28 March 2009

Billy Graham: God never tempts us to do anything wrong (except maybe to kill our children once in a while)

It's fun to read Billy Graham's answers to believers' questions.

Here's one that I especially like.

DEAR REV. GRAHAM: How do you know if it's the devil who is tempting you to do something, or if God is just testing you to see if you'll do what's right? I try to make the right choices, but I'm not sure I always know what to do. --J.T.H.
And here's the "important" part of Reverend Graham's answer.
Dear J.T.H.: The most important thing for you to remember is that God never tempts us to do anything wrong.

Yet according to the Bible, God tempted Abraham to kill his son.

God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him ... Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering. Genesis 22:1-2

Which means, I guess, that Billy Graham thinks it isn't wrong for a father to kill his son and offer him as a burnt offering to God. (God would never tempt anyone to do anything wrong.)


Baconsbud said...

What I get from what his answer said was that if god tempts you it is good no matter what it might be. It is a good thing people can't prove god told them to do something. I know it would then be easy to do whatever you wanted to and not spend anytime in jail.

TWF said...

There's also that wonderful tale in 2 Samuel 24 where God "moved" King David to take a census, and then punished him for it.

Not that I think that taking a census is necessarily bad, but God sure does! ;-)

Brendan said...

The story of David is another one of those lost in translation stories. Here's how the story's supposed to go: One of God's kids, Satan (I'm a Jew, so Satan =/= ultimate evil), is supposed to go around checking to see if people are good or evil. He tempted David to take a census, which is actually simply a way to see if he was strong enough to go to war on imperialistic notions (without the wishes of God, if you're gonna go be an asshole and bring up the book of Joshua), and he did, and God allowed him to choose his punishment, and he chose badly.

busterggi said...

Nice interpreting Brendan.

Too bad the book doesn't actually say that though.

Face it, biblegod is a total dick.

Anonymous said...

Even Jesus taught that God tempts us:

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

Many things are evil and sinful . . . unless god does it. Then it is holy and justified. What a great dad.

Steve Wells said...

Good point, beattitude!

Why should we ask God not to tempt us (as Jesus did in the Lord's Prayer) if God never tempts us?

Louise said...

Well I suppose that one could argue that offering up Isaac as a burnt offering isn't necessarily a bad thing. For Abraham it might seem bad because he'll lose his much loved son &C. But as for Isaac he'll go to heaven... there'll be a song and a dance and then daddy will come along later and they'll all be happy again.

So technically the murder of Isacc wouldn't be a wrong action.

---- My knowledge of the bible is somewhat shoddy, although I did study the OT last year, but I am pretty certain that heaven was around then, or some kind of after life. Correct me if I'm wrong. ----

C Woods said...

I love your blog. Besides being informative, it makes me laugh. Religion would always be hysterically funny if people didn't take it so seriously and be willing to kill for it. Once I get my taxes out of the way, I am going to write up something on my blog about your blog.

As evidenced by several Jaywalking episodes on The Tonight Show, most people who profess to be Christians know nothing about what they profess to believe. The other night he asked when Jesus was born. One person said 30,000 years ago. Another said 1 million BC, and added that he lived before the dinosaurs.

Don't forget that April 10-12 will be the 2009 "Blog Against Theocracy" event. Get more info:

edsaurette said...

You only look at the material thing. Now look at the spiritual : Abraham is the image of God and Isaac, of the Son, Jesus. God is trying to reveal how much pain He had in sending his son to open our eyes to His sacrificial love. Isaac was the image, representing the future Jesus, and Abraham didn't have to go through the ordeal saved in the nick of time, but this was a fore image.

Steve Wells said...

So it's OK for a father to kill his son if it helps God show how painful it was (or will be 1800 year later) for him to kill his own son or whatever.

But I see your point. God killed his son, so we should all kill ours too -- if he asks us to, that is, for whatever reason or for no reason at all.

Greater love than this hath no man, that he would kill his own son to make some kind of theological point about how great and glorious a thing is was for God to kill his own son so he won't have to torture us all forever after we die.

Like you said, you just have to look at the spiritual side of things.