Bill O’Reilly Talks To An Atheist on The Radio Factor

On a recent episode of The Radio Factor with Bill O’Reilly, the host was discussing a Newsweek article by the atheist and antitheist, Christopher Hitchens. In said article, Hitchens was asked to analyze a publication about Mother Theresa’s memoirs in which she expressed times in her life in which she doubted her faith. I would like to see number of people of faith who haven’t experienced such times. But Hitchens took this as an opportunity to say that Mother Theresa had long ago abandoned the Christian faith and takes the opportunity to use this as an example of the hollowness (and therefore untruth) of Christianity…as if truth can be arrived at by feelingsAs disturbing as this posthumous bashing of a kind and generous Christian lady is, I want to focus on the remarks of one caller during that hour of the Radio Factor. The call came from Kevin* of Big Lake, Alaska:

“I’m an atheist and, uh, Christianity, it’s antihuman. And they’re traitors to humanity because Christianity says that man has no future, that man is evil and the world will end soon in fire, that man has no future. And it’s a sell-out to humanity, to your ancestors’ struggle, to your children’s future.”

O’Reilly calmly responded and stated that Kevin has some misconceptions about Christianity and needs to take a theology course. He instructed the caller that Christianity is a simple religion, that you must 1) Love the Lord, and 2) love your neighbor as yourself (which Kevin had no problem with #2 and stated that there is good morality in Christianity). O’Reilly then stated that man added a bunch of other stuff, some of it’s good, some of it isn’t and that to say man has no future is erroneous. This was a proper response, I believe, to this atheist. The atheist listened thoughtfully to Bill’s response and I pray that Kevin will learn more of the truth and not base his worldview on unsupported misconceptions. But I digress.

What did you notice about Kevin’s remarks? What misconceptions did he hold? It is apparent that he had a misunderstanding of the principle of man’s fall and state of depravity. But it is intriguing that the main charge he leveled at Christianity centered around futurist eschatology. He stated that Christians sell-out humanity, the struggles of our ancestors and the future of our children because we teach that “the world will end soon in fire.” Thankfully we do not all teach that. Now if you are prone to respond to Kevin by saying that that’s the truth and if he can not handle it that’s just tough, be careful. If Kevin had leveled his charge against the trinity or the deity of Christ then I would respond the same. The fact of Christ’s deity is plain, simple truth. If a person can not or will not believe that then I can not say much to convince him. But when the belief he is calling out is one such as futurist eschatology, one that has glaring problems, then you can not dismiss Kevin in this way. I knew that futurist eschatology and the expectation that we’ll be taken out of here soon affected Christian action, but I had no idea it had risen to the height of being a stereotype held by unbelievers. I guess I basically thought that unbelievers who had never really learned anything about Christianity did not really know anything about eschatology. All they seemed to know was “there’s a bunch of hypocrites in the church” (a.k.a. the lamest reason in the world for rejecting God). But Kevin’s call was an educational one.

Kevin’s call should also force us to re-examine our theology and compare our worldview with scripture and pray that God would point out any error. The world is watching us. Some are watching us hoping we will stumble. But some are watching us with the hope that we won’t, giving them the hope that there is something real to this ancient idea that God loves us and has made a way for us to come to Him.

Josh H.

*no relation to Kev from SKOS, I’m pretty sure.


1 Response to “Bill O’Reilly Talks To An Atheist on The Radio Factor”

  1. 1 kev
    November 6, 2007 at 9:27 am

    My first thought reading this was that “Kevin” has Christianity and the plot for the movie Terminator 2 confused. If you replace the word “Christianity” with “robots” in his statement, I think you have a line uttered by Linda Hamilton somewhere during that movie.

    My SECOND thought was that Kevin’s misconceptions could very well be traced back to a single Christian who gave him a very counterproductive “sales pitch” early in his life (“YOU’RE ALL GOING TO BURN…unless you say these 7 words out loud”). The scare tactic didn’t work; instead, it closed him off to Christianity before he even knew anything about it. In the years since, the only things about Christianity his brain has absorbed are tidbits he took away from comments made by like-minded individuals or pop culture.

    Of course, it may not have gone down that way. But whenever I see anything like this, my mind immediately thinks, “someone ruined that guy/gal early in life.” It might be known as a Head & Shoulders shampoo slogan, but it’s true in all walks of life: you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

    It makes me sad to think there are many Christians out there making bad first impressions (either by how they live their lives or how they try to “win” others for Christ). It makes me REALLY sad to think I might have done the same in the past…

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