Friday, May 29, 2009

The Life of O'Reilly: An Argument for God?

My parents just read Bill O’Reilly’s memoir, A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity. He was pretty naughty as a child,” my mother said.

My father was impressed by O’Reilly’s argument for God: “He says he likes to talk to atheists,” Dad said. “He says to them, ‘What would you say about someone who got into fights and all kinds of trouble when he was young and then grew up to speak in front of millions of people and write several books? If God can do that for me, He can do it for anyone.’”

“I don’t think that’s a very good argument for God,” I said to Dad.

He was irked by my comment. “Well, that’s your opinion,” he said in the tone of voice that implied my opinion meant nothing.

My opinion might not be worth much, but I am sure I share it with many of the atheists my father says O’Reilly is trying to convince. Many childhood troublemakers grow up to be successful in their chosen careers. Many atheists are among them. I doubt any of them would see a successful career and a lot of media exposure as proof of God at work in their lives. A much better argument for the existence of God than the one that impressed my father would be “He got into fights and all kinds of trouble when he was young, but now he is humble and kind and selfless.”

As a freelance writer, I often get to talk with people who have undergone or witnessed dramatic transformations. It’s one of the best parts of the job. You probably haven’t heard of David Cruz, one person I recently interviewed. He isn’t famous, his influence extends to several hundred people (not millions), and I doubt he’s written any books. But my opinion (however little it is worth) is that David Cruz’s life story provides far better evidence of God’s existence than Bill O’Reilly’s. *

Success in the world can come without dependence on God; inner transformation cannot.

*Disclaimer: I have not read O’Reilly’s memoirs, so there may be more to the story than what my dad reported. It’s possible he gives more evidence of inner transformation, in which case, it could be a good argument for God.


  1. Couldn't agree with you more!!! Success is something different to everyone. I was just speaking with someone one the very topic. She mentioned a certain person who was "successful" and how proud of her she was for making a lot of money and being able to travel and spend a lot. To some people, it would've really irritated them...but my response was more like, "good for her. I'm happy for her. But, I'm very successful too in what I do"....I don't have a lot of extra money, we barely pay our bills each month, and certainly traveling to exotic places is out of the question...but, I'm CONTENT with what I have, and I love what I do day in and day out and my family is happy. God's rewards do not include money or material things. He tends to go much, much deeper.

  2. Very well put. The gospel is transformative, it does not promise a rose garden but it certainly promised the garden of gethsemanie where our wants and desires take the back seat to God's. Many think that a godly life is a means to great profit. They are in error but godliness with contentment is great gain. See 1 tim 6:3-8. Godliness does produce great gain by making a person content with what they have.

  3. If anything, Bill O'Reilly's success hurts the argument for the existence of God. From what I've seen of O'Reilly, he often comes across as something of a bully.

    O'Reilly's witness sounds more like that of a prosperity preacher: "God made me successful." But has God changed his heart?


Thanks for your comments! Agree or disagree, but please comment respectfully.