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Apr 05 2011

Questions I Need Answers to from Christians

How do you resolve the question of suffering? Why do so many people suffer for no apparent reason? Does anyone who doesn’t believe in Jesus go to hell? If it’s “free will”, why are we made so poorly in the first place?

Do you think homosexuals are evil? Is the bible literal? Do you think that committing genocide is OK (the flood)? Do you think evolution is false? How do you reconcile contradictions in the Bible? How do you see revelation, do you think the world is going to end and Jesus is going to come back? Should women be silent and obey men? Is polygamy OK or not?

Why do you believe in a god? Why do you believe specifically in the Christian god? Why is Christianity different than the thousands of other faiths that are incredibly similar?

Do you believe that government should be secular or faith based? How do you feel about capital punishment? Was Peter right or was Paul when it comes to the question of following the old laws? Can you wear cloth of mixed fiber? Is slavery OK, because the bible says that it is?

How can a god who is so constantly described as being jealous and having other human foibles and flaws also be described as perfect? How can he commit genocide and destroy cities and people in wrath and also be all-loving and good?

Where did Cain’s wife come from? Was it incest all the way down the ages? Do you think the earth is 6000 years old, like Bishop Usher said?

Why did Jesus kill the fig tree? Why is Judas condemned for doing the one thing absolutely necessary to lead to Jesus’ resurrection?

Do you agree with the church’s policy of torturing and killing Jews? Do you agree with the church’s support of Hitler? Do you agree with the church’s murder of innocent women accused of witchcraft? Do you believe in witchcraft? How do you think the guy who owned the pigs felt when Jesus infected them with demons and drove them off the cliff?

Why do you think the texts included in the New Testament are true and the ones excluded are not? Have you read the lost gospels, have you read the early gospels, have you done any historical research on the origin of the books in the bible? Why would God send his son to a place with a bunch of illiterate desert people instead of to the Chinese?

Do you think it’s reasonable to kill dozens of children for making fun of a bald guy? Is killing all innocent firstborn in Egypt reasonable? Is rape acceptable? Why does Jesus say he will return in the lifetime of his followers?

How can anyone with one of these horrible, painful, easily broken and incredibly gross human bodies possibly believe in “intelligent” design? Everyone’s body sucks. They get sick, they fail, they get old, they get flabby, with hair in places you don’t want, and often no hair in places you do want, it’s easily poisoned, depressed, scarred, destroyed, and doesn’t last very long. Add to that the millions of common diseases that make people miserable — allergies, asthma, diabetes, cancer, heart disease — and the minor irritations we face almost daily — bad vision, imperfect hearing, imperfect memory, itches, aches, indigestion, heartburn, constipation, sore feet, smelliness, and moodiness — how can anyone believe in a good god?

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  1. 1
    Nelson Rose

    Great questions. I’d like to see some of the answers as well.

  2. 2
    wally metts

    Thanks, Ashley, for your honest questions. Although I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t like the answers.

    Here is my (probably unsatisfying) answer to some of them:

    http://blog.thedaysman.com/2011/03/16/is-a-tsunami-an-act-of-god/

    I don’t think the religions are all incredibly similar, by the way. Christianity posits a creation in active rebellion and a God who is intentional in restoring a relationship with us, at the terrible price of his own son.

    At its core it is not a religion that maintains our way to God is working harder, or trying harder.

    Just recognizing our rebellion and accepting his extended hand.

  3. 3
    Ashley F. Miller

    How much of a sacrifice is it really to just have three bad days and know that you’ll have an eternity in heaven? I mean, does that even qualify as nearly as bad as the sum of most people’s suffering over the course of their life. If you knew you’d go to heaven, wouldn’t you happily go on the cross? And if you happily went, would it count as a sacrifice in any meaningful sense of the word?

    As terrible prices go, I’m most emphatically not impressed with God.

  4. 4
    Nelson Rose

    The whole original sin, god self-sacrificing atonement fable is just dogmatic nonsense. Christianity is a religion based on fear, not love. Believe or be damned to a lake of burning fire for all eternity.

    Really?

    The idea that the very creative power that sparked all existience and perpetuates the continual motion of the cosmos and cycles of life can actually be comprehendable to mankind is ridiculous.

    We’re just little specks of a dust in a vast universe. The idea that the same all-powerful deity could be out-witted by one of his pathetic creations (a serpent) is even more ridiculous.

    Am I to believe that a serpent spoke to a woman (serpents knew how to talk back then or was Eve a parselmouth like Harry Potter?) and convinced her that eating an apple (or obtaining the mere knowledge of good and evil) would completely de-rail the grand design?

    Am I to further believe that rather than disintegrate the snake, the Creator elevated the snake to an all-powerful evil deity that would rule the world and utimately force the Creator to take on a human form and “sacrifice himself” to save our pitiful souls from his fury?

    Really?

  5. 5
    Shamelessly Atheist

    God who is intentional in restoring a relationship with us, at the terrible price of his own son.

    I don’t buy any of what Christianity posits. It’s simply too ludicrous, and this is one of the major problems (aside from the obvious problem that there is not one shred of evidence for any deity, let alone the Christian version). Why any price would need to be paid? In fact, how does a human sacrifice do anything? Indeed, how can any deity that requires a human scapegoat be considered anything but absolutely evil? If god wants to forgive everyone’s sins (and I do not subscribe to the concept of sin), why not just forgive them? Why place conditions on this forgiveness? Indeed, such conditional love is abhorent.

    While Christianity tries to put a face of benevolence on itself, any analysis of its doctrines reveals quite the opposite. The problem of evil is insoluble unless the god in question is itself evil. For instance, William Lane Craig’s assumption that god is the ultimate good presents massive problems. Craig is on record as saying that the slaughter of the Canaanite children was a moral act because otherwise they would learn the wicked ways (and we have only the bible to attest to this).

    What Craig does not get is that ‘goodness’ is not a property like mass is to matter. ‘Goodness’ is a judgement of the acts of conscious agents based on consistency with a set of values and on its consequences. I can think of no situation where genocide (let alone the slaughter of children) could ever be considered ‘good’. Nor does it even cross Craig’s mind that adoption into the tribe was an option. So, if genocide is always a wrong act when humans perform it, does that change when a god orders it like the ultimate Mafia don? I think not.

    No, the Abrahamic god is not at all the loving, caring father figure it is pimped out to be. Not by a long shot. But that’s not why I’m an atheist. In fact, I’m very glad that monster does not exist. Even if there was evidence indicating that such a god existed, I would never worship something so underving. I’m an atheist because there is no evidence to support the proposition. Certainly, not because I’m “rebelling”. How can one rebel against that which does not exist?

  6. 6
    Shamelessly Atheist

    The whole original sin, god self-sacrificing atonement fable is just dogmatic nonsense.

    Indeed. Even the IRS isn’t THAT vindictive.

  7. 7
    Frederick

    So…explain to me why rebellion against god is unjustified, when the response to such rebellion is inarticulate genocide?

    I propose that rebellion against tyranny is a universal good – regardless of the relative power levels of the rebel and that which is rebelled against.

    For my part, I’m glad I can assume that god does not exist, for it relieves me of the duty to oppose him.

  8. 8
    David Duggins

    @wally

    You do realize that a good 95% of what you call Christianity was taken from the pagan rituals of the Romans? Yup. The Church building, the steeple, the stained glass. The altar and pews. The liturgy and the ritual. All of it. Christmas. That was a pagan holiday before the church decided to take it over. Easter? Yup. Biblically speaking, Christ was crucified on Passover. Passover is approximately one week after Easter. Not similar? If you look at Greek, Egyptian and Roman mythology the similarities to Christianity are astounding.

    @ashleyfmiller

    As a former Christian turned atheist, I can assure that 99% of all Christians don’t even realize that any of what you are asking are legitimate questions. Most of them do not know any thing about the bible or what it says. They think they do, but all they get is the water downed “sanitized” version in Sunday school. Most of them do not know that God was accustomed to testing his kings by having them go out and slaughtering entire races. (even killing the animals). Very few people even stop to consider where all the people came from in the beginning of Genesis.

    The key to understanding Christianity is understanding sin. Sin can be very simply described as disobeying God. That is all. So when God says “Thou shalt not Kill” He really means it…that is until He needs you to kill someone. (like I said, two kings were tested by being commanded to kill whole races…and when they didn’t they lost there thrones) “Honor Thy Father and Mother” You better…until He tells you otherwise (Jesus told his followers that they were to abandon their parents and follow him)

    See, all these things that look like they are inconsistencies….well they really are. ‘Cause “God’s Will” is really just whatever the will is of the current megalomaniac that claims to be listening to him at the time.

    And while we are on the subject of “intelligent design”….do you know what the statistics are for giving birth without modern Hospitalization? One in Four mothers die while giving birth, ’cause our damn heads are too big to come out. Yup. Those big ole brains that let us think and reason and all that are too big. If we had souls, wouldn’t they by definition make needing brains superfluous? That isn’t a very good design now is it? How about our universe. It seems to be the perfect universe…for the creation of black holes. In fact, you couldn’t have created a more perfect universe for the creation of black holes. Our very existence is just a side effect of all the black holes that the universe is churning out. So, if God created the universe….is he a black hole then? ‘Cause he certainly didn’t create this universe for us. =)

  9. 9
    Brian

    The most astonishing thing for me is—having grown up completely without religion—that these questions are somehow important or significant. I thought that people were generally intelligent until I read Dawkins’ “The God Delusion” and I realized that most people (Americans, rather) take religious issues seriously. I had no idea that a large proportion of voters think that some “higher” power affects their daily lives. I wish we didn’t have to talk about these things, but some people force the question, and I maintain that our best response is to deny that religion has anything at all to do with politics or public policy.

  10. 10
    Dean J. Smith

    I don’t think you missed much. I’ll wait until those are answered before commenting futher.

  11. 11
    http://www.kristahoward.com

    Questions I Need Answers to from Christians » Ashley Miller tllges

  1. 12
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