Philippines President Duterte Offers to Resign If Anyone Proves God Exists; Franklin Graham Responds

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte gestures while delivering a speech during the 115th Police Service Anniversary at the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Quezon city, metro Manila, Philippines August 17, 2016. | (Photo: REUTERS/Noel Celis/Pool)

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has offered to resign from his position if anyone can prove conclusively that God exists, in another provocation against Catholic clergy in the country.

Duterte made the statement last week at a science and technology event in Davao city, where the president criticized the concept of original sin and of infants needing to be baptized by the church, as reported by The Associated Press.

"Where is the logic of God there?" he asked.

Duterte vowed that if "one single witness" can prove that humans are "able to talk and to see God," such as through a picture or a selfie, then he will surrender the presidency.

Still, the leader said that he is not an atheist and that he does believe in God, at least in the form of a "supreme being" that governs the universe.

U.S. evangelist Franklin Graham responded to Duterte's controversial challenge by pointing to the words of the Bible. 

Graham, who has been rallying Christians to get more involved in politics in America, says that he "feels sorry" for Duterte and his thinking.

"God exists, and no one has to prove it. The Bible says there is no excuse for not understanding that He exists. He has made it evident and continues to reveal Himself," the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association CEO and president wrote on Facebook on Sunday.

"The Bible says, 'For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities — His eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse,' (Romans 1:20)," he added.

Duterte, who says that he was abused by a priest as a child, has made several controversial remarks about Christianity and the Catholic Church throughout his presidency. He has clashed with Catholics on issues relating to his support for the death penalty and his hard crackdown on drug dealers and users.

Late in June, he called God "stupid," based on the story of Adam and Eve's original sin.

"This son of a whore must really be stupid. You created some — something perfect and then you think of an event that would tempt and destroy the quality of your work," Duterte said at the time.

"How — how can you rationalize a God?" he asked.

In response to Duterte's comments, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines called for three days of prayer and fasting from July 17 to 19, also to shed light on the killings in the drug war.

The bishops explained that they are looking to invoke "God's mercy and justice on those who have blasphemed God's Holy Name, those who slander and bear false witness, and those who commit murder or justify murder as a means for fighting criminality in our country."

Follow Stoyan Zaimov on Facebook: CPSZaimov

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