Debate: Carl McIntire, Christian vs. Madalyn Murray O'Hair, atheist
Topic: "Is Atheism the Religion of the Future?"
On TV Station KLRN of Austin, Texas
February 16, 1970
The text of a one-hour confrontation on TV February 16, 1970, is presented here without any editing. The providence of God, which brought this about, was an AP news report in Austin, Texas, at Christmas featuring Madalyn Murray O'Hair's reaction to the many Christmas cards she received from over the world. She mentioned particularly a card with a black front with a round hole and on the inside the words, "In the beginning God . . ." This is the Christmas card released by the 20th Century Reformation Hour broadcast, Collingswood, New Jersey (Dr. Carl McIntire, director) featuring the Apollo 8 flight to the moon in 1968 and the Christmas Eve reading of the Bible, Genesis 1:1-10, and the offering of prayer to the living God. These cards had been sent by listeners to the Broadcast who had, without suggestion from the Broadcast, sent them to Mrs. O'Hair. Thus it was that God used an atheist who describes herself as "The Atheist" to get these words, "In the beginning God . . .," before the world at Christmas, 1969.
I immediately wrote Mrs. O'Hair a letter and suggested that we have a meeting face to face in which I desired to talk with her about the Christian faith. I even suggested a possible TV appearance and debate. Word of this in Austin found its way to the TV producer for the University of Texas, Mrs. Elizabeth L. Kaderli who then arranged for the appearance under the subject, "Is Atheism the Religion of the Future?" This presentation was made under the auspices of the Southwest Texas Educational Television Council, Austin, Texas, on KJRN-TV, Channel 9 (station manager, Mr. Harvey Herbst). A tape of the debate will be featured at the conference in Cape May, New Jersy, during the summer of 1970. This is the Christian Admiral - Congress Hall Bible Conference and Freedom Center season running from Memorial Day through Labor Day each year.
In commenting upon the debate, Dr. Carl McIntire said that Mrs. O'Hair in a gracious and receptive manner exemplified by her replies exactly what Jesus Christ and the Bible said a person of her nature would represent. The debate is presented in this form for the use of God's people throughout the world with the prayer that it may be used to turn many to righteousness, for it is only by the Word that men are brought to Christ. My appearance on this debate was supported by volumes of prayer by churches and individuals from all over the world. The confrontation speaks for itself and we present it with a prayer that the Holy Spirit may use it to the fullest possible extent.
Is Atheism the Religion of the Future?
A debate between Carl McIntire and Madalyn Murray O'Hair
DAVE GILBERT: This is "Face-to-Face with you and you, Madalyn Murray O'Hair and Carl McIntire. Your host is Dave Gilbert. "Is Atheism the Religion of the Future?" This important and interesting question is the subject of discussion face to face by two of the most militant and best known Americans concerned with these issues. They are both powerful forces and in many ways they are diametrically opposed - Mrs. Madalyn Murray O'Hair and Dr. Carl McIntire.
Madalyn Murray O'Hair is no doubt our most famous American atheist. In 1963 she won a suit in the Supreme Court to have compulsory prayers banned from public schools. Last year she filed suit to bar astronauts from prayers and Bible reading, such as occurred last Christmas during the Apollo 8 mission, and an appeal on that is standing in the Supreme Court. [The Court has refused to hear this.] Most recently she has launched a campaign against the tax-free status of churches, noting large property and business holdings of some churches; and her most recent effort in this campaign has been to start her own church. It is called Poor Richard's Universal Life Church and Madalyn Murray O'Hair is the bishop. It is to be a tax free entity, and she is to use it to acquire property and make investments tax free - the purpose, I think, being to induce the Government to tax her church and then all churches.
The Rev. Carl McIntire is an outspoken opponent of theological liberalism, a militant religious traditionalist who has through radio and newspapers attacked modern religious changes - Communists in the clergy, the ecumenical movement, and the National and World Council of Churches - and strongly advocated a military victory in Vietnam. He it president of a world-wide organization, the International Council of Christian Churches, and has served in that capacity since the founding of the Council in Amsterdam in 1948. He is director of the 20th Century Reformation Hour broadcast which is heard on several hundred radio stations, and editor of the weekly religious newspaper, The Christian Beacon. He has been pastor since 1933 of the 1800-member Bible Presbyterian Church of Collingswood, NJ. Dr. McIntire is president of Shelton College, in Cape May, NJ, and director of the Christian Admiral - Congress Hall Bible Conference and Freedom Center in Cape May, NJ.
All right, we will begin by putting the subject, under discussion directly to each of our guests, asking each to give us a brief statement in answer to the question, "Is Atheism the Religion of the Future?" And then we will get into general discussion, inviting questions from our studio audience and limiting each guest's response to any single question to three minutes or so. All right, Mrs. O'Hair: Is atheism the religion of the future?
MRS. MADALYN O'HAIR: Of course it is. Atheism is the religion of the future because it is the religion of life. It is the religion that gives its entire faith and its emphasis on man, and on man's ability to use his reason, his own judgment, and his personality to do those things which we need to do in life today with our problems which we are facing now. It is a religion not only of the future but of today, because it is the religion of the young. It is the religion also of those persons who continue to think young irrespective of their age. It is also the religion of the future and the religion of the now simply because it is relevant to what we are doing in life. We discard the old forms and the old scriptures and the old rigidities and we take up instead those new banners and those old ideas which came to birth through men, and men only, and which are still valid and which are still good; and we seek to define these and extend them in a free-flowing way so that it will encompass everything that everybody does in a universal way and gives to them a new kind of individual freedom, independence of spirit, and vigor to proceed in life.
GILBERT: All right. Thank you. Dr. McIntire, what is your answer to this question: Is atheism the religion of the future?
DR. CARL McINTIRE: The answer is, No. It has no past, it has no relevant present, and it certainly has no hope for the future. However, I would like to challenge the basic assumption of the question - that atheism is a religion at all. I am intrigued by the idea of Mrs. O'Hair here with her church now that she is establishing on the platform of atheism. And I believe that with this new development in our national life the way is open for our International Council of Christian Churches or some other related group to go to the Supreme Court and ask that atheism be ruled out of the public schools on the basis that it is a religion (applause). And so far as the future is concerned, all that atheism has produced in our generation has been Communism (applause), and in Russia they do not consider atheism or Communism to be a religion.
Now when you talk about the future there has to be a future and there is a future - and I am here to say that the Christian faith is the only religion that does have a future (applause). And the thesis which I shall sustain tonight in this discussion is that the Christian religion is not built upon man but built upon a divine, supernatural revelation from God and that this has entered into history in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. We are dealing with God coming down to deliver man from his darkness, from his sin, and from, death. Atheism has no future. It has no empty tomb. It has no open grave. It has no Messiah. It has no Saviour for sinners. (Mrs. O'Hair laughed.)
GILBERT: All right. Thank you Dr. McIntire. Now, audience, I am grateful for your enthusiasm. I don't want you to turn this into a popularity contest. I hope you will hold your applause for the various statements until the end of the program. But we do invite your questions from here on. I think I would like to ask a question of each of you, perhaps.
I would like to ask you to start with Dr. McIntire. Why are you so sure that there is a God?
McINTIRE: I am sure that there is a God because Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. We have the entrance of the supernatural into history and the coming of Christ in fulfillment of God's promises and His conquering death. He declared Himself to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead. God has given us the creation, the universe; and in Hebrews we read, Hebrews 3:4: "Every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God." God gave us the universe. God gave us His Son; He came and was raised from the dead. He has given unto us His Word, which is the Scriptures of the Old and the New Testaments, our only rule of faith and practice. He has given to us His people, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [a new creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." We have God the creator, God the redeemer, and God who has given unto us His church, His people. And we are here to be witnesses and to win men to Jesus Christ, that life might have some relevance. "To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." We live beyond the grave. The humanists live on this side of the grave. We live a triumphant, victorious life, afraid of no one except God. And we are here now to bear witness to His revelation and His power to save men, and to deliver our nation in the time of its peril.
GILBERT: Would you like to respond to that or do you want to wait for the question?
O'HAIR: There are several things I think that are interesting. I have no quarrel with Carl McIntire in relationship to his fundamentalism; as a matter of fact I am extremely interested in seeing a religious person be true to their own ideas because many of them are not. The liberal theologians deliberately distort the Bible in order to benefit the particular dogma that they want to give. You at least have the courage and the intellectual integrity to stick by those absurd ideas that are in the Bible (applause). You don't try to twist them: you don't try to distort them. You are talking in traditional terms here, the kind of terms that were meant at the time that these things were written and at the time that they were brooded about and as they descended throughout the history of Christianity; and of course I feel that they are without exception fallacious and erroneous, and a little bit ludicrous perhaps, because I cannot accept that any book was ever written by God or that any man such as Jesus Christ ever existed in history, or that His particular brutalized death could ever mean anything to me and you as living human beings.
I would have appreciated and loved Jesus Christ if He had found Himself a good woman and had a beautiful love with that woman, and had borne children and had said something decent and kind about people and relationships to one another. He never did. He was a very brutal man in His ideas and the way He persevered in them. And this single, nonsensical figure which is not historical, has brought to mankind more grief than any other single fable. And I think that we can jettison it now and continue in a decent kind of living community.
McINTIRE: May I say, Mrs. O'Hair, that what you have said, so far as my knowledge of the truth is concerned, is what you would naturally say, because as I understand sin and what it has done to the hearts of men, "The natural,man receivith not the things of the Spirit of God" (I Corinthians 2:14).
O'HAIR: I don't What are the things of the spirit?
McINTIRE: That is exactly right. You are offended by the cross. You have sat here and brought this abuse upon the cross of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And it is through the preaching of the cross and the presentation of the cross, accompanied by the Spirit of God, that faith is given to individuals and then they are made new creatures. They are born again. You need to be born again. (Mrs. O'Hair laughed.) You do not understand this language.
O'HAIR: You see I figure...
McINTIRE: You and I live in two different worlds. You live in the world of the natural man; I live in the world of a man that has been recreated by the power of God. And it is a power that only God has, only God gives through the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Now so far as Jesus Christ's being the kind of person that you suggested, I can only say that He is in all the fullness of glory the Son of the living God, sent here to be born of a virgin, to be without sin, that He might steadfastly set His face toward that cross and take upon Himself your sin, the very sin that you
O'HAIR: That's a horrible idea.
McINTIRE:I know it is for you.
O'HAIR: That's a horrible idea. I certainly wouldn't want anybody to be flagellated like that and to die a death such as this for me. I wouldn't ask this of anybody, let alone of a god.
McINTIRE: God Almighty "so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." And "God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." And that is you, Madalyn Murray; that is Carl McIntire. That is the audience we have here. And it is this Gospel which gave America her liberty and the life that you have. And you have spoken here about the liberals tonight. And if we are going to have any agreement among ourselves at all - which I doubt it (laughter) it would certainly come in your appraisal of what you call the liberals and your recognizing that I do hold a consistent fundamentalist position.
O'HAIR: You are a purist and I appreciate that. I am, too.
McINTIRE: But we are in different worlds. We are in different worlds. We have different destinies. We have different futures. We think of religion in an entirely different context with an entirely different purpose so far as man is concerned.
GILBERT: Let me ask you the same question Mrs. O'Hair that I asked Dr. McIntire; let's turn it around: Why are you so sure that there is no God?
O'HAIR: An atheist does not say that at all, and this is one of the things that I am upset about in the ordinary community life, because an atheist says that the whole idea of God is irrelevant; and whether one group of religious persons or one group of theologians are going to argue with another group as to whether there is a God and what His attributes are and what His nature is, and use all of the traditional and philosophical ideas in relationship to God - we could care less. That is their problem. They made up the gods. And since they made them up, let them argue themselves in relationship to this.
What we say is this, simply and fundamentally, we don't know - nobody knows - if there is any kind of super entity any place that we can even conceive of. We have no idea in relationship to this. But we do have a record of human history. We do have the attributes of science. And from a continuing appraisal and evaluation of those it appears as if there is no life after death, no efficacy in prayer and no top banana some place up in the sky. And since we feel that we cannot see these things demonstrated in any way, the only thing that we can do is live our lives as if there was no validity to these. We will risk our whole life on this premise and go ahead and live as if life is now, life is beautiful, human relationships must be perfected, and move in that direction here and now.
McINTIRE: Well may I say to you in that regard that life has no meaning without God. "Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever," "The heavens declare the glory of God."
O'HAIR: I am full of the meaning. I am full of meaning. My cup runneth over.
McINTIRE: I want you to be full of more meaning than what you have expressed tonight. I want you to be full of the meaning that will give to you everlasting life and the fellowship and the communion that comes with knowing the living God.
O'HAIR: I wouldn't want to be in Heaven with some of the people.
McINTIRE: What did you say?
O'HAIR: I wouldn't want to be up in Heaven with some of those people.
McINTIRE: Yes, but it is all right when they get to Heaven, lady. They are all cleaned up. The Lord Jesus Christ takes care of them.
O'HAIR: There would have to be a tremendous transformation.
McINTIRE: Lady, there is a place in Heaven for you if you will put your faith in this Saviour. Now let me just give you the one place, when you speak tonight, where possibly there might be some leverage whereby we could get together in what you call history. You spoke of history just now and you seemed to have -
O'HAIR: Well, you are not going to find it in that Book.
McINTIRE: Well, just a minute. I would like to just read you from this Book, please. Just a minute. I said when we started our discussion that I was approaching the Christian faith from the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
O'HAIR: Yes, sir.
McINTIRE: Now that took place. That is an event. And Paul says, "If Christ be not risen, our faith is vain."
O'HAIR: This is why we attack the resurrection.
McINTIRE: "But now is Christ risen from the dead." After He was raised from the dead - and may I say to you, if He did rise, and I believe He did, we should listen. to Him because He knows what is on the other side of that . . .
O'HAIR: I am for that. If somebody comes back in three days, I will listen to them (laughter).
McINTIRE: Now just a minute, let me read to you what He said after He came back after three days. I am reading to you from the Gospel according to Luke, chapter 24, Jesus came back after He had been dead three days; He talked with His disciples on the road to Emmaus and said: "O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to have entered into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself." And the word there is panton. All the totality of that Old Testament Scripture, the things concerning Himself, and here is the One that came out of the grave on the third day, took the Old Testament in His hands and said, This Book testifies of Me.
O'HAIR: I thought it wasn't written at that time.
McINTIRE: It wasn't written at that time? What He had in His hand was written at that time.
O'HAIR: No, I am not quite certain of that. I think some of your Bible scholastics go way out.
McINTIRE: No, Mr.... This point here is well taken because there is no dispute about -
O'HAIR: Well, of course there are several things that we dispute you. You are talking about the historical Jesus. I am not. You are talking about the Old Testament 66 books that were accumulated here.
McINTIRE: You said you would listen to somebody that was dead three days.
O'HAIR: Yes I would.
McINTIRE: Well, I am trying to tell you about it. He is the one I am speaking about right now.
O'HAIR: You have a basis there of something which we cannot accept - either scholastically or in any other way because I think that Bible historians are agreed on the number of errors that have been in this, in the kind of compilations which have been made, in the things which should be accepted, which should not be accepted. There are 256 faiths in America.
McINTIRE: So far as textual criticism and the responsible criticism of this Scripture is concerned, there has not been proved one single error in it. It has not been established. And when Jesus Christ will put His hand on the Old Testament and say, All the scriptures testify of Me, you go back a thousand years to David, the 22nd Psalm; you go back 1500 years to Moses, learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians in Pharaoh's household; go back 2000 years to Abraham, and all through those centuries God was revealing to the prophets that He was sending to them a Messiah and a Savior who would die for their sins, give us a new heaven and a new earth, and Abraham journeyed looking for a city whose foundations and maker, builder was God. And this Old Testament has the seal of a resurrected hand on it and that was the hand of power and that is the hand that is going to raise the dead.
O'HAIR: If this was the seal of resurrection and absolute acceptance of the Old Testament and Jesus Christ puts His imprimatur on that, then why isn't He accepted by the -
McINTIRE: Jews? Many Jews do accept Him. Many Jews do accept Him and that is the argument . . .
O'HAIR: After all they are the experts on the Old Testament.
McINTIRE: Come on, you keep on talking to me. You are getting some good questions, lady. You are getting right into the center of this thing. Do you realize that the whole Epistle to the Romans was written by one of the most brilliant men of his day - the Apostle Paul.
O'HAIR: Well, I would dispute that.
McINTIRE: Well, he was a Hebrew of the Hebrews and a Pharisee of the Pharisees. And he wrote the Epistle to the Romans to show the extent of the sin. And in the first chapter of Romans he speaks about those who would not retain God in their knowledge and describes them. But he comes over into 9, 10, 11 and discusses the status of the Jew. And Paul says clearly that God has ordained His -
O'HAIR: That is his opinion.
McINTIRE: No, he says -
O'HAIR: As one single person speaking. And I have the same kind of an opinion in relationship to this book as one single person.
McINTIRE: Well, let me finish my argument on this point. I want to reason with you out of the Scriptures. The Apostle is, saying -
O'HAIR: The premise is bad when you reason with me out of the Scriptures.
McINTIRE:May I Say, Mrs. O'Hair that it has pleased God by the foolishness of what I am doing to bring men to the knowledge of Christ.>"Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." I have something that is different from a dictionary or telephone book. You will never get saved by reading a telephone book, but if you go ahead and read this Book you might get born again, you might get saved, you might come to know what it is.
O'HAIR: You know I can't imagine what you mean by being born again, and the very first thing that comes to my mind is something facetious - Will it hurt my mother? I do not understand some of this terminology. And I try my best when you talk about a transcendent God, I sit very carefully, and when you talk about eternity and the word goes through my mind, I do everything that I can do with the very best of my intelligence and my perception to understand these words and they are words without meaning. They are meaningless. The only meaning that they have are those meanings that persons bring to them themselves out of some sort of commitment that they have, just the same as when I talk about a rose or the smell of a rose or something like this. I mean one thing and you mean another, and I think that as long as people toy with these meaningless words we would not be able to get any place.
McINTIRE: May I try to deal with this meaningless word of the second birth?
O'HAIR: Of rebirth, second birth?
McINTIRE: Well, the one who spoke of that was our Saviour, Jesus Christ
O'HAIR: No - your Saviour Jesus Christ. Be careful of your adjectives here. It isn't our Saviour because He does not relate to everybody.
McINTIRE: Well He's not your Saviour yet, but I pray He will be some day. May I say this, Mrs. O'Hair, that it was Jesus Christ who spoke to Nicodemus, and Nicodemus, had thse questions: Must I enter a second time into my mother's womb and be born?
O'HAIR: Uh huh.
McINTIRE: Jesus said, No. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh - that is the first birth; "and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." And then He said, Marvel not that I say unto you, "Ye must be born again." Now you are marveling at this.
O'HAIR: But then you come and you say, All right, when God comes back, we will again be clothed in, the flesh. So you are talking first of a spiritual birth but when you actually come to another rebirth you are talking of a rebirth in the flesh again.
McINTIRE: No, lady, let me explain that to you. I am talking about something that will happen to you on this platform if you would believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins. It's a birth that takes place right now. Death is not a rebirth. Death is a door that opens up into the presence of Jesus Christ. That is all that is to us and we...
O'HAIR: He didn't like women. I would not like to be in His presence. I am a feminist.
McINTIRE:I want to go ahead and show you what we believe. Now here you are; what hope do you have for eternity ?
O'HAIR: None. None.
McINTIRE:That is the difference between us.
O'HAIR: You see, though, it is important, because what you are doing is wasting your life now, and what I am doing is gambling that I will be perfectly willing to waste anything after I am dead.
McINTIRE: Lady, I am not gambling with eternity. I am not gambling with God. I am not gambling with my soul. I believe that Jesus Christ was all that He claimed. And He said, "He that believeth on me hath - present tense - everlasting fife and shall never come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life." And I am offering you that which alone God can give you - life now, for eternity, forever, in Jesus Christ.
O'HAIR: And I don't want it. What I want is life now, total involvement now, total commitment now, and let the Devil take the rest. (Some laughter).
McINTIRE: May I say in response to that, (more laughter) if there is anybody more totally involved in what is taking place in the present world than myself right now I would like to meet them.
O'HAIR: Oh, you are. You are. I grant you that. I think that you are an involved person, and I also appreciate this. I think that there are many people on the American scene who are involved in one configuration of ideas or the other - and I don't like the silent majority either, they work against what you are doing, they work against what I am doing. I would rather see committed people, and it is a pleasure to be with you tonight simply because you are committed.
GILBERT: I am going to break in on that moment of harmony there. (Much laughter).
I saw a little lady, a lady in a red coat over there that had a question that I would like a mike man to get to after a bit. I think I detected a -
O'HAIR: She shouldn't come in here with a red coat!
GILBERT: No. ( laughter) I think I detected a challenge a little while ago and I wanted to go back to it, and the challenge came from Dr. McIntire. He spoke of the Bible and he said, there is not a single error in there. And Mrs. O'Hair you had said something to the contrary a minute ago. His statement sounded like a challenge to me, and I wondered if you wanted to take it up. Is there any error that you wanted to work on there?
O'HAIR: (laughing) You have to be kidding. It seems to me that there must be at least a hundred thousand errors in the Bible and that these errors have continually been worked on by the scholars of all communities for at least 1600 years, since the Council of Nicea forward, and I think that the important thing is not to nit pick. I have a little booklet that I brought with me about contradictions in the Bible, absurdities in the Bible, conflicting dogmas in the Bible, etc., and I think that this isn't the thrust of what we are doing tonight to get into this because I can pick out one paragraph where Jesus Christ says, "Bring to me my enemies before me and kill them." Then He said, "I came only to bring peace, not a sword." [Misquoted. See Matt. 10:34 - Ed.] And we could go through all kind of these things from the beginning to the end and with all kind of rationalizations as to why they were in that particular chapter and not in another. I think that the good Doctor has enough difficulty in any event with just the harmony of the Scriptures, with trying to get the four major books of the New Testament into any kind of harmony and that the scholars generally speaking have had difficulty down the line with this.
McINTIRE:May I just make a response. I said that no man knows enough to say that there are errors, and there are no proven errors. The unbelievers have assaulted it through the centuries. But I go back to the thesis with which we started. I start with the word of a person who opened the grave after three days, and if Jesus did that - and you recognize you would listen to somebody who said that - if He did that and then turned around and said to his disciples after He was raised from the dead - I read you the account here in Luke where He met with the -
O'HAIR: But you see, I have no argument with you.
McINTIRE: I know you don't. There is no argument on this point.
O'HAIR: If He was in the grave three days, and He arose, and He said this. If you can produce anybody like this now that can do -this in three days, I will accept it. But the whole point is...
McINTIRE: Well, if you will accept it, lady, we are making progress.
O'HAIR: It didn't happen.
McINTIRE: Just a minute. Listen to this.
GILBERT: Let's hear him finish this point.
McINTIRE: This was the first appearance of Jesus with His disciples after He came out of the tomb, and He said unto them, These are the words which I spoke unto you while I was yet with you that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses and in the prophets and in the psalms concerning Me. Then opened He their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures. Now when Jesus Christ, having been in the grave came out, turned to Moses and said that Moses wrote of Me 1500 years before, we have a record which Christ appeals to as authoritative in seeking to win these Jewish leaders to faith in Himself and to trust in Himself.
O'HAIR: But don't you know that. I can go back and pick out passages in the Bible and say, All, these all relate to the coming of Madalyn Murray and the things clear back to Moses, I could pick out isolated little bits. I could pick them out in the New Testament and say, You see, all of this was prophesied in my coming.
McINTIRE: Madalyn Murray, the only way they relate to you, and they do relate to you is that in God's gracious providence you will come to see them, and then you will receive the gift of everlasting life. But let me go ahead one step further- You talk about a present Christ. Our Saviour was raised from the dead, He ascended into Heaven-
O'HAIR: You keep looking up as if He's going to be there - it is fascinating. (She laughs.)
McINTIRE: Well, He is there. I believe He is there with all my heart; and furthermore, I am waiting for Him to come. We have the blessed promise from His own lips that "I Will come again And we have the word from the Scripture that "the Lord shall descend from heaven with a shout, and with the voice of the archangel.... and the dead in Christ shall rise first." I believe in the resurrection of the dead. I believe in the rapture of the saints. There is going to be a blessed meeting in the air, and it will be not about the moon either. They are all going to be there praising the name of this One who has been the victor over the grave, Jesus Christ.
O'HAIR: Well, you see of course I do not accept that. I do not accept that there is going to be any second coming. I do not accept that Jesus Christ was peculiar or unique as a religious apostle because He has - there are other figures similar in the other religions. As a matter of fact He was most probably Krishna, and I think you probably have looked up the historical reference in relationship to that. So that how can I possibly say, All right, I am going to accept.
McINTIRE: Do you know what would lead you . . . I haven't asked you many questions thus far, but do you consider yourself to be a sinner?
O'HAIR: Absolutely not. I am completely pure of heart. I cannot imagine what a sin is, I really can't. I cannot imagine what a sin is. I think that in our lives most areas are gray, and that in the grayness of our lives, in these areas, some things are a little bit worse than other things. But I think for the most part people think in terms of sex being a sin, or sex acts being a sin. I'm sorry, I can't buy any of that.
McINTIRE: Well, do you know what you need to be, what we need to talk about? We need to talk about the law of God, that there is a God who is righteous and a God who has laid down certain laws for His creatures to obey and to honor; and sin is the transgression of that law.
O'HAIR: What law? because there are several commandments - You know, several lists of commandments. And when the commandments are given and they say for instance to me, You shall honor your father and your mother, my answer, like all of the young people now is: I will honor my father and my mother if they so act as to deserve my honor.
McINTIRE: But you see, that is the whole point. Jesus said, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." And not until you get to the place in your heart or your conscience where you recognize that you are a sinner and under condemnation (she laughs).
O'HAIR: I'll never make it!
McINTIRE: You will never make it.
O'HAIR: I can tell even now. Incidentally, you know I am a Presbyterian atheist so I understand such -
McINTIRE: There is no such thing. (Considerable laughter).
O'HAIR: I understand your thrust here. But I left the Presbyterian Church and became an atheist. And you left the Presbyterian Church and tried to bring it back to its fundamentalism. So I feel -
McINTIRE: Well, who has been making more progress?
O'HAIR: Well, I think actually that I am. Now you have your entire congregation and your followers above ground. The atheists are underground simply because of the reprisals that have been put against them. But you know in your heart and in your library and in your going around the world, certainly in the United States, that atheism is winning hands down, that we have a greater number of adherents than you can ever hope to have. That the youth is with us.
McINTIRE: I couldn't admit that for five seconds, lady. All I can say to you right now is that the Communist world is built upon an atheistic, materialistic philosophy - humanism - it's Communism. But that is not going to prevail. That is not going to win the day.
O'HAIR: Let me tell you, though, something about Communism, because I know a great deal about Communism, certainly in relationship to America, and I do not like to have persons use the word Communism in relationship to American atheists, because American atheists are across the board politically, and we have gone into long discussions with the American Communist party, with Marxist-Leninists of all brands, with all of the socialist parties, Trotskyites, everyone else, and I have also brought with me a list of quotations tonight from them calling us petty bourgeoisie revisionary, anti-revolutionary, pseudo-intellectuals.
McINTIRE: Well, what are you?
O'HAIR: (laughter.) Now you shouldn't insult a lady that blatantly.
McINTIRE: Tell me. You know what I am.
O'HAIR: Just a minute. The American Communist Party put out a manifesto in relationship to atheism, saying that it was pseudo-intellectual but at no point should there be a direct confrontation.
McINTIRE: Do you believe that?
O'HAIR: Well, I know what Gus Hall says to me.
McINTIRE: Would you believe Gus Hall?
O'HAIR: Well, I would believe Gus Hall in relationship to many, many ministers.
McINTIRE: You don't think he is a propagandist and a liar and a -
O'HAIR: Of course he is a propagandist, but so are most ministers.
McINTIRE: Not me. Not I.
O'HAIR: What I am saying is this, there is no sense in equating American atheism to Communism or materialism because we are a unique species and we are not concerned with politics.
McINTIRE: You are unique all right. I will agree to that. But I want to say this, that atheism at most can be humanism.
O'HAIR: No, we don't - I don't like that definition.
McINTIRE: Well, the two belong together. Atheism cannot produce anything so far as God is concerned. You have expressed yourself on that. All it can do is deal in the realm of the material which we have. There is no spirit so far as the production of life is concerned.
O'HAIR: Oh, we are full of spirit.
McINTIRE: Yes, the wrong kind spirit.
O'HAIR: But we are full of spirit, we experience love, we have standing, we are intellectual, we dwell in reason.
McINTIRE: Just a minute. I want you to understand that atheism has produced Communism and with it comes the brutality -
O'HAIR: That could never match the Christian brutality -
McINTIRE: I beg your pardon -
O'HAIR: - of the crusades, of the wars. Communism - and I hate to be put in a position where I must defend it - Communism could not equal the atrocities.
McINTIRE: Are you going to defend Communism now?
O'HAIR: No, I said I hate to be put in a position where I must say it - that Communism cannot equal the horrendous things that happened -
McINTIRE: May I say to you Communism has never produced a United States of America which has "IN GOD WE TRUST" on its coins (laughter). This has been a country which has been produced as a result of the preaching of the Gospel.
O'HAIR: No - we were founded on deism and I think -
McINTIRE: No, No.
O'HAIR: - that you are astute enough to recognize that all of our founding fathers -
McINTIRE: Talk about the Presbyterians if you want to. They had an awful lot to do with the Revolutionary War in this country, lady. They sure did.
O'HAIR: I know and I am happy about it because -
McINTIRE: Well, I am not. This country has been built on the concept that God is related to liberty - "Our father's God, to thee, author of liberty" - and you cannot separate God from freedom . . .
O'HAIR: No, God is the presentation of authority ...
McINTIRE: No, no, the individual -
O'HAIR: God and the relationship to man is dependency on God, not independence. You have turned it entirely around. ...
McINTIRE: I beg your pardon.
O'HAIR: Freedom is with the individual, not with God.
GILBERT: Wait. One at a time. Go ahead.
McINTIRE: Well, I don't want to interrupt her. (She laughs.) But may I say, I think she is right when she twists it around the way she has because the only reason we must have a free society is that the individual in that society must be in a position where he can respond to his God above the state. When you eliminate God then the state moves in with its authoritarian power over the citizen, and the concept of the free ballot, the secret ballot, the individual being responsible to his maker undergirds everything that has made America free. That came because of the Bible, we take it to the courts, we put our hand on it...
O'HAIR: I am trying to stop that, you know. I've got it in front of the Supreme Court now.
McINTIRE: That is one thing I do not think you are going to stop.
O'HAIR: I think I will.
McINTIRE: We are trying to do what we can to get prayer and Bible reading back in school.
O'HAIR: It's a horrendous idea.
McINTIRE: And right now I am chairman of a march in Washington, on April 4th, which is going to call for prayer and Bible reading back in school by way of an amendment and we will undo what we think that you did.
O'HAIR: You'll never make it. I'll forecast it.
McINTIRE: And we also are going to call for victory in Vietnam and freedom of choice in the whole field of education.
O'HAIR: Well, I think that when you talk about the war in Vietnam and freedom of choice you are talking then, too, about the freedom of choice of those persons who do not care to support the war in Vietnam just as well as those who care to support it, and I think that this is important, and for the young men who do not care to support the draft as well as those who do care to support it.
McINTIRE: Well, what I am trying to get across -
GILBERT: We have a question from a gentleman here.
QUESTION: Well, I was wondering, Dr. McIntire, if your lawsuit to have atheism declared a non-religion, in all of our definitions speaking about religion, it's been strictly Christianity. Are you going to have all the rest of the religions banned also?
McINTIRE: Maybe you did not understand the point that I made in regard to Madalyn Murray's making atheism a religion. She has taken the position that the use of the Bible and prayer in devotional services is absolutely false, it is wrong.
O'HAIR: No, I said that there should not be any religious ceremonies in the public schools.
McINTIRE:That is right. Now if your atheism becomes a religion, then in these compulsory classes, or the required classes which we have, it must be ruled out.
O'HAIR: Oh, absolutely, I am in agreement with you. I think it all should be out.
McINTIRE: Well, would you go to the Supreme Court with me on that?
O'HAIR: Absolutely. I don't think that there should be any kind of religious situation in the public schools either for or against. The public school should be absolutely neutral. I am willing to march with you on that.
GILBERT: Harmony once again.
McINTIRE: Wait, wait a minute. She goes just a little too far in that (laughter). We take the position, and we have always taken the position that the Bible is not a sectarian book as such.
O'HAIR: I take the position that -
McINTIRE: Now wait a minute. Just let me finish my statement here. If we as a nation recognize God, which we do on our coins and all our public documents -
O'HAIR: I'm trying to stop that, too.
McINTIRE: Well, I know, but that goes beyond the actual formalities of a particular religion. And what we have done is that there must be some basis for morality in our national life; and that morality is related to God, not to the state. That morality is related to our faith in God. And to have the reading of the Bible on a voluntary basis and the offering of prayer in our public schools does exalt that authority which we must have if we are going to have law and order and decency in our land.
O'HAIR: But you know I wouldn't want my children to read the story of Ruth as a moral lesson. And I would not want my children to read the story of the Virgin Mary covering up for an indiscretion the way she did as a moral lesson. I would not like to have my children read of the murder committed by Moses as a moral lesson. I don't want my children to see the ravings of Isaiah as a moral lesson. Morality flows from the individual person's goodness simply because we are individuals and there is nothing that can beat it.
McINTIRE: Mrs. O'Hair, we are back again right where we started.
McINTIRE: We have just gone in a complete circle. I want all of our children and grandchildren and the young people of this country to know this Bible from Genesis to Revelation.
O'HAIR: And I do, too...
McINTIRE: And to believe that it is the infallible Word of God.
O'HAIR: Because to read it is to reject it.
McINTIRE: To read it is to believe it. And I am one sitting here before you that believes this. I have been preaching it all my life; I have seen the fruits and the blessing of it; and I know that the power of this Book is such that it will change America for righteousness and for good.
O'HAIR:It is so powerful it can't even change me.
GILBERT: Question from the man in the aisle.
McINTIRE: Just a minute. It can change you.
QUESTION: Dr. McIntire, I am Cliff O'Connell, chairman of the University Society for Atheism, and I would like to ask you: You have been all tonight falling back on the Bible on just about every point. What makes you think the Bible is divine, where we have the Mohammed books, the Torah, many -religious works of Taoism, of Buddhism, other Jewish works, many other works? Why aren't they as divine? Just because somebody arbitrarily says this one was divine. Why can't something else be divine?
McINTIRE: The answer, sir, is the one I gave you in the beginning. Christianity is the only religion that has a Saviour who opened the tomb, who came out of the grave. Mohammed is dead. Confucius is dead. These men are ashes in the dust of the ground. Only Jesus Christ has opened the tomb. He said, "I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me: though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." And, Sir, you compliment me when you say I return each time to the Bible. This is the only Book I know, Sir. It is the Book of God.
GILBERT: Now this gentleman over here first, I believe, and then this one.
QUESTION: Am I not correct in assuming that you believe the Bible to be irrevocable because it is God-given? Do you believe the Bible to be irrevocable because it is God-given?
McINTIRE: Yes, I believe it is God-inspired and God-given through the prophets and the apostles.
QUESTION: Am I also correct in assuming that you believe in God and the resurrection because it has been written in the Bible for you to read today?
McINTIRE: Well, if the resurrection occurred, which it did, then it is relevant for me today, and I preach it because no one else has done what Jesus has done, or will be able to do it without His power.
QUESTION: But you believe that that took place. You believe that it is a historical event because the God-given Bible says that that is true. Right? That seems rather obviously circular reasoning to me.
McINTIRE: Well, Sir, what I have done is to bring the historical - not the philosophical apologetic which you get in some seminaries - I have used what we call the historical apologetics. I wanted to meet Mrs. O'Hair on a historical basis. And Christianity is a historical religion, It is the account of what happened - Christ died, He rose again, He came, He went to Heaven, and that is called good news, and that is what we call the Gospel, sir.
QUESTION: I know, but history is only an interpretation based on what we perceive of the past from evidence we can gather now. Why is that? Why do you believe, you believe that that actually happened, that it is irrevocable because it was God given, But the only reason you believe it was God given is because it was written and -
McINTIRE: Well, Sir, you stated it very nice. That is very good. I was trying to make it very plain and to get my point across that Christianity is a historical religion. It is inseparably tied within the time-space sequence which you and I would call history.
O'HAIR: It is a hysterical religion. (Injected while Dr. McIntire was talking).
McINTIRE: No, no, don't say that. (Laughter).
O'HAIR: It is.
McINTIRE: We come and proclaim something which took place in history, and it is going to affect you now by giving you a new nature. "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." And it is out of that newness of life and newness of mind that I am speaking tonight; and Mrs. O'Hair cannot understand me. She lives in a different world. I am trying to get her to understand that my world is real. My world extends to all eternity and a blessed and glorious deliverance. There is to be a resurrection. I am going to have a new body. This hand isn't just going to go back to dust. It is going to be raised again. And I will have a body like the body Jesus had when He was raised from the dead. Now this is the news that has been preached. It is good news to every man who is hungry for righteousness and has a yearning in his soul for God and who will recognize that he is a sinner.
GILBERT: Ok. A question from over here, this gentleman.
QUESTION: Myself and many of my contemporaries have intuitively sort of come to the point that the sanctity of human life and life itself perhaps takes preference over any religious dogma, any flag, any democratic system or any system of government. And I think that during this particular time in history this has perhaps come to the forefront more than other times, and in looking for answer, in looking for a system to establish this and to philosophically work the thinking of a lot of people, I am becoming rather deaf because I don't hear organized religion approaching this, as I do hear someone who talks about perfecting personalities perfecting the relationships among men. Where has the church been these many centuries in upholding sanctity of life itself? Why do these wars continue? Why do people go hungry? Why don't we get at this?
GILBERT: Do you want to yourself to Dr. McIntire?
QUESTION: To Dr. McIntire, but I would also like to hear Mrs. O'Hair comment, please.
McINTIRE: Well, Sir, I think have made it very plain that you have got to deal with human nature. What you have at the present time is depraved; we are going down into and all sorts of corruption on hand. There is no power to r it. We think the police can help for us. They can't. And the only way that we can get at human nature is to get at it by the power of the Gospel, and that has been the approach which the church has made and which have made, and we have demanded free men in a free society.
Now it is our task to stand for righteousness. Now here is the area where our testimony to the current problems becomes very practical and very real. Righteousness will exalt "a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people," and that is why we feel that in our national decisions we have a right to speak. We must relate the standards of righteousness to the decisions that are made in Washington. In relationship to Communism, for example we don't think we should appease it. We don't think we should aid Communism in any way. We should be a party on every hand to discrediting it so that the overturnings can take place in these countries, satellite countries, and they again can have freedom.
Everything we are doing is to the end that we might have freedom and also that we might establish human responsibility. Now we are opposed to poverty; the Bible is opposed to poverty. But we don't think the solution to poverty is to turn, the United States into a socialistic society. We think that the solution to these problems is not to come from Washington, DC, with multiplied billions of dollars taken out of our pockets. We think that the solution of this problem is in other areas of human dignity and human responsibility. And it is because we do believe in human dignity that we must have a society of responsible citizens. You can't have a democracy or a republic without it. You will get a totalitarian society in which we all say Yes to the one who is at the top of it.
GILBERT: Ok. Mrs. O'Hair do you wish to respond to this?
O'HAIR: You see you offer them nothing but words, and this is the problem because they are not asking you for words multiplied unendingly. They are saying to you, Why can't we do our own thing? Why can't we have our life? Why shouldn't it be precious? If I want my hair long, that is my business. If I want to go out and fight against the draft, that is my business because it is a free market place of ideas. And what you are saying to them in return is that they must be structured, they must be yielded to authority, they must have rigid rules of conduct. This is good; this is bad. This is a sin; this is not a sin. This is acceptable. Life is not that uncomplicated.
McINTIRE: I am sorry, but it is. I am sorry. That is what I want to tell you.
O'HAIR: Everything today is very, very free wheeling and everything today has to do with the kind of solutions which reach to the human heart, not to the kind of palaver that goes on in the church where hypocrites come and gather together every Sunday so that they can fleece the taxpayer out of a few more dollars on this level or that level. When you talk about the slums - and it is necessary to move into the slums and to do work - the churches are the biggest holders of slums in America. They are the biggest landlords in the slums in America.
McINTIRE: Would you stick to one subject? Stay right with the one subject? (Mrs. O'Hair laughs heartily) And may I say to you that you have recognized what I have been trying to say all evening. You live in an entirely different humanistic world where God has no place, God has no power. God is our -
O'HAIR: But people do.
McINTIRE: But wait a minute, but we live in the -
O'HAIR: We are just as afraid of the state as you are. I don't want an extraordinary strong state that would be authoritarian to me.
McINTIRE: But what you are doing will produce the power of the state in order to solve your problems.
O'HAIR: But you are the one who buttresses it up because you are saying, respond to the authority of God, and to respond to the authority of God is to respond to the authority of law, if rigidity of the state, of politics, and these are the things we must question now.
McINTIRE: No, I am saying that "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." And "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." And the only thing that can get America out of her present confusion and put her back on a solid foundation is that this nation repent before God, ask God to have mercy upon us, and He will deliver us from our enemies -
O'HAIR: If everybody got down on their knees and repented tomorrow and said, O God deliver us, would the slums in Austin disappear?
McINTIRE: God Almighty would send this nation the greatest blessing and revival. We would take care of one another, we would love each other, be responsible for one another. This country needs God.
O'HAIR: But the young people are doing that now.
McINTIRE: They are not doing it in the name of God. They are doing it in the name of Madalyn Murray O'Hair or somebody else. That is right (applause).
GILBERT: I want to move us back into the middle of the issue a little bit. I have a question for Mrs. O'Hair. There are a number of questioners out here, and we will get to as many as we can. I think, that we have established as we go along the means by which Dr. McIntire would judge whether an act is good or evil or good or bad if you like, in other words. Without a religious moral code, what is the means that you use in order to judge whether an act is good or evil?
O'HAIR: I think that we have to resort to those two things which have been so abused by religion. One is human reason and two is common sense. We know those things that we should not do, and we know those things that we should do just from being human beings in a human community. For instance, we have no difficulty at all seeing that life is extraordinarily precious so we extrapolate in all ways and say since life is so very precious then it is necessary to preserve that life and not get involved in horrendous wars, whereas the religious person will quite frequently say, well life is so very important that we must get in there and kill one another in order to preserve it. And these are the things that I think that you get in with your questions, and we split immediately on this. For instance, I am a woman, and how dare anybody tell me I can or cannot have a baby, or I can or cannot have an abortion. Because some man some place has made a law in respect to this, or some person sitting in a foreign place will say something in relationship to morality and birth. I am going to use, No. 1, my common sense, my reason, and the fact that I am a woman filled with love in order to try to do something in a situation such as that. I think that it goes a little bit beyond situational ethics because in respect to this one also must use (1) reason; (2) common sense.
McINTIRE: I think I can make a reply to that briefly. In the first place, Mrs. O'Hair, human life does not belong to you. It belongs to God. God has placed the price on it, it is sanctified in His sight, and the life of one human soul was so precious that He gave His Son to redeem man. The Bible puts a very, very high price upon human life, and it is not yours or mine - abortions or whatever you want to call it. In the second place there is something even more precious though God has a very -
O'HAIR: I couldn't imagine what it was.
McINTIRE: Just a minute, you couldn't imagine what it was - it is liberty. "Give me liberty or give me death." That was Patrick Henry.
O'HAIR: With life you have liberty. It flows from this.
McINTIRE: No, that is why our country is willing to fight against the enemies of freedom, against the aggressors that are seeking to take over and make us a totalitarian world -
O'HAIR: Who defines their freedom?
McINTIRE: That is why, because liberty is more precious than life.
O'HAIR: Who defines the liberty?
McINTIRE: Who defines the liberty?
McINTIRE: God-(laughter from audience).
GILBERT: All right, we have time for a quick question. Do you have a question, sir?
QUESTION: In the light of the Gospel of Jesus, I wonder how you would justify war, like in Vietnam.
McINTIRE: Well, we do not justify war. War is an evil thing, and it is the result of sin. Hence come wars among you, fighting. They come every level. But that doesn't mean that when great issues are at stake, like liberty and the security of a country, we must not defend ourselves in order that we can preserve our freedom to worship and to speak and serve God. Consequently when our nation is at war, as it is at the present time, the conscience - you spoke of common sense, you also spoke of reason - all of these elements which we have under God, support the defense of our republic. And I think that this nation of ours should be willing to pay any price to preserve its freedom and its heritage under God.
GILBERT: Mrs. O'Hair, quickly.
O'HAIR: I wouldn't care to pay the price of one young man's life to defend what we are doing in Vietnam.
GILBERT: All right. I think we have about run out of time, ladies and gentlemen. It has been a most interesting hour. Our question has been, "Is Atheism the Religion of the future? As for who will win, you will to tune in tomorrow. I want to thank you for joining us, and our guest Madalyn Murray O'Hair and Dr. Carl McIntire to discuss the question, "Is Atheism the Religion of the Future. face to face. Thank you.