Billy Graham and other Christian Preachers use certain resonating phrases in their preaching. One of these words is “salvation”. Christians believe Jesus died to atone for the sins the Christian have committed or will commit. This action by Jesus “saves” these Christians from spending an eternity of torment in hell.
In the August 5, 2015, Sioux Falls Argus Leader, a reader asks Billy Graham a question about salvation. “I’ve heard preachers say that God gives us salvation as a free gift. But if that’s true, then why doesn’t God go ahead and give it to everyone?”
Billy starts with a confusing quote from Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. Paul says, “… the wages of sin is death,” but “… the gift of God is eternal life…” Paul may have been thinking that Jesus was returning soon. Jesus might return before Paul might die, and Paul would go into heaven alive. We know now that Paul, and everyone else alive at the time of Paul, has suffered death. Modern preachers know this and speak of where people go after death, that is, to heaven or to hell. These preachers do not speak of “death” as the punishment. Instead, they speak of the torments the dead will suffer in hell unless they are “saved”.
Billy then starts to quibble over the concept of a ‘free’ gift. He says that salvation is free and we cannot buy it or earn it. So much for good works, Christian charity, or tithing.
But, yet, salvation is not a gift given freely to everyone. Jesus preached around 30 CE and Christian missionaries arrived in the New World about 1500 CE. During those 15 centuries, North and South America was the home to roughly two billion people. Those people never had a chance to learn about Jesus. Those people could not accept the gift of salvation and so those people will spend eternity suffering in hell.
Christians claim God is all-powerful and can do anything. Apparently, God chose not to do anything for those billions of people. Did God have no love for those people?
We could consider who might be in heaven and who might go to hell. Adolph Hitler was responsible for ordering the holocaust that killed six million or more people. Hitler claimed to be a Christian. Jeffery Dalmer personally raped, killed, and dismembered 17 men and boys. Dalmer converted to Christianity while in prison. Both Hitler and Dalmer could be enjoying heaven.
Albert Einstein and Alfred Nobel both professed a lack of faith. They both will be suffering in hell, along with the billions who never were given the opportunity to choose Jesus.
Billy Graham continues to dwell on the nature of God’s gift of salvation. He says that the gift is free in that it does not cost humans anything. He says the gift was valuable because God had to pay for it by sacrificing his son, Jesus. Again, if God can do anything, why did God have to kill Jesus? If God has fingers, all he had to do was snap them.
The universe is hundreds of billions of galaxies each containing hundreds of billions of stars. God created it from nothing. But to save a tiny fraction of humanity he killed Jesus. Then he had some humans tell other humans what had happened to Jesus rather than telepathically telling everyone.
If I chose to give someone a gift, I cannot put pre-conditions on how they use that gift. If I set pre-conditions, the ‘gift’ is not a gift. It is payment to ensure future behavior. If God says that I must believe in Jesus and what he did to be saved, he is not giving me a gift, he is purchasing my faith.
God’s ‘gift’ was not to all humanity nor was it because he loved humanity. God was buying the faith of some of humanity. Christians have been bought and paid for. Sunday services and prayers are the acts of purchased slaves.
You can read all of Billy Graham’s answer here.
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