22 Questions for Christians

By Larry Rhodes | 28 May 2015
Digital Freethought Blog

It’s funny that whenever I tell a believer that I’m an atheist, they always start asking me questions. I don’t really mind, I realize that I might very well be the first atheist that they’ve ever met, and I’m happy to put the lie to some of the church-given notions about us. However, what continues to amaze me is that these questioners, who are VERY happy to question my beliefs, so rarely question their own.

With that in mind, I have drawn up several questions that I would like believers (in this case Christian believers) to ponder. And it’s not for my own edification that I ask them, but for theirs. I hope that if they honestly consider these questions they might realize for themselves just how much of their own skepticism and rationality they have been sidelining.

So, let’s get started:

1. What, exactly, is your basis for believing that the Bible is True; not necessarily the word of god, but true? Remember, your answer can’t be “Because the Bible says it’s true”, ANY book would be true by that measure, and any religion would be true by that measure. They can’t ALL be true because they contradict each other. Further, if you’ve read it, you know that it’s not a good book; that is, god doesn’t exactly set a good example. He’s a ruthless dictator and the book is full of His atrocities.

Is it just because your parents told you that it was true? And that most of the people you know think that it is true? Really, think about it, what real, extra-biblical basis do you have to believe it is the work of a God? And if you’re considering answering “I just feel that it’s true”, go ready my article entitled “Feelings aren’t facts”.

2. In the Bible, in the Garden of Eden, if the fruit of the Tree-of-Knowledge contains the knowledge of Good/Evil and Right/Wrong, then how could Adam and Eve have known it was “wrong” to disobey God and eat the fruit before they did? They couldn’t have known what right and wrong meant. Also if God had explained to Adam and Eve what right and wrong was before they ate of the fruit so that they would understand why it was wrong to eat the apple, then wouldn’t He have essentially given them the Knowledge that he had just forbidden them to have? Remember; THIS is the Original Sin, the basis for the need for salvation in all of Christianity.

Moreover, why did God put the Tree-of-Knowledge in the Garden of Eden in the first place? Especially if He knew what was going to happen? Isn’t he supposed to know everything that will ever happen? It would have been so easy just to place it on the other side of the world; or on the Moon for that matter.

3. How could an All-Loving God send ANYONE to hell? Remember, He is supposed to love us more than any parent ever loved their child; and note that He isn’t using Hell as a remedial, instructional punishment like a parent punishes; a parent punished a child in order to teach them to behave better. Here, God is punishing sinners just for the sake of inflicting pain and suffering forever. There is no lesson to be learned or benefited from, with this type of punishment. How is this a god of love?

And really, which is worse, Hitler killing 10,000,000 people (Jews, Homosexuals, atheists, gypsies, etc.) or God keeping hundreds of millions of people alive just to torture them for eternity; some simply for not believing in Him, or even a particular version of Him? According to the teachings of Christianity, all of the Jews that Hitler tortured and killed were then promptly sent to Hell for not believing that Jesus was the Christ/Savior; and according to the Bible, these are God’s Chosen People!

4. If God is All Loving, how could He allow Children to get cancer? Heck compared to God, ANYONE on earth would have more love and compassion for children. I can’t imagine a single human that would intentionally give cancer to a child, or even ALLOW them to get cancer if they could prevent it.

Also, in a court of law, if you know about a crime that is about to be committed, and don’t try to report or prevent it, you’re considered an accessory to that crime. That would mean that God, and Jesus, who know everything that is about to happen, are accessories to every child-murder, rape or kidnapping that happens anywhere on the planet.

5. Why did an All-Loving God create Evil? (Isaah Chapter 45:7) Or for that matter, allow the King of Evil, Satan, to live amongst us, with super powers to boot! How are we, as mere mortals, supposed to know what is true if Satan is there to plant false evidence and create illusions to fool us? You can’t conclusively say that he didn’t create the Bible itself. If you compare God and Satan based just on their atrocities in the bible, Satan would come out looking pretty good! The only people in the Bible that Satan killed were Job’s family, and then only when God said it was Ok.

6. How could God make the eating of shellfish and ham, or a woman wearing a man’s clothing, abominations? Not just dangerous, but abominations!? That puts them right up there with homosexuality.

7. How could an All-Loving God command his chosen people to kill babies, and children? (Hosea 13:16, Sash 13:15-18, etc.)

8. If I only have to have Faith to believe, how do I know what to believe? Every different sect of Christianity (and indeed, every religion) says I have to have Faith to believe that what they say is true. And if having Faith MAKES it true, then why not make up your own new religion, one without a hell, and have faith in that!?

9. How could Satan think that he could have a revolt against someone who is All-Knowing and All-Powerful? How could there even BE a war in Heaven, when God would know about it before hand, and could just snap His fingers and wipe out all opposition?

10. Why did God try to kill Moses right after sending him on the mission to free the Jews from Egypt? (Exodus 4:24-26) And THEN why did a foreskin-ectomy by Moses’ wife stop him?

11. For that matter, what’s with God’s obsession with foreskins? Isn’t God supposed to be a perfect being? Why would a perfect being design men with foreskins, then command us to cut it off!? (Not to mention that the creator and ruler of the universe should have more important things to worry about.)

12. Why did God send Moses to Egypt to free the Jews, and then “harden Pharaoh’s heart” (Exodus 7:3) so that he would not let the Jews leave, thereby making it necessary to set his 10 plagues loose on Egypt? Doesn’t that pretty much negate Pharaoh’s free-will in the matter, and punish all the people of Egypt because of it?

13. Why would God condemn his own son to torment and death at the hands of the people that He was planning to forgive anyway? Why not just forgive them? Was that not in his power? Indeed, according to Christianity, what is NOT in his power?

14. If God is constantly curing illnesses through prayer, and faith-healers, why can’t He re-grow an arm, or a leg? You never see that happen. Also, it seems that the cures that we are told DO happen are always internal, and therefore unverifiable. If he really loved us and wanted us to believe in Faith healers, why doesn’t he command his faith healers to go to hospitals and heal the people there?

15. Why does God let Catholic priests victimize our children? Do you think that those children are not praying for it to stop? Why doesn’t god DO something about it? Tracy Harris of the Atheist-Experience out of Austin, TX, said, “If I could stop a person from raping a child I would. That’s the difference between me and your god.” That doesn’t say much for your god, but it stands to reason if god is evil, or if there IS no god.

16. Why does God let Televangelists take money, in His name, from the sick, old and infirm who cannot afford it, and who will suffer because of it?

17. If God is everywhere, then where the heck was He when the Serpent was tempting Eve? Was he just playing games with humanity at the time of their greatest crisis? What kind of person would do that?

18. If Christians are forgiven, and they know they will be forgiven no matter what they do, why should they refrain from doing evil? Atheists don’t have that expectation for forgiveness, and they don’t go around killing and stealing. They know they have to live with the consequences of their actions, in the real world; and that it’s the only world they’re going to get.

19. How can God blame us for our imperfections when He made us that way? That is, if he didn’t want us constantly fornicating, then why did he make our sex-drive so strong? The Bible says that homosexuality is a sin and an abomination, so why did he create people that way? NO, it’s not a choice. Their sexual-orientation is no more a choice than yours is. How easy would be for you to reverse your sexual orientation?

20. How can God be surprised or angered by anything we do when He’s supposedly all-knowing? And why does God get angry, and demand vengeance when we succumb to the weaknesses that He put in us in the first place? This would mean He’s not all loving AND that He is subject to human emotions.

21. If God tells you to do something horrible like he did with Abraham and “Son of Sam” would you do it? Or rather, wouldn’t you think that this order can’t be from GOD, God is good, and this is an awful thing to do.

The following is from If God is dead, is everything permitted? By Elizabeth Anderson:

Kant advances a moral criterion for judging the authenticity of any supposed revelation. If you hear a voice, or some testimony purportedly revealing god’s word, and it tells you to do something you know is wrong, don’t believe that it’s really god telling you to do these things.

I believe that Kant correctly identified the maximum permissible moral limits of belief in extraordinary evidence concerning god. These limits require that we reject the literal truth of the bible.

My colleague James Tappenden argues that such a liberal approach to faith is theologically incoherent. Perhaps it is. Still, given a choice between grave moral error and theological muddle, I recommend theological muddle every time.

That is, if you “receive” a thought that is theoretically from God, judge it for its moral worth. If it’s not good, it’s not from god. (Remember, to Theists, GOD isn’t the only supernatural being that has the ability to put thoughts in your head.) Doing this shows that our own morals prevail over a “revelation” from a supposed deity. Also, if we judge the Bible by these criteria, it would be shown that major portions of the Bible have to be rejected; as the passages could not be from a good God. How much of the Bible would we have to throw away then?

22. If this life is infinitesimally short, and the next one eternally long, then why should we try to DO anything other than “praise the lord” while we’re here? Why go to school or pursue a college education? Why do anything other than just study the Bible and wait? Would you have us all be like the “Holy Men” of India, or Monks of the old world, who do nothing but study scriptures?

If so, you might as well turn off your computer and TV. Park your car, and throw away your cell phone. Modern society would soon crumble into dust. The entire world would revert back to medieval times (or before). Doctors would no longer have colleges to go to, all scientific research would stop, and all other training would end.

Reprinted with permission from the author.

Larry S. Rhodes was born into a Christian family, but is now a 40-year Atheist. He is the Founder and President of the Atheists Society of Knoxville as well as the President of the Rationalists of East Tennessee. For 4 years he was the Executive Producer of Freethought Forum, a public access call-in Atheist TV show that is still airing. He is also the author of Atheism: What’s it all about?.

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32 COMMENTS

  1. The only thing
    I can tell you without reservation is that there are powers in the universe, that seem to be intelligently directed, in which my mind my played had no part in creating, that have both saved my life on occasion and directed me to better paths of life, merely upon my request and further belief that it would happen. Faith works, mate. I can’t tell you why God does what He does or even why He does it..I just accept the fact that my mind is finite, and there other intelligence’s keener than mine that could well be infinite.

    • Hi! Um, I kinda skimmed through it a little bit (I didn't have time to read the absolute thing, but I kinda just read a few paragraphs, scrolled, then read some more paragraphs) but I kinda have a question: why /shouldn't/ we question God? I mean, there is no proof that he exists (from my point of view, at least, as an atheist. Feel free to prove me wrong aside from "because the Bible blah blah". I'm genuinely curious.)

      • Who says you cannot question God? read your bible or let somebody that does have bible help you out. As an atheist please take some time to actually read, you use commentary made others as your own.
        1 Thessalonians 5: 21
        “Test all things; hold fast what is good”

      • Hello Samantha,

        I would start by researching everything in the bible that has been proven incorrect. Unfortunately, this will be a very short search for you because there is nothing in the bible that has ever been proven incorrect. As a matter of fact, there have been numerous archaeological finds that have proven the real life events of the bible to be true and accurate. For example, they have found archeological evidence of the walls of Jerico. Please remember that there is an element of faith because God wants us to freely choose Him. If He revealed himself completely, there would be no choice. Finally, I always love the question why would a loving God send someone to hell. God is loving, merciful, gracious and all of those beautiful things; however, He is also a righteous and just God. SO if you do not accept (thereby love Him) He will condemn you to hell. That simple. Please do your research and read the bible it has the answers you are looking for. I will close with this, if I am wrong (which I am not) living as a Christian makes me a better person because the bible commands me to do all things in love. If you are wrong you spend an eternity in hell.

    • Lol this response :") it's funny what Christians will go to to defend "God" In a nutshell, you're a fragile human, just like the rest of us, incapable of being certain of anything, not even your own existence. Yeah it's fine to be religious to find contentment in fear of death. Plus we don't all want to face the harsh reality of rotting away unconsciously never to rise again. That's just life, it ends, that's an experience.Not to mention living for eternity would f–king suck?! Unless of course you're afraid. "ALL MIGHTY GOD THANKYOU FOR EVERYTHING YOU DO, PRAISE JESUS " plus obeying to all the religious practices like COME ON lol. It's pretty f–king obvious you're trying to gain a ticket to "heaven" Not to mention once you start practising Christianity it's like "Oh, shit hell is terrifying better worship god 24/7 like a slave peasant whos going to die in 40 years anyway" This shit makes me laugh. Why can't humans just be content with this experience they have and make the most of it. Stop striving for afterlife xx

      • you have it wrong true believers don't fear death! it comes down YOU MUST READ A BIBLE, it is pretty f–king obvious you are not!

        • Are you Christian? Because if you are, God didn’t call us to act this way.

          Also, in response to the original comment, many Christians do it because they have a legitimate relationship with God, not just because they want a reward. The moment you accept Jesus into your life, He frees you completely from death. He expects us to follow His law out of gratitude and love, not just out of fear. God bless.

          Don’t just take my word for it. Take the word of the thousands of true believers who share the experience and have had their lives changed as a result. I’m sure you’ve heard the stories: God freeing people from drug addictions, lives of crime, and mental illnesses. These people certainly follow Him out of love, not fear. And I’m confident that if you were to put aside your bias against God and accept Jesus into your heart, your fears would melt away and you would joyfully follow Him.

      • ok, but like…What is there to lose?
        Either, it is ALL true, or ALL false. I choose to believe true, other choose to believe false and, fair enough. BUT
        what is there to lose? say, it's all false. very valid thought.
        As a christian (if its all false) I wouldn't regret a thing. I lived a life trying to be the best person I could be. I had a peace that (I thought came form god) others did not, a joy and a hope for the future. I put my trust in something bigger then myself and felt I had a purpose in this life. I had a wonderful church family that loved me etc. I die. Noting happens. I wouldn't regret a thing! Yeah, it would be a little dissapotining, but I wouldn't even know that I had missed out on this great thing. I lead a wonderful life with joy, peace, trust and love.

        OR

        its all true. I get to experience a wonderful heaven with love and peace and joy…more then we could ever imagine! Or, if your not a chritisan (I believe) and haven't accepted Jesus as your lord and saviour then…sadly you go to Hell. Wouldn't you regret it FOREVER that??

        they way I see it I either have absolutely everything to lose…or noting at all…
        and, worshiping god is freeing, it doesn't tie you down. If a child was reaching for a lemon, the father wouldn't give it to her. he knows it isn't good for her no matter how badly she wants it. she doesn't understand why a loving father isn't giving her what she wants but ultimately he is being so much more loving not giving it to her. No one can argue that drinking lots, having sex every other night or stealing makes you, or your life, better. I don't see it as rules I have to follow. its a guidance to keep me safe and help me live a freeing life.

  2. Why would a god murder thousands of people including Innocent children and babies in a great flood? He didn’t like what he had made so did he want a “do over”? He made a mistake so he had to murder all creatures? Can you imagine how horrible it would be to drown, gasping for every breath. How can anyone worship a god who would do that?

    • Exodus 20:13 “You shall not murder.
      Deuteronomy 5:17 ‘You shall not murder.
      Matthew 15:19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies

      READ……….YOUR……….BIBLE……………apologies do you know how to read?

  3. If people would explore what Gnostics have already figured out, all these questions could be answered in a very satisfying way. To start, they figured out a very long time ago that the god of the old testament is NOT the Ultimate Prime Creator of All That Is but is a creator god of this world made of very dense vibrations as in matter. Also a satisfying answer to the whole creation myth that is so misunderstood to where most think humans committed “the original sin” therefore we caused all the suffering in this world from that point on. Nope.
    Lucifer is NOT satan.
    Jehova is just one of the names for the creator god as well as Yahweh, not names of the God above god.
    Gnostic.org
    godabovegod.com
    Happy researching! :)

    • Yahweh, God, Allah…. One and Only true GOD of Abraham and his family. One God, 3 interpretations based on Prophecies. in Judaism 3 great Law givers Noah, Abraham, Moses. In Christianity add Jesus. In Islam add Mohammed. Each religion has hundreds some times thousands of SECTS. Each at war with each other over who's interpretations are correct. In Christianity we have had bloody wars between Catholics vs Lutheran. Anglican vs Catholic. Eastern vs Western. We have had Catholics murder en mass anyone who does not adhere to their Laws and how many times have Christians killed en mass JEWS when they are GODS CHOSEN PEOPLE…? …. When the Muslim children pray to Allah to stop the American Christians bombing their homes and schools does God listen and ACT?? Does God have favourites? Kinda funny hey when you start breaking all religions down. We have had 2000 years of Jew, Christian, Muslim wars over the SAME GOD OF ABRAHAM.

  4. IT was taught that god is all loving and all knowing, if that was true then why would he bother in creating hell? And to mention that it wasn't satan who made it but this all loving go.

  5. The actual time wasted by atheist , denying God, is time wasted being useful. How many atheist actually read the bible in its entirety? NONE, but yet you want to start debates, debating without facts??? that is the same as starting a debate with an astronaut on space, and he actually went to space?? The biggest disadvantage of the enlightenment period, every Tom, Dick and Harry, thinks he is Plato. Let me tell you the biggest secret of the Bible, one it is not a history book, but that is above your free thinking! so i will skip to point two; DO YOU KNOW WHY CHRISTIANS BELIEVE?
    If Jesus was the Love of God, His Mercy and that is what we believe. And if you as atheist deny that, then that is your believe, agree? Tell me this why does the Bible not deny the scoffers (atheists)? In all honesty, a true atheist does not believe at all, agree? He will not argue any points or make any comments, what is the point, it does not exist. There is a fine line between egocentric, loving your own Plato moment, and atheism.

    In today's life, have any Christian ever seen God, No. Has any Christian ever here is voice, No. The Truth, because you feel His presence, the Holy Spirit.
    John 14: 16 to 17
    “16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”

    Similarly, I cannot deny your feelings as an atheist towards a love one, wife, husband, kids, etc. You know the truth, who can deny that? Nobody, How can I challenge your love for your family, if I can not feel it. Atheist, take time off, to climb down from your throne, start living in the real world, this la la land you all created around you will crumble.

    P.S. What ever the expert says on television, after the biggest news breaks in mankind history, don't believe him. If he was an expert he wouldn't have missed it, search for yourself the truth

  6. Being an atheist is quite another path of ‘free will’. It is pretty good to conceive that ones free will negates spirituality or divine truths.
    “The fools says there is no God”.(Psalm 14 vs 1).
    Even nature itself teaches man that there is a supernatural being who had designed the world which we inhabits. The Bible is so true in the extent that its prophecies had manifested in the past ages and are still manifesting in the ‘today-world’. Of course, one would ask(notably an atheist) why/how would all-loving God send one to hell? This is a no question in christendom, in that it is evident that God sends no one to hell, rather one goes to hell by choice. The means by which man will escape hell had been created by God in Christ Jesus, hence rejecting to follow the already-made way is to choose hell as place of abode after life. The love of God should not be contrasted with those in hell, rather compare his love for them in christ which they rejected and choosed to live as though they were not God.

  7. My personal opinion is this: Most non believers don’t understand the Bible, it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve read it. Most of them don’t understand. How I come with this thought? Cuz all the answer of your repeated questions are all in the bible

  8. One more question. If praying for others to be cured of disease really works, then the conclusion to which one would have to arrive is that an all loving, all powerful God allows some people to die simply because not enough people prayed for them to live.

  9. I don’t believe Christians never question their religion because I do it all the time,..and I ALWAYS find answers to my questions by asking God for the answers and studying the Bible, (I’ve even found evolution and Lucy the hominid in the Bible). But I feel like even if I give answers to all your questions you are not going to believe it anyways. Christianity is not a cage, to me it is liberating lifestyle, its not just a bunch of rules to follow, its a lifetime contract between me and God that state that as long as you are under his wing, he be with you in the good time and he will be with you in the stormy days as well (I’m a testimony), All you need to do is ask and more importantly have faith (that means don’t doubt God). There is one time I remember God not answering my prayers and right now I’m glad he didn’t.

  10. Q : Why do innocent children have to suffer with terminal diseases such as cancer? What part of ‘God’s plan’ is this exactly?
    A : If God healed a child’s sickness then he would also have to heal all sicknesses right? or there would be no equality and people would say “he is not a fair God” Then there would be no sickness anymore in this world and there would be no doctors because he healed everyone. Now people would say why won’t he feed the hungry? If he feeds a hungry person then he also needs to feed every hungry person right? or there would be no equality again. Then there would be no more farmers. Until there’s no more problem and we are all jobless and just waiting for him to solve our problems.
    We always blame everything on him when in reality; it is our own fault that we are in this mess.

    Q: How could an All-Loving God send ANYONE to hell? Remember, He is supposed to love us more than any parent ever loved their child
    A: He already gave us a first chance; He wiped out all the evil of this world with the flood and spared Noah the righteous. But humans are just too sinful of their ways, so He gave us a second chance He gave us Christ Jesus to carry the sins of this world and save us. He made it easier for us. We just need to accept him. He gave us a bible, he gave us a lifetime to repent. We already know what is right from wrong; we have free will, but no. We never learn, so don’t go blaming it on him. God sends no one to hell; ONE GOES TO HELL BY CHOICE. God already gave us an escape from hell, and that is through Christ Jesus. Hence rejecting Jesus Christ is also rejecting an escape from hell. One goes there by choice.

    Q: Why does God let Catholic priests victimize our children? Do you think that those children are not praying for it to stop? Why doesn’t god do something about it?
    A: If God always intervened with what we do then there would be no free will would it? Have you watched Death Note? If God killed that priest then everyone who does wrong should also be killed right? Then there would be fear among the people from doing sins. People now would obey him out of fear, not out of love. That’s not what God wants.

    I can answer all these questions but there's not enough space to do it.

  11. Scripture read like novels only leads to confusion. The questionnaire is just as bad as those giving answers, they both are childish in their statements. To speak of G-d as though you are speaking of someone like a human person is to disrespect the creator. This is the language of ignorance and it is so literal that it doesn't make sense. Why don't you question the ocean and ask why can't human travel or tread it waters without drowning tm. The language of scripture is not the colloquial language of people…

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