Bill O'Reilly Doesn't Quite Get It
Last night Bill O'Reilly interviewed atheist Richard Dawkins, author of the current bestseller The God Delusion. Here is the video of the interview. It wasn't a particularly illuminating debate, given that it only lasted four minutes and O'Reilly did most of the talking. As most people know, besides a good talker and a man of strong opinions, O'Reilly is Catholic. That’s material only because he mentioned it last night during the interview. After noting that a universe like ours cannot be accounted for by chance but only by a Divine Designer (my term), O'Reilly added that it takes more faith to be an atheist than a believer. I happen to believe that. Dawkins of course disagrees. Dawkins pointed out that there is no more evidence for God than for Apollo and Zeus, a fact that would carry more weight if there were two billion Zeus-worshipers or disciples of Apollo. O'Reilly also pointed out that besides being horrific killers, Hitler, Stalin and Mao were all atheists. That of course is the sort of argument that will sway some people but not others.
O'Reilly did make one serious error when Dawkins challenged him to explain how he knew his faith is true. "It's true for me," O’Reilly replied. What is that supposed to mean? Truth is that which corresponds to reality. Truth is not whatever a person happens to believe. After all, I can sincerely believe that rat poison won’t hurt me, but if I eat enough of it, I'll be sincerely dead. There is no answer to the person who says, "That's true for me." Is Jesus really the Son of God? "He is for me." Did Jesus rise from the dead? "That's true for me." Dawkins smiled when O'Reilly said that Christianity is true for him because he knew that Bill had given away the whole ballgame.
In matters of eternal importance--and nothing could be more important than the existence or non-existence of God--we can't make decisions on the basis of personal preference. Either there is a God in heaven who created us in his own image, who loves us and gave his Son for us, and before whom we will all someday stand . . . or there isn't. The fact that O'Reilly believes in God and Dawkins doesn’t is immaterial to the ultimate question.
Truth is not just a matter of personal opinion. It is propositional (written in the Bible), creational (built into the structure of the universe itself), personal (written in the human heart) and incarnational (revealed in Jesus Christ). In these days of increasing religious pluralism, and with the rise of increasingly outspoken atheism, we should do as Paul did on Mars Hill (Acts 17:16-34)–proclaim the universal truth that God has revealed himself in creation, in the heart and ultimately in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
That may or may not convince Richard Dawkins and his followers, but it provides a stronger basis for our faith than simply saying, "That's true for me."