A list of 40 questions against Christianity is circulating on the web, the article seems to have been “updated” last year, perhaps more were added or changed. The article was written by a man named Thomas Swan. The article is divided into several sections, I will attempt to answer all 40 in this post. The questions themselves are not that difficult, there are some in a particular section dealing with “Why did God do this instead of that” such questions can be asked ad infinitum and some can only be answered with a simple “Because He’s God.”
Nevertheless, this post today is more like an answer key. Perhaps these questions were plaguing a new Christian. Keep in mind my answers may vary and probably do from other Christians, I would also say some questions have more than one answer.
To quote the article:
Asking a difficult question can achieve better results because it taps into the Christian’s desire to share the wisdom they perceive themselves to have. Any reflex for angry disagreement is quashed and replaced by an obligation to think their answer through. Ultimately, thought is what an atheist should be trying to elicit. By asking the right questions, one can determine the direction that such thought takes.
OK, getting into question number one:
Regarding World Religion:
If a hundred different religions have to be wrong for yours to be right, does this show that people from all over the world like to invent gods that don’t exist?
The truth of Christianity is not dependent on other religions “being wrong”, no other religion has to even exist for Christianity to be right. Christianity is true because Jesus rose from the dead. Not because Islam and Hinduism are untrue. Again, other religions being wrong is not what makes us right. If anything, those religions are wrong because Christianity is right, not the other way around.
In regards to the question of whether some religions like to invent gods that don’t exist, I would say what Paul said, that what the gentiles sacrifice to they sacrifice to devils, and not to God. (1 Corinthians 10:20) And so what they worship “not existing” is not quite correct.
If your parents had belonged to a different religion, do you think you would belong to that religion too?
Maybe. What has this to do with the truthfulness of a religion? Ultimately I believe God would have had me become a Christian anyway. This question ignores the vast majority of people born into other religions that become Christians.
If people from the five major religions are told conflicting information by their respective gods, should any of them be believed?
Yes, how does each religion teaching something different mean they’re all wrong?
How can you tell the voice of God from a voice in your head?
Since I don’t believe God still speaks audibly to people, and in Scripture God is never a “voice in someone’s head” I would say any voice in my head is obviously not God.
Would you find it easier to kill someone if you believed God supported you in the act?
Why would I believe God wanted me to kill someone when He said in the first place thou shalt not kill? We are not waging war against Caananites, so this question is anachronistic.
I might rephrase this question though:
“Would a person find killing someone easier if they were an executioner and they believed the state supported them in the act?”
If God told you to kill an atheist, would you?
Again, God doesn’t speak audibly to people anymore. Ultimately if an omniscient Being says to do something, I would say He has a good reason. (Killing young Hitler for example) But no, I wouldn’t because it wouldn’t be God telling me to.
When an atheist is kind and charitable out of the kindness of his heart, is his behavior more or less commendable than a religious man who does it because God instructed him to?
The very concept of having a kind and charitable heart is questionable to begin with (Jeremiah 17:19) however, I would say doing something out of faith in Someone you cannot see is just as commendable.
If you are against the Crusades and the Inquisition, would you have been burned alive as a heretic during those events?
The Crusades were not against people “against” crusading. I don’t want control of Jerusalem, and I’m not a Jihadist, so I don’t think I’d be much of a target. In regards to the Inquisition, I’m not Roman Catholic so make of that what you will.
Either way, this has no bearing on the truth of Christianity.
If your interpretation of a holy book causes you to condemn your ancestors for having a different interpretation, will your descendants condemn you in the same way?
Huh?? When do I condemn my ancestors? And if my descendant do so what? I’m Italian so my ancestors probably worshiped the Roman gods and Caesars. For that I condemn them.
Rape wasn’t always a crime in the Middle East two thousand years ago. Is that why `do not rape’ is not part of the Ten Commandments?
See Deuteronomy 22:23-29. Rape was always a crime, it just had different penalties depending on the situation. Since marriage was a command for nearly all Jewish men, and “Thou shalt not commit adultery” IS one of the ten commandments, I think not raping is pretty clear here.
Do animals need `god-given’ morality to understand how to care for their young, co-operate within a pack, or feel anguish at the loss of a companion? Why do we?
No, but animals also eat their young, kill each other for food, and a large variety of other interesting behaviors including rape. I would not use animals as a pattern for human behavior, therefore we need another Law Giver.
If an organized religion requires a civilization in which to spread, how could this civilization exist without first having a moral code to make it civil?
Revealed religion and “moral code” is not synonymous. There are universal morals known to all. This is a non question. I might ask the atheist how these universal moral absolutes can be in their worldview.
An all-knowing God can read your mind, so why does he require you to demonstrate your faith by worshiping him?
He doesn’t… God knows my faith by looking at my heart. I worship Him because He’s God, not to prove something. He doesn’t require worship to prove faith, but worship is a natural result of faith in God.
If God is all-knowing, why do holy books describe him as surprised or angered by the actions of humans? He should have known what was going to happen, right?
If you know you’re child is going to break a vase in the next ten minutes, even though you repeatedly told the child not to, would you not be angered? In regards to God being surprised, I would need to see some Biblical reference indicating this, though I will say God displays anthropomorphized characteristics as a way of an eternal infinite Being relating to temporal spatial creatures.
If God is all-knowing, then why did he make humans, knowing that he’d eventually have to send Jesus to his death?
God made all things for His pleasure (Revelation 4:11) I a mortal man am in no position to question this. Ultimately though, God through Christ’s death and resurrection has displayed what an amazing God He is, dying for His creatures, and conquering death on top of that.
Why did a supposedly omnipotent God take six days to create the universe, and why did he require rest on the seventh day?
As a pattern for the human work/rest relationship. He could have taken 3 seconds but He didn’t for our benefit.
Is omnipotence necessary to create our universe when a larger, denser universe would have required more power?
Huh?? I thought the universe was without a true edge so how can we have a “larger” universe? Ultimately we would need such a universe to compare ours to. What is meant by “larger and denser” is not specified.
Why are Churches filled with riches when Jesus asked his followers to give their wealth away?
He asked the young ruler to give his wealth away, and that was to prove a point. Ultimately though, I do agree that many American churches spend too much money on bells and whistles. This has no bearing on the truth of Christianity however.
While in the desert, Jesus rejected the temptations of the Devil. He didn’t censor or kill the Devil, so why are Christians so in favor of censoring or condemning many Earthly temptations?
What is meant by “censoring earthly temptations”? We are not God incarnate so it would make sense to stay away from stuff that could cause us to trip up.
Given that the story of Noah’s Ark was copied almost word-for-word from the much older Sumerian Epic of Atrahasis, does this mean that our true ruler is the supreme sky god, Anu?
Word for word? The flood epics of the Sumerians are hardly “word for word” in that they have many gods flooding the earth, or arks shaped like cubes. Ultimately, I believe these tales are deriving from a common source. In others words, a flood actually DID happen.
The next one is probably my favorite question.
If your desire is to convert atheists so that they become more like you, do you think that you’re currently better than them?
Yeah, that’s why I want atheists to become Christians. So they’re just like me…right.
If religious people don’t respect their children’s right to pick their own religion, how can society expect religious people to respect anyone’s right to freedom of religion?
I wouldn’t respect my children’s right to pick their own food, drive the car, or watch adult channels on TV either. This is hardly to be compared to society.
If missionaries from your religion should be sent to convert people in other countries, should missionaries from other religions be sent to your country for the same reason?
If children are likely to believe in Santa Claus and fairies, does this explain why religion has been taught to children for thousands of years?
Does this explain why children are taught evolution in school? See where this is going?
When preachers and prophets claim to be special messengers of God, they often receive special benefits from their followers. Does this ever cause you to doubt their intentions?
When you declare a miracle, does this mean you understand everything that is possible in nature?
No, but one only needs to understand the things which are already established through science. In other words, dead men don’t come back to life naturally.
If a woman was cured of cancer by means unknown to us, and everyone declared it a miracle, would the chance of scientifically replicating this cure be more or less likely?
Less likely, miracles are not frequent even in Scripture. And I don’t believe miracles are scientifically replicable either.
If humans declared fire to be a miracle thousands of years ago, would we still be huddling together in caves while we wait for God to throw another lightning bolt into the forest?
Fire is clearly not miraculous, so anyone declaring has no bearing on Christian miracles.
If God gave a man cancer, and the Devil cured him to subvert God’s plan, how would you know it wasn’t a divine miracle? What if he was an unkind, atheist, homosexual?
That cannot happen unless God allows it. See the Book of Job.
Should an instruction to convert to your religion upon the threat of eternal torture in hell be met with anything other than hostility?
Someone in the comments section gave the analogy of trying to save someone from a burning building, should that be met with hostility? Well done sir, I will use that analogy.
Can a mass murderer go to heaven for accepting your religion, while a kind doctor goes to hell for not?
The point is is that person is not a mass murderer anymore. They become a new creature and the old man has died.
If aliens exist on several worlds that have never heard of your god, will they all be going to hell when they die?
Hell was created for beings that are not of this world, unless one can find fallen angels originating from Camden New Jersey, I would say they have heard of God and have seen Him, but chose to rebel anyway.
If someone promised you eternal life, the protection of a loving super being, a feeling of moral righteousness, a purpose for living, answers to all the big questions, and a rule book for achieving the pinnacle of human potential, all in exchange for having faith in something that wasn’t proven, would you be suspicious?
I’m already a Christian so yes.
Why does religion appeal more to poor, weak, vulnerable, young, ill, depressed, and ostracized people? Could religious promises be more of a temptation to these people?
I suppose this includes scholars such as William Lane Craig and Isaac Newton.
And that’s the end of the list. So far I’m underwhelmed.