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Dear Bill O'Reilly

By Robby Gray

July 15, 2004

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     In his book The No Spin Zone Bill O'Reilly writes that some weeks he receives up to 25,000 letters. This is a lot of letters and the chance of the below letter getting into the hands of Mr. O'Reilly himself is pretty slim but, if you agree with this letter, you can greatly increase the chance of O'Reilly receiving this letter and make a difference if you send it on to him as well. Practice your second amendment rights! O'Reilly's email address is oreilly@foxnews.com and his snail mail address is below in the letter header. The letter, find it below, is in reference to chapter 14 "The Religion Factor" on page 163 of O'Reilly's book The O'Reilly Factor You are welcome to forward my letter to others to send as well. When you send or forward the letter please...

    State in a cover letter or, if you are emailing it, in a paragraph preceding my letter that you are in agreement with the enclosed letter that was written by Robby Gray that was sent on June 25, 2004 and state that you got the letter from http://www.svimmanuel.com/politicalreligiouswebsite.htm. If you do forward this letter on to O'Reilly or to others please send it in its original form AND in its entirety. If you do want to change something please contact me first, bluewaterrobby@yahoo.com, and let me know what it is you want to change before you send the changed letter so I can decide whether I agree with the change or not . You are welcome to quote me in a letter of your own but please make sure that I am credited ONLY for the quoted parts. Below you will find the letter and a link to a printable version that opens in Word. If you want to email the letter just copy the text and paste it in your email editor.

Letter to Bill O'Reilly.doc (Microsoft Word Document)

June 25, 2004

 

Bill O'Reilly

Fox News Channel

1211 Avenue of the Americas

New York, NY 10036

 

Dear Bill O'Reilly,

     

     I am writing this letter to pass the time away while sailing across the Atlantic with my parents and brother on our 56 foot ketch Immanuel. We should have fourteen more days to go before our landfall in the Caribbean, which will conclude our circumnavigation which we began in 97 when I was 11. So you don’t get the impression that I dislike what you are doing on the O’Reilly Factor, I am actually very grateful that someone who believes in not following with the pack and popular opinion but rather the Truth has made it to the very top, I write the following. On my night watch, from three to six, I have immensely enjoyed reading your book The No Spin Zone and have previously enjoyed reading your book The O’Reilly Factor. Whenever I get a chance I love to watch your show and when I can’t do that, which is almost always, I download the script of your show from Foxnews.com. I may not agree with everything you believe but I greatly admire your quest to find the Truth and your belief that there is one truth to find. There is one belief you hold, though, that I find irrational and that is your acceptance of Christianity as a philosophy and not a religion.

The one statement that you make that I think captures this irrationality is on page 168 of The O’Reilly Factor. “And if there is no God at the end of it all, what does it matter? You’re in the ground or scattered to the winds. If the deity is a fraud, you won’t possibly care. You’re gone.” Here is what I have to say to you. What if there is a God at the end of it all, what does it matter? Those who did not do as God commanded will be in hell. In John 8:31b-32 Jesus says, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” And in John 3:5 “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” I bet you have heard and/or read John 3:16 so many times that it is hard to see what it is saying anymore but try to see it with fresh eyes, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” By disregarding these words of Jesus you are disobeying his teaching. What is most amazing about this is how comforting these words are. What kind of god would say that only the good people that try really hard to make a difference in this world get to heaven but tell those “good” people nothing about how good you have to be or how hard you have to try. I don’t believe God would contradict himself and, as those verses above attest, it is not good works that will get you into heaven.

I think it also follows, and I don’t mean to put the words in your mouth, that you don’t believe that Christ was actually God. If you truly thought he was God you would believe what he said and stop saying that it is good works and your own effort that get you to heaven. C. S. Lewis argued that Jesus was who he claimed to be in his book Mere Christianity in 1952. I think you would like this book as it cuts through all the spin and argues for the basic Christian faith as all denominations would believe it. Here is an excerpt of his argument.

 

“Then comes the real shock. Among these Jews there suddenly turns up a man who goes about talking as if He was God. He claims to forgive sins. He says he has always existed. He says He is coming to judge the world at the end of time. Now let us get this clear. Among Pantheists, like the Indians, anyone might say that he was a part of God, or one with God: there would be nothing very odd about it. But this man, since He was a Jew, could not mean that kind of God. God, in their language, meant the Being outside the world, who had made it and was infinitely different from anything else. And when you have grasped that, you will see that what this man said was, quite simply, the most shocking thing that has ever been uttered by human lips.

One part of the claim tends to slip past us unnoticed because we have heard it so often that we no longer see what it amounts to. I mean the claim to forgive sins: any sins. Now unless the speaker is God, this is really so preposterous as to be comic. We can all understand how a man forgives offences against himself. You tread on my toes and I forgive you, you steal my money and I forgive you. But what should we make of a man, himself unrobbed and untrodden on, who announced that he forgave you for treading on other men’s toes and stealing other men’s money? Asinine fatuity is the kindest description we should give of his conduct. Yet this is what Jesus did. He told people that their sins were forgiven, and never waited to consult all the other people whom their sins had undoubtedly injured. He unhesitatingly behaved as if He was the party chiefly concerned, the person chiefly offended in all offences. This makes sense only if He really was the God whose laws are broken and whose love is wounded in every sin. In the mouth of any speaker who is not God, these words would imply what I can only regard as a silliness and conceit unrivalled by any other character in history.

Yet (and this is the strange, significant thing) even His enemies, when they read the Gospels, do not usually get the impression of silliness and conceit. Still less do unprejudiced readers. Christ says that He is ‘humble and meek’ and we believe Him; not noticing that, if He were merely a man, humility and meekness are the very last characteristics we could attribute to some of His sayings.

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

 

One of the most remarkable things about Jesus’ teaching is that it leaves no guilt feelings as the “if we are good God will let you into heaven” idea. You say, on page 165 of your book The O’Reilly Factor, that “your religion should be comforting as well.” Hoping that God will let you into heaven because you have at least tried to be a good person in life would not give me any comfort when I have nothing from God that tells me this is true or anything that tells me what is too many bad things and what is not trying hard enough. I can just hear God say to you after you die… “Well O’Reilly you did 500 things that I consider bad and I draw the line at 499” then pull a lever opening a trap door under your feet straight to hell. Ridiculous! This is what I call comforting and the words of a loving God, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Anyone can come to a God like this and it is amazingly clear that all you have to do is believe in Jesus and accept His forgiveness. I accept that, yes, we have sinned but that also we have a loving Father that has forgiven us. Let me conclude with one more quote from C. S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity, “That is why the Christian is in a different position from other people who are trying to be good. They hope, by being good, to please God if there is one; or—if they think there is not—at least they hope to deserve approval from good men. But the Christian thinks any good he does comes from the Christ-life inside him. He does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us; just as the roof of a greenhouse does not attract the sun because it is bright, but becomes bright because the sun shines on it.” It is interesting to note here that these are the words of a man who spent most of his life as an avowed atheist before converting to Christianity.

 

Sincerely,

Robby Gray

s/v Immanuel

www.svimmanuel.com

 

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