DEAR DR. GRAHAM: Have you ever met anyone who absolutely did not believe in God? I’ve met some people who claimed to be atheists, but after talking with them I decided they only said they were atheists because they thought it made them sound smart. — M.G.
DEAR M.G.: Yes, over the years I’ve met some people who not only claimed to be atheists, but also sincerely believed that God did not exist.
But notice that I said they “believed” God didn’t exist — because if they were honest, they had to admit to me that they couldn’t prove it. The best they could do was say that they had never found Him. But what if they’d been looking in the wrong place, or in the wrong way? In other words, atheism is based not on facts, but on faith — a faith that God doesn’t exist.
Like you, I’ve found that some people who claimed they didn’t believe in God weren’t really sincere; they just thought it made them sound smarter than people who believe in God. But more often, I’ve found, they didn’t believe in God simply because they didn’t want to — because they wanted to be free to run their own lives.
The Bible warns, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1). Why does the Bible say an atheist is a fool? One reason is because someday every one of us will die and meet God, and they will be left without hope. But the Bible also says atheists are foolish because God has done everything possible to reveal Himself to us. He did this most of all by becoming a man: Jesus Christ. Do you want to know not only that God exists, but also that He loves you? Look at Christ.
DEAR DR. GRAHAM: I wish my wife would quit getting after me just because I like a few drinks after work. She says I’m an alcoholic and need to get into a treatment program, but I can stop any time I want to. Why does she keep harping on this? She’s going to break up our marriage if she isn’t careful. — J. McN.
DEAR J. McN.: Did it ever occur to you that your wife sees something about you that you don’t see — namely, that alcohol has you in its grip, and you can’t free yourself from it on your own? Yes, you say you can stop any time you want, but if that’s true, why don’t you?
I also hope you’ll ask yourself why she keeps getting after you, even if it irritates you. She does this because she loves you, and she knows that your life — including your marriage — is gradually being destroyed by alcohol. She loves you so much that she’s even willing to endure your anger. Instead of being upset, you should be grateful for her love and concern. The Bible says, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted” (Proverbs 27:6).
Face honestly what alcohol has become to you: something you think is a friend, but in reality is an enemy. Then face your fears, swallow your pride and admit you need help for your problem. If you refuse, you may lose everything that’s worthwhile — even life itself. The Bible’s warning about alcohol is true: “In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper” (Proverbs 23:32).
Most of all, I urge you to turn to God for the help you need. Christ can do what alcohol will never do, by filling the empty places in your life and giving you a new reason for living. Turn to Him today.
DEAR DR. GRAHAM: I’m taking a class on world religions at our local community college, and one of the topics we’ve been discussing is how religion got started. Where do you think it came from? — Mrs. J.B.P.
DEAR MRS. J.B.P.: According to the Bible, from the very beginning people knew that God existed and worshipped Him. Adam and Eve knew God and had close fellowship with Him — until they sinned, and then “they hid from the Lord God” (Genesis 3:8).
Over time, people lost sight of God and their understanding of God became corrupted. Instead of worshipping the one sovereign God of the universe, people came to believe in many gods and goddesses. They also made idols that represented these deities, and came to worship them — although they had made them with their own hands. But down inside they still sensed there must be “something” greater than themselves, and no tribe or other group has ever been found that didn’t have some type of religious belief. Where, then, does religion come from? It comes from within — from a deep yearning within every one of us to know God. But where did that yearning come from? The answer is simple, and yet it’s also very profound: God put it there. My prayer is that you will seek God — and that you will find Him by turning to the only one who can satisfy our deepest hunger for God: Jesus Christ.
Send your queries to “My Answer,” c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-877-2-GRAHAM, or go to www.billygraham.org.