“The leader of this team of doctors was a dignified, solicitous gentleman who held up one finger directly in front of Yossarian and demanded, ‘How many fingers do you see?’ “
“Two,” said Yossarian.
“How many fingers do you see now?” asked the doctor, holding up two.
“Two” said Yossarian.
“And how many now?” asked the doctor, holding up none.
“Two”” said Yossarian.
“The doctor’s face wreathed with a smile. ‘By Jove he’s right,’ he declared jubilantly. ‘He does see everything twice.’ “
–Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
Billy Graham has finally gone to meet his Maker. He may be surprised at Whom he meets.
Billy apparently thought he was going to meet his Makers (plural). In his article “Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?” he wrote:
“Christians and Muslims do not worship the same God. Christians worship the triune God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and no other god. We know the Father through the Son, and it is solely through Christ’s atonement for sin that salvation has come. Salvation comes to those who confess with their lips that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in their hearts that God has raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9).”
So Billy thought he was going to meet Three-Gods-In-One. Though we know God doesn’t literally have fingers, we can (figuratively) imagine God holding up one finger and saying “How many fingers do you see?” Billy says “three!”
Then God asks Billy about the good and bad he has done. Billy sees his whole life flashing before his eyes.
Billy says “Why does that matter? My lips confessed the magic formula, and my heart believed Jesus was raised from the dead! Surely my moral or immoral actions are completely irrelevant!”
At this point, God might very well be wondering how a creature imbued with reason (and heart-centered intuition) could possibly believe such things.
Of course, unlike Billy Graham, I don’t pretend to be absolutely certain about what God thinks. Nor do I understand what Billy Graham could possibly mean by asserting that the one Creator of the whole cosmos could possibly “have a son.”
I have listened to Christians talk about the Trinity, and about the “son of God” thing, all my life. And I must be really, really stupid, because I don’t have the faintest idea what they could possibly be talking about. The funny thing is, most of them don’t either. Many even admit it! But rather than being consistent and professing Unitarianism, they stick with a religion whose central dogma makes no sense to them…or to anyone else, as far as I can tell.
So Billy Graham thinks Unitarians don’t worship the same God that other Christians do, because they worship one God, not the holy Three-In-One. Wouldn’t it make more sense to say that Christians (including Unitarians) as well as Muslims, Jews, and others worship the same God but have different ways of understanding the divine Creator?
Muslims believe the Qur’an gives (more or less) 99 “most beautiful names” of God. But they aren’t crazy enough to think Christians, Jews, and others who don’t approach God through those 99 names are worshipping an entirely different God! It is only (some) (intolerant) (exclusivist) (ultra-dogmatic) Christians who are so full of themselves and their own (wacky) belief system as to puff themselves up and announce “it’s my way or the highway! Accept my Three-In-One God or suffer eternal damnation!” (OK, there are some Muslims who act like that too—they are called wahhabis—but they would be a vanishingly insignificant sect if the British and then the Americans hadn’t spent three centuries showering them with ever-greater supplies of money and weapons.)
In fairness, it’s obvious that the conundrums at the heart of Christianity do not necessarily produce arrogance, fanaticism, illogic, or spiritual blindness. There are plenty of Christians, now and in the past, who have achieved humility and saintliness while professing an absurd credo (while even sometimes admitting credo quia absurdum, “I believe it because it is absurd.”)
But I do think these central confusions of Christianity have led to the gradual demise of that once-great religion. In a post-Enlightenment era of universal literacy and widespread education, stuff that just doesn’t make sense becomes less and less appealing. Perhaps more importantly, the image of God as father and son anthromorphized the divine—it led Christians to see God as a (male) human being. This produced the current dispensation of Humanism (worship of the human being) which is the dominant religion of today’s Western elites.
So that’s my concise summary of how I think Billy Graham got it wrong.
But I’m sure when he meets his Maker, God will explain it to him far better than I ever could.
Dr. Kevin Barrett, a Ph.D. Arabist-Islamologist is one of America’s best-known critics of the War on Terror.
He is the host of TRUTH JIHAD RADIO; a hard-driving weekly radio show funded by listener subscriptions at Substack and the weekly news roundup FALSE FLAG WEEKLY NEWS (FFWN).
He also has appeared many times on Fox, CNN, PBS, and other broadcast outlets, and has inspired feature stories and op-eds in the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the Chicago Tribune, and other leading publications.
Dr. Barrett has taught at colleges and universities in San Francisco, Paris, and Wisconsin; where he ran for Congress in 2008. He currently works as a nonprofit organizer, author, and talk radio host.
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Greetings Khalid… You’re right in saying that the word ‘trinity’ doesn’t appear in Scripture. However if you were to read John’s gospel in particular and take the words at face value, you would find the doctrine is definitely inferred if not explicitly stated in many places. Also when God created human kind, did He not say, let us create him in Our image. (Genesis 1:26)
Also, when people tried to exalt Christ as a human being he would have none of it, or when they called him good, he rebuked them and said there is only One who is good (Mark 10:8). The fact that Jesus rose from the dead put the seal on his ministry to sinners and is also a compelling proof of his divinity.
Hi Kevin. I’ve been following you guys for about 4 years now, and really appreciate the service and function you provide. I just wanted to put in my slightly divergent remarks here. My understanding, is that ‘religion’ is to convey to society, a concept of Natural Law, to help human beings organize themselves to ensure physiological and social health. Yes, it is a man-made spiritual tool, but based on very real, physical (i.e. provable) principles. It does seem likely that over the millenia, powerful ruling elites have sought to suppress, edit, rewrite or co-opt ‘religion,’ to their own ends. I do believe that many of the stories, metaphors and allegories were passed on orally for a very long time, and had become very familiar, posing a challenge to the ruling elite seeking to distort the ideas/ message/ principles and their political economic implications. So, in Nature, we see three levels of matter: Inorganic, organic, and creative-cogitive-consciousness. And so, recognizing this ordering, as the poet Shelley said, we have prophecy, as a function of spirituality-creativity-poetry. The Hebrew elites defined Man as being in the image of God (the Creator, absolute creative-loving-living consciousness)…the consciousness of this principle, was made most manifest, and expressed most clearly, by the ministry and intervention of the Jew Jesus.
Billy Graham was a charlatan and a fraud. He had no more insight into spiritual matters than a silly monkey with a need for material wealth and a back door into breeding preference due to his unattractive traits.
He ushered in a short period where frauds got rich by pretending and it is amazing people fell for it and changed entire thought patterns according to his charade. There are many like him. But he had one thing that favored his act, timing. That timing is over. It was a short window. During his time, Mormons and Scientologists flourished. As did many others .
Mo, In the last one hundred years, all of these flourished. Hubbard and all of the crazy preachers came out of the fifties. They peaked in the latter part of the century and now things have gone to mega churches, while the Catholics have embedded themselves in academia and law, while simultaneously abandoning the huge brick churches now being sold. Mormons absolutely flourished at the same time, …. missions all over the globe, in pairs. Provo and Salt lake too… Graham peaked with it ,… as did the whole batch of other frauds.
The people, mostly men, who find spiritual bliss through a patriarchal religion, do so in spite of the religion they are taught, and most likely would have found the same connectedness without it. This is why many times it is these same men who begin to say things the religion would consider heretical. I had an interesting conversation today about chapter 4 Exodus with a Benedictine, in which we re-examined why Zipporah was the one who circumcised the boy instead of Moses and I concluded that the God spoken of in that chapter was female. The Earth is female, and it is also carnivorous in many ways. In cats , the females are the ones who catch dinner. And chapter 4 Exodus correlates with day 4 which is woman, symbolized by Jaguar. How better to show it ? The 40 chapters of exodus are the 20 days twice round, and the day the Mother Of All Bombs was dropped was Day 4.
If we view the Creator as the infinite source, and gods as head of departments, it does not negate monotheism, nor does it promote polytheism. A lord, or god, is not the creator of all things. Even deism arrives at singularity. When we examine attributes attributed to “god” as being periodical and cyclical, and trackable, then we learn which ones are female and male. Patriarchy would have us believe woman has no part in it other than an unwilling sperm recipient. This view falls by the wayside as the broader picture emerges and we must accept that gender is not at all associated with creation but different departments are. Which tree is female and which is male ? Dinah was only mentioned in one chapter, and Zipporah also. Yet where the Virgin must be we only find Eliezer of Damascus as head of household. Not so in other systems.
I suspect Islam also departed from this basic knowledge as the number of idols was 36, which certainly indicates a correlation with many other systems. The need to go patriarchal was protective, and is no longer needed , thus knowledge and wisdom can return. And we see this happening. But further than that, Patriarchy is needed during times of conquest and expansion of territory. And we now see that also. All people had the same knowledge. I agree with others, that modern monotheism is a short sighted version of polytheism that is simply focused on a singular department. And that polytheism never existed, but was portrayed that way to pave the way for nearsightedness.
“”Every Tribe, and house, had their own idol, and the Sacred House Kaaba was overcrowded with them. On the Prophet Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam’s conquest of Makkah, 360 Idols were found inside Al-Ka’aba. He [Sallallaahu Alaihi Wasallam] broked them down and purified the Holy House of Allah “‘
Khalid, that just happens to match the 360 day calendars that everyone had. They were all quite aware that the year had 365.25 days, but that was not what the calendars were tracking. The decans are tens days, and make 36. Every other culture has them to this day, it is not escapable. It is part of our reality. You shouldn’t talk about things you do not know. The 13th day is Aqabal in ancient Quiche Maya. Coincidence ? It is sometimes symbolized by the cube >>???? Sorry.
If I see 360, it is a good bet it is a 360 day calendar not a lunar calendar. 36 x 10 is 360, what a coincidence ?
The decans are the foundation of the Old Testament and the Maya, Egyptians and Chinese had them.
I am not cracking anything, just correlating existing sets of decans all which have to do with a 360 day calendar. They are everywhere. Like pyramids or standing stones, or wells. I am not writing them. They already exist. The I-Ching is the oldest, many thousands of years older than the Quran or Bible.
Did someone crack god’s code when they discovered the basic elements ?
Kevin, you can make fun of Billy Graham meeting his maker, the One true God who has revealed Himself to the world as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. One day we will know who was/is right.
Have you truly asked God to reveal to you who Jesus is? Until then please show the respect you would like to be shown for your particular belief system. By the way, how do you deal with the universal problem of human sin apart from the divine intervention of the Saviour who died in our place on the Cross of calvary. How do you explain what Jesus said about himself and the amazing deeds of healing and the foreknowledge he displayed. He said, for example that, ‘before Abraham was, I am.'(John 8:48)
I think you need take this up with Billy Graham’s Saviour, not with his imperfect follower.
laser surgery has cured the blind, lots of people have been loaded into the morgue alive, and Angel walked on water. And a whole bunch of people are turning water into wine as we speak.
The real puzzle is, how can someone write with such grammatical accuracy and not know the spelling they are spelling ? Billy Grahams savior was his PR team and bookkeepers.
Jesus as far as the bible has it, did not say anything about himself. That would have blown their cover.
Malcolm, the teaching is to believe in yourself. Is there a problem with that ?
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