According to the Baylor Religion Survey of US residents in 2007, 60.5% of those surveyed answered, “Absolutely,” when asked if angels existed. Another 20.9% said, “Probably.” Only 8.8% answered, “Absolutely not.” 55% of the respondents claimed they had been protected from harm by a guardian angel. You can explore other aspects of the survey results here.
Christian preachers like Billy Graham generally encourage belief in angels because angels are mentioned in the Bible. The angels mentioned are generally messengers of God, but angels also guarded the gate to the Garden of Eden and act as guardians to humans. Some preachers selfishly limit guardian angels to Christians. Now that would be a double whammy from the loving, Christian God. Unbelievers will have no protection from harm here on Earth and after death they will burn forever in hell.
The usual image of angels is in groups surrounding the Heavenly throne, singing God’s praises, in much the same way that Earthly kings are surrounded by their court and followers. The people in Earthly kingdoms are generally sycophants, fawning over the king and vying for a favored position. It is understandable that kings might want to feel that they are loved and adored by those around him, but why would God be that way? Does God have an ego that has to be fed by angels kissing up to Him?
As a child, I was told that I had a guardian angel, an invisible being that looked out for me and protected me. When I was injured, I was told that the injury would have been worse if the angel had not been protecting me.
This was in the 40s and 50s and the news that got to children was limited. Our family had a radio and we usually purchased a Sunday paper. I had little interest in listening to news programs on the radio and I do not recall ever reading the news section of the paper until I was in high school.
If I had read more than the comics in the newspaper, I might have had some questions about guardian angels. By way of testing, I pulled up a list of online newspaper archives for Minnesota. More or less at random, I found the front page of the Winona Daily News for Tuesday, June 1, 1950. I would have been 8-years-old at that time. A front-page article has the headline “Child Killed in Attack By ‘Friendly’ Hixton Dog.” The story describes a girl of four giving bread to a dog in Hixton, WI. The dog ‘went suddenly berserk’ and fatally mauled the child. Where was this child’s guardian angel?
In the February 1, 2013 Sioux Falls Argus Leader, Billy Graham is asked about angels and their activities. Billy’s reader says, “I know the angels were very much a part of Jesus' birth (for example, in making the announcements to Mary and the shepherds), but do they still do anything? Or are angels no longer active?” You can read all of Billy Graham's answer here.
Billy is in a difficult position in that he must defend the concept of angels due to their presence in the Bible. He does attempt to cover himself by stating that angels are generally invisible to humans. Billy says, “The Bible makes it clear that God's angels are still very much at work, although their ministry is largely unseen by us. Even when they take human form (as they can do on occasion), they may not be recognized as angels.”
Clearly, if these celestial beings WERE recognized as angels, it would make headlines, such as, “Angel prevents Hixton dog from killing child.” Or “Angel mediates peace between Israel and Arab neighbors.” Or “Angels supply clean water to millions in underdeveloped countries.” The places where angels could do good deeds are nearly endless, but the amount of good being done by angels seems to very close to zero.
Billy then takes a turn for the weird. He speaks of what the angels do, such as being messengers, but includes a strange statement: “I've heard reliable reports of people today who live in countries with no access to the Gospel, but who have come to Christ because of an angelic visitation or vision.”
Billy does not state what he means by reliable. He may consider a story to be reliable if another Christian preacher told it. I doubt Billy is asking for any kind of proof when he is told this kind of story.
If a story like this could be verified, it, too, would make the headlines. Consider a long-lost tribe of primitive people living on an inaccessible mountain or previously undiscovered island. When civilization finally makes contact, we find that the people practice a religion based on the belief that Jesus Christ is their personal savior. Even a tribe that practices Judaism would be a sensation. It has never happened. Every primitive tribe discovered by civilization has its own particular and unique religion. It is almost as if each isolated band of humans creates their own gods and worship practices. It is almost as if there is no God guiding these people or sending angels to tell them about Jesus.
It would appear that the only real angels that exist are the rich ones who invest in theatrical productions.
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