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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    52 COMMENTS

    1. Good article, but is it not time that you get over the big lie that Hitler killed 10 000 000 people. 61 million people died in the 2nd WW, who killed the 51 000 000 then, or was that war fatalities? You are discrediting yourself with this obvious bias. I will read all future articles with caution.

    2. You really do not know how to read the Bible
      I only read part of your pathethik questions. No use trying to explain to you, waste of time
      The answers that l should give you will only confuse you more than you already are. The factes you are mechening is as far away from the truth as you are completely lost.Have you ever tried talking to n true Christian???do no sound like that. Seem to me you are a true liberal who want to lay down this one guidelines that suit you. You are not even a dustparicle in universe and now you have the odasity to try and teach GOD how things must be doem. By the way talking of the garden of eden a mith that never exsisted
      Talk to real Chtistian that will enlighten you and put you on the right track. I will pray for you
      And the reso n for that is momn knolide
      ..
      You reley

        • you cannot prove our god exists. you also cannot prove the big bang theory. there essentially is no way we can prove our existence or how we came to be. but i will explain these questions in a minute maybe this will help you see.

      • No one is completely lost, and we should never give someone up as lost because then what hope do they have? Our job as Christians is to bring others to the faith with reverence and respect, like the Bible says in 1st Peter 3:15-17: "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil."
        Instead of attacking them for not believing, actually make an effort to help him believe.
        I will be praying for you both.

    3. Never – NEVER – go through this routine with theists!!

      Demand that they prove their god – WITHOUT the lying books…!

    4. There are very good answers to your questions. If you seek them sincerely looking for truth, you will find them. I’m only a 3 year old Christian and I can answer 90% of those questions rather thoroughly. Do not be deceived by false Christians. Your soul is far too valuable. In short, the root to many of your questions is you fail to realize the premise of the Bible that God not only gave us free will but also the choice to rebel against Him. We did, and this this world is at war with Him. But because it is not His desire that any should perish, He made a way for any who are willing to turn away from their rebellion and sin to avoid hell which we choose for ourselves (He doesn’t send us there, it is the logical necessity for those who reject the source of life and the source of all goodness). Repentance is necessary, so forgiveness can not truly be used as a cover to do harm. Without God many of the atrocities you rightly hate in this world will go unpunished. With God there will be perfect justice. What justice do you deserve? Have you lied, stolen, hated/hurt people? If we are honest with ourselves we all have sinned against God and we are going to be judged justly and we are all in trouble on our own heading for hell. But God does not want any to go to hell, so He made a way for us to be forgiven and receive the free gift of everlasting life. It wasn’t always pretty, but God did what He had to do to raise up a nation out of a purely evil world to pave a path for the Savior. What we must do to inherit eternal life is repent of our sins and put our trust (not intellectual belief) in Jesus like we would a parachute. The moment we do that we pass from death to life, and God gives us a new heart with new desires to pursue righteousness. Your questions are excellent, but I urge you to listen to your conscience and your will to live and seek genuinely what the answers are to all your questions and repent and trust in Jesus. You are in the deception of Satan, and there are answers. The Bible is not only perfectly harmonious even tho it was written by 40+ authors, but history, archeology, science, logic, and prophecy reveal the Bible is true. Look at the nation of Israel and ask a Bible scholar about all the prophecies regarding the nation. My response is just the tip of the iceberg. How confident are you that God doesn’t exist? I am extremely confident He does, I do not have blind faith, I have studied many many doubts I have had and I do ask myself all these types of questions and God has literally reconciled all my doubts. This is your eternity, you cannot afford to be wrong! So be sure! You might know 1% of all knowledge. Is it possible in the other 99% that there is ample evidence for God’s existence? Seek the truth, and seek God with all your heart and He will reveal Himself to you. :)

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