s like telling people not to concern themselves with images of children with bloated bellies because they’ll be taken care of somehow, when he really believes they’re indeed as screwed as they look.

          3. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            Five levels deep. Any more than that and it makes things hard to read. (At least for me)

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