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.