Larry King is known for many things. He has been on radio and television since 1957, interviewing thousands of guests over the decades. He has been married eight times to seven women and recently filed for divorce from his seventh wife.
He calls himself an “agnostic atheist,” which is an interesting and contradictory description. An “agnostic” is someone who does not know (or says we cannot know) whether God exists; an “atheist” is someone who claims with certainty that he does not.
King is now opening up about his views on life after suffering a near-fatal stroke in March 2019. He told People magazine, “I have less fear of dying now.” He added: “I’m 86 and it is what it is. I just want to keep working until the end. I’d like to die at work—I’ll retire right there!”
He has no plans to slow down. “I’m very proud of what I do,” he says. “And I’m a good father—nothing beats parenthood. There’s an element of pinching myself every day. Look at what I’ve come through. All in all if you look at it, I’ve had a blessed life.”
The correlation between Larry King’s irreligiosity and his views on death is not surprising. According to surveys, at least 80 percent of religious Americans believe hell exists, while fewer than 5 percent of non-religious Americans agree.
The reality of hell and urgency of love
God’s word is much clearer on the subject than public opinion: “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15). Those whose names are “written in the book of life” are those who have trusted in Christ as their Lord (Luke 10:20; Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5).
As a result, those who most deny the reality of hell are those who are most likely to go there.
This is one of Satan’s most effective strategies. If he can convince people that there are no eternal consequences to their rejection of God’s saving love, they are much more likely to persist in their unbelief. If I rejected the reality of polio, why would I get vaccinated for it?
This is a conundrum for Christians.
If we simply warn Larry King and millions of people like him of their eternal peril, we are more likely to be seen as puritanical alarmists than as sympathetic fellow humans. If, however, we build relational bridges to those who need a relationship with Jesus, we earn the right to be heard.
Like Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well, our personal compassion leads to a much more effective telling of biblical truth (John 4).
You may never get the chance to help Larry King meet his Savior, but you probably know someone in his spiritual condition.
Will you begin praying for them by name?
Will you work to earn the right to share God’s love with them?
Will you then take the risk to show them the only way they can spend eternity with our Father?
To be “lost” by definition is not to know the way to be found. The lost people we know are no more lost than we were before someone led us to Jesus.
Now it’s our turn to pay forward the grace we have received. With whom will you share this gift today?