The Christian (Theist) Challenge

10 Questions to ask a Christian

I thought this would be interesting, because I’ve seen several questionnaires like this, but I wanted something that would go deep and to get people someone thinking.  (Please give realistic and honest answers.)

1. Do you feel like Religion, God and The Bible conflict?

2. If God told you kill someone, (And you are 100% it’s God).  Would you kill that person?  Why or Why Not?

3. Who created God; if he came from nothing or has no creator doesn’t that violate The First Law of Thermodynamics?

4. If you believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God; do you believe it to be inerrant or infallible?  And, If the Bible is found errant, does God still exist and is the Bible still a trustworthy source?

5. In the Bible their are stories of God telling the Israelites to kill innocent women & children and children being punished for the sins of their father.  Is this morally right or morally justifiable?

6. If God is perfect, how can something imperfect come out of something that is PERFECT?  Did God make a mistake?

7. If a Christian goes into a forest and gets lost.  And he prays to God to be saved and not die.  Does a God still here him?  How do know?  And, how can you be sure?

8. If you were to die, and when you go before God; it’s some other God you have never seen or heard of nor worshiped?  What would you do?  Would you plead for him not to judge you harshly and what would you say?

9. What is something that would convince you that Christianity is wrong and that there is no God?  (If your answer is NOTHING, than please explain WHY?)

10. This is a quote by the atheist Richard Dawkins…”We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go ONE god further.Richard Dawkins. Why does the Christian reject all other gods, but not their own?  Why are you Christian?  Why do you believe in only the Judo-Christian God?

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About M. Rodriguez

When I first received Christ salvation, I made it a priority to read the whole bible and I did. But it was the Bible that made me question my faith. For I found it flawed and lacking. Due to this I launched a personal inquiry/investigation into my faith, and ultimately realized that the Christian God of the Bible was indeed man-made. Now I Blog about those findings and life after Christ.
This entry was posted in apologist, christian, god, inerrancy, infalliable, religion vs. science and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

70 Responses to The Christian (Theist) Challenge

  1. ignorantianescia says:

    All right, I’ll give it a shot.

    1. Do you feel like Religion, God and The Bible conflict?
    If the Bible is read as I think it is supposed to read, then it would conflict in its description of God taken literally, but I don’t think the message conflicts with God. Same for religion.
    2. If God told you kill someone, (And you are 100% it’s God). Would you kill that person? Why or Why Not?
    I’d probably wouldn’t grant the conditional “And you are 100% it’s God” in most cases, but supposing I do, I guess I would. I don’t think God can be immoral (as per the moral argument) and I think that killing is morally justified in some circumstances, so I would have to trust on that (as crazy as that may sound).
    3. Who created God; if he came from nothing or has no creator doesn’t that violate The First Law of Thermodynamics?
    God is uncreated, his existence does not depend on anything else, so certainly not on time. Like other real abstract concepts (such as numbers), he exists without a cause. The difference with those concepts, of course, is that God is also a person.
    You might have been thinking of the statement “Who created God?” because God is often used to explain the existence of the universe. That’s also done in cosmological arguments. The thing is, two common cosmological arguments, Leibniz’s cosmological argument and the Kalām cosmological argument, don’t lead to the question “Who created God?”. Leibniz’s argument uses “Everything that exists has an explanation of their existence”, while Kalām uses “Everything that begins to exist has a cause”.
    The First Law of Thermodynamics is only valid for closed physical systems (like a perfectly isolated box of particles). Because God is not a physical system, the First Law does not apply to God.
    4. If you believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God; do you believe it to be inerrant or infallible? And, If the Bible is found errant, does God still exist and is the Bible still a trustworthy source?
    Neither, I only believe it to be the sufficient Word of God. As for errancy, which I accept, yes, I think God still exists and that the Bible is still sufficient for belief.
    5. In the Bible their are stories of God telling the Israelites to kill innocent women & children and children being punished for the sins of their father. Is this morally right or morally justifiable?
    No, killing innocents is not right or justifiable (though it might be if you believe actions are moral or immoral based on their results).
    6. If God is perfect, how can something imperfect come out of something that is PERFECT? Did God make a mistake?
    When we say God is perfect, we mean attributes like omniscient, omnipotent, benevolent, immutable, just and the like. For a universe, the only one of those that could apply in is immutable, but I don’t see why the universe would be better if it were immutable.
    7. If a Christian goes into a forest and gets lost. And he prays to God to be saved and not die. Does a God still here him? How do know? And, how can you be sure?
    I don’t think I get this question.
    8. If you were to die, and when you go before God; it’s some other God you have never seen or heard of nor worshiped? What would you do? Would you plead for him not to judge you harshly and what would you say?
    Not sure, I guess he would judge reasonably regardless (following the moral argument) so not much reason to plead, I suppose. Interesting question.
    9. What is something that would convince you that Christianity is wrong and that there is no God? (If your answer is NOTHING, than please explain WHY?)
    Sufficient evidence Jesus was not resurrected for Christianity, I’m not what could reasonably convince me there’s no God, though. Since there cannot be any negative evidence, it would all be rejecting positive evidence. In theory showing that all positive evidence is false would convince me, but I’m not sure whether that is practically possible.
    10. This is a quote by the atheist Richard Dawkins…”We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go ONE god further.“-Richard Dawkins. Why does the Christian reject all other gods, but not their own? Why are you Christian? Why do you believe in only the Judo-Christian God?
    It’s not much of a strong argument, I wonder how Dawkins would respond to an evolutionary variant of this: “We are all anti-evolutionists about most theories of evolution that people have ever believed in (there have been several before Darwin, and I don’t think anybody believes in exactly the same version Darwin believed in). Some of us just go ONE theory further.” Just because most similar beliefs are wrong or are not believed does not mean all are wrong, nor that none should be believed. An issue is that most other deities do not have something alike the resurrection in their favour, certainly nothing with a similar documentation. The resurrection vindicates Jesus and is an argument in favour of Jesus’ message and the God he believed in.

  2. BJ Swearer says:

    1. Do you feel like Religion, God and The Bible conflict?
    (A): No. Why would they? God reveals Himself through His Word, the Bible, which produces the only perfect, true religion. Seems like a pretty nice relationship.

    2. If God told you kill someone, (And you are 100% it’s God). Would you kill that person? Why or Why Not?
    (A): If you knew with 100% certainty that God was speaking to you, then you know God exists. Why then would it matter what the potential consequences would be on earth when you knew for complete certainty that God existed and disobedience to Him might not go over so well in terms of eternal judgement. Despite it being HIGHLY unlikely in this age to imagine God commanding me to kill somebody, I would obey His just as Abraham prepared to do so….of course hoping that God would intervene in the “test” and stop me. I think this question would be better to ask of an atheist though…..would produce more interesting responses.

    3. Who created God; if he came from nothing or has no creator doesn’t that violate The First Law of Thermodynamics?
    (A): God is eternal and as such needs no cause. When He formed the cosmos out of nothing, He put Natural and Physical Law into existence. If the 1st Law of Thermodynamics or the Law of Causality didn’t exist until God created them, how could He possibly violate them?

    4. If you believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God; do you believe it to be inerrant or infallible? And, If the Bible is found errant, does God still exist and is the Bible still a trustworthy source?
    (A): The Word of God was perfect (inerrant) in its original manuscripts. All “errors” in the modern Bible are the results of human error due to copyist/translator mistakes.

    5. In the Bible their are stories of God telling the Israelites to kill innocent women & children and children being punished for the sins of their father. Is this morally right or morally justifiable?
    (A): The Moral Law was created by God and thus He cannot violate it. No human being is “innocent” due to the Original Sin nature that is present in all life. All have received a physical death sentence. For some, God’s decision to administer justice comes earlier than for others.

    6. If God is perfect, how can something imperfect come out of something that is PERFECT? Did God make a mistake?
    (A): Everything that God created was perfect. Man brought imperfection into the perfect Creation as the result of giving into temptation.

    7. If a Christian goes into a forest and gets lost. And he prays to God to be saved and not die. Does a God still here him? How do know? And, how can you be sure?
    (A): God answers all prayers…..He just might not always give us the answer WE want.

    8. If you were to die, and when you go before God; it’s some other God you have never seen or heard of nor worshiped? What would you do? Would you plead for him not to judge you harshly and what would you say?
    (A): If I believe in God and God exists, then I will only go before God…..there would be no potential to go before any other gods seeing as they don’t exist.

    9. What is something that would convince you that Christianity is wrong and that there is no God? (If your answer is NOTHING, than please explain WHY?)
    (A): Nothing. I’ve personally experienced God on multiple occasions. For me, its literally an impossibility for me to ever reject what I know for certainty to be true.

    10. This is a quote by the atheist Richard Dawkins…”We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go ONE god further.“-Richard Dawkins. Why does the Christian reject all other gods, but not their own? Why are you Christian? Why do you believe in only the Judo-Christian God?
    (A): Richard Dawkins is a terrible excuse for a philosopher. Case in point, just reference this quote and his inability to understand the meanings and applications of simple words/concepts. One can either be an atheist (believes God does not exist) or a theist (believes God exists). One cannot be both an atheist and a theist as this would violate the law of non-contradiction. This quote is immensely flawed in its premise. Nobody is an “atheist” towards false gods. A Christian believes that God exists and that He has revealed himself in Creation and through His Word the Bible. All other gods are man made, thus making them false gods and resulting in a Christian dismissing them as invalid. Why does a Christian know that the Bible is the Word of God? Evidence and revelation.

    There’s my attempt to answer 🙂

  3. unkleE says:

    Here’s my answers (for what they’re worth):

    1. Do you feel like Religion, God and The Bible conflict?
    Sometimes. But I don’t understand everything.

    2. If God told you kill someone, (And you are 100% it’s God). Would you kill that person? Why or Why Not?
    I can’t imagine knowing something 100% in this life. So I doubt I would do it. If I was wrong, God would forgive me.

    3. Who created God; if he came from nothing or has no creator doesn’t that violate The First Law of Thermodynamics?
    I agree with other answers. God is eternal, timeless, necessary. There were no laws until he created the universe complete with its laws. This question (creation out of nothing and the fine-tuning of the laws) is one of the greatest reasons to believe God exists, and atheist objections against God fall to the ground when their inability to answer these questions is considered.

    4. If you believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God; do you believe it to be inerrant or infallible? And, If the Bible is found errant, does God still exist and is the Bible still a trustworthy source?
    Inspired. Not the word (it never claims that – in the Bible, Jesus and the message are the word). Not inerrant. Infallibility is a variously defined concept, so it depends. Trustworthy but not always perfect or what we expect.

    5. In the Bible their are stories of God telling the Israelites to kill innocent women & children and children being punished for the sins of their father. Is this morally right or morally justifiable?
    I can’t see it. I’m not sure if God really commanded that. But I can’t really say, I wasn’t alive then.

    6. If God is perfect, how can something imperfect come out of something that is PERFECT? Did God make a mistake?
    Everything other than God is imperfect in some way by definition. Add in human free will and you get what we see. But it was no mistake. Sin was inevitable, but God had a plan ….

    7. If a Christian goes into a forest and gets lost. And he prays to God to be saved and not die. Does a God still here him? How do know? And, how can you be sure?
    God hears him because God knows everything. I believe that because the Bible says and Jesus seemed to believe it. I can’t be sure about anything, but I can believe that as firmly as anything I think.

    8. If you were to die, and when you go before God; it’s some other God you have never seen or heard of nor worshiped? What would you do? Would you plead for him not to judge you harshly and what would you say?
    It couldn’t be another God, there’s only one God. I would just have been mistaken about him. Of course I would plead with him, but who knows what I’d say? Probably much the same as I say now when I pray after I have done something wrong – please forgive me, I stuffed up.

    9. What is something that would convince you that Christianity is wrong and that there is no God? (If your answer is NOTHING, than please explain WHY?)
    Many things could and do make me doubt or ask questions, but I can’t think of anything that would convince me. Because the reasons I believe (Jesus, experience, the universe) can’t really be changed or taken away.

    10. This is a quote by the atheist Richard Dawkins…”We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go ONE god further.“-Richard Dawkins. Why does the Christian reject all other gods, but not their own? Why are you Christian? Why do you believe in only the Judo-Christian God?
    It’s a colloquial way of speaking, but strictly speaking it’s nonsense. Monotheists all believe there is one God, they just disagree about what he’s like. I reject other concepts of God because I think they are either wrong (without sufficient evidence) or inferior to christianity (I don’t think all other conceptions of God are wrong, for they all agree about many things, just less accurate). The evidence for God is overwhelming, and the evidence for the christian God likewise.

    • The evidence for God is overwhelming? I’m surprised to hear you say that. I thought you accepted that belief in God is a purely faith position – the idea of non-overlapping magisteria (NOMA), perhaps.

  4. Alright, I’m going to try something interesting (to me, at least), and answer these the way I think I would have done 10-15 years ago, when I was a fundamentalist. THESE ARE NOT MY BELIEFS NOW!

    1) Yes. I do not believe in religion. Religion is man-made. I have a personal relationship with God, who wrote the Bible. There is no conflict between God, the Bible, and Truth.

    2) God wouldn’t ask me to kill someone. But if He did, yes, of course.

    3) God has always existed. He is God, outside of time. Nothing is impossible with God. Natural laws do not apply to Him.

    4) There are no errors or contradictions in the Bible. It’s all 100% the Word of God. I’ve never seen any contradictions. If you think you see one, you’ve just misunderstood.

    5) Yes, that was right. The other peoples were sinners, and the wages of sin is death. The Jews were made clean by blood sacrifice to God. Without blood there is no remission of sin.

    6) Everything God made was perfect to begin with, and only messed up through free will.

    7) Of course God answers. I know. God speaks to me.

    8) I know God exists and is who He says He is.

    9) Nothing. I’ve already seen proof.

    10) Only my God offers salvation by faith and grace alone, and He has revealed Himself personally to me.

    Not very satisfying answers when you press them, are they?

  5. unkleE says:

    “The evidence for God is overwhelming? I’m surprised to hear you say that. I thought you accepted that belief in God is a purely faith position – the idea of non-overlapping magisteria (NOMA), perhaps.”

    G’day Jonny, how are you going? I’m not sure where you got that idea, but no. I think christian belief, like most of life, is based on a combination of evidence, inference, personal feelings and trust, and more besides. But in coming to a belief, or in justifying it, I think we need to start with evidence and inference, even if we don’t finish there.

    And I think I believe in POMA, not NOMA (Partially Overlapping).

    I think there is evidence both for and against God – i.e. facts which, on their own, would tend to lead a reasonable person to think the existence of God is less likely or more likely. But I think many christians, and almost all non-believers I have discussed with, tend to focus on those facts and arguments that support their position, and attempt explain away the contrary facts – and I think it is this focus more than the evidence that leads many people to believe or disbelieve.

    To try to avoid that, I try to fairly consider the arguments on both sides, though doubtless I cannot be totally fair. And when I do, I find the facts which atheism cannot adequately explain are (to me) much more, stronger and more fundamental, than the facts which christianity can’t explain. So I conclude that the evidence is “overwhelming”.

    Hope that explains things better.

    “Not very satisfying answers when you press them, are they?”

    No they certainly are not. It’s no wonder you didn’t keep believing. But hopefully the answers the other three of us gave were more satisfactory, which presumably why we keep on believing.

    Best wishes.

  6. @UnkleE If I accept that science doesn’t have an explanation for where everything ultimately comes from (and scientists are working on this problem), that’s still a huge leap from “there was some kind of cause” to “this particular monotheistic religion is true.”

    So otherwise, no, I don’t find your answers satisfactory, of course, or I would believe them myself (which I hope you won’t take as me insulting you personally). I considered most more moderate positions on my way out of Christianity. In particular, if we start picking and choosing which bits of the Bible are true, how on earth can we separate our belief from something entirely arbitrary which we make up ourselves?

    You say on the one hand that you doubt if God ordered the slaughter of innocents, but it’s in the Bible. And later, for evidence that God hears prayer, you cite the Bible. Well, if the Bible is not always a reliable source, how do you know which bits of it to follow?

  7. unkleE says:

    “@UnkleE If I accept that science doesn’t have an explanation for where everything ultimately comes from (and scientists are working on this problem), that’s still a huge leap from “there was some kind of cause” to “this particular monotheistic religion is true.””

    Yes it is a jump, but not all that huge.

    (1) The argument is that there is a supernatural cause, and what else that is outside of space and time could do it? The cosmological argument can easily be extended to argue that the cause is is volitional and hence personal.

    (2) Other arguments (fine-tuning, moral) reinforce the personal nature of the cause, and arguments from history regarding Jesus point to christianity. We don’t expect all arguments to prove everything.

    (3) The arguments used against belief in God “suffer” in a similar way. Take the argument from evil. The christian can easily argue that (i) how do you know the world is really evil without God & objective morality, and (ii) how do you know God doesn’t have a perfectly good reason for all the evil? I don’t argue that way, because I prefer to be even-handed, and treat arguments on both sides in the same way – so I admit that the argument from evil has force. But if you are going to say that maybe there’s some other supernatural cause, then you surely have to be consistent and say that there may be an explanation for evil, and not use that argument?

    “I don’t find your answers satisfactory, of course, or I would believe them myself (which I hope you won’t take as me insulting you personally). “

    No I don’t take it personally. We disagree with each other (i.e. we each think the other is wrong on this matter) and there’s no point in pretending otherwise. There’s no disrespect in that – in fact our discussing it civilly means we are each respecting each other. And I appreciate that.

    “In particular, if we start picking and choosing which bits of the Bible are true, how on earth can we separate our belief from something entirely arbitrary which we make up ourselves?”

    We have the same problem if we believe in inerrancy, it just shifts to interpretation. And we have the same problem if we disbelieve altogether. We’re all in this issue together.

    “if the Bible is not always a reliable source, how do you know which bits of it to follow?”

    The New Testament is a reliable source for knowing about christianity. The Holy Spirit, common sense and scholarship guide us in how to understand it. The problem isn’t in the bits we can’t understand or know to be true, our real problem is in obeying the bits that are quite clear – like loving our enemies, and forgiving as we want God to forgive us. As an unbeliever you face the same uncertainties, only you don’t have the Spirit to guide you (well you still do, but less so).

  8. These are great questions. I hope you don’t mind if I use a few of them later.

  9. prairienymph says:

    I’d just like to say the number of Christians who think (or thought) the bible has no contradictions hilarious to me now that I’ve actually read the bible and not just memorized it.
    Also, the number of Christians who would kill someone if they thought God told them to but still believe that they are morally superior chills me. A few years ago in our area a man brutally murdered another person on a bus because he was 100% sure God told him to. All you Christians who would kill someone stay away from me and my children. Hopefully one day you will see how immoral that is and if not I sincerely hope you never have a psychotic episode.

    • ignorantianescia says:

      “Also, the number of Christians who would kill someone if they thought God told them to but still believe that they are morally superior chills me.”

      I think that’s unfair, since both people who answered yes made it perfectly clear that they thought it very unlikely to happen. I wouldn’t likely grant the conditional “100% sure” in real life, so the question is mostly hypothetical for me. Regarding the second part, I don’t believe I’m morally superior at all.
      But you seem to believe that it is never okay to kill somebody? What do you think of defensive war?

      • Christopher says:

        “No Lord, I will not do it, im sorry” Is that so difficult?
        in your culture Satan is the one that make BAD things look like GOOD things. This Abraham story teach Christians bad morals.

      • ignorantianescia says:

        I’m a little disappointed you didn’t answer my questions, but I will answer yours.

        No, it is not difficult and outside a hypothetical question it’s indeed my likely response. As for Satan and my culture, the only place they really intersect a lot seems to be music stores. You seem to think I’m a fundy and keep making assumptions about my morality that are fairly condescending, actually.

      • ignorantianescia says:

        Whoops, different persons. Apologies to both of you for the mistake.

      • prairienymph says:

        I can see why you could assume I do not believe it is never ok to kill someone, but this is not true. I do think there can be situations that justify it, but having a voice in your head tell you so is not one of them. The example I gave, which was very close to home, I hoped would illustrate how psychosis often manifests as a supernatural command or communication: “God told me to…”. This is much more dangerous than an act of self-defense or defense of someone else. And unfortunately it does happen, especially when sincere believers treat mental illness as if it were demon possession.
        As to the moral superiority, if you did not believe obeying your God was the most moral thing to do why would you do it? If you had doubts and thought that maybe there was a more ethical way of life, wouldn’t you explore it, be honest about it (at least to yourself) or put in a qualifier as you did about not being 100% sure?
        Not so many years ago I would have really struggled with that particular question. I would have wanted to say that I would kill someone if I was sure God told me to because I was brought up to believe it was morally superior to obey God and ignore my own moral compass and reason. I would have felt bad that I could not honestly answer no to that question. I did not recognize the feeling of moral superiority at the time. (Bob Altemyer’s online book The Authoritarians describes moral superiority complexes quite clearly.)
        As to the Christians who said it was unlikely for God to ask them to kill someone, have they read the Bible? How many times does that god command murder? It was quite common. Of course, most Christians ignore that part and focus on the more life-affirming parts of the bible.
        See also: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHGEELdSHHc and remember I know someone who has actually murdered another based on being told to. This may seem extreme and hypothetical but it does happen.

      • ignorantianescia says:

        “I do think there can be situations that justify it, but having a voice in your head tell you so is not one of them.”
        And that is the reason why I wouldn’t trust a voice in my head in practice. Since the question had the qualifier “100% sure”, it’s obviously not a realistic thought experiment and purely theoretical. Trust me, if I would have such a voice, I’d go see a psychiatrist, no matter whether I’d be 99.999999999999999% sure it was from God (which I can’t imagine being). But I do believe in giving consistent answers, also if it involves biting bullets in imaginary moral dilemmas.

        “As to the moral superiority, if you did not believe obeying your God was the most moral thing to do why would you do it? If you had doubts and thought that maybe there was a more ethical way of life, wouldn’t you explore it, be honest about it (at least to yourself) or put in a qualifier as you did about not being 100% sure?”
        But how does moral superiority follow, if I think it is moral to do obey God’s commandments it does not follow that I believe I’m morally superior. As for the second sentence I don’t understand the “if” when I did put the qualifier in. To be frank, I really do not get the emotional response to a hypothetical thought experiment like this – even though, I admit, it is a rather appalling one. Heck, utilitarianism has more awful aspects if followed consistently; you’ll note that I think killing innocents (like children) is always immoral (so even if such a commandment came from God, I wouldn’t believe it), but from a utilitarian perspective, that is pretty difficult to state so absolutely. Then, it depends on for example whether the children will or will not necessarily grow up to be mass murderers. I hope that puts the issue into some perspective.

        “As to the Christians who said it was unlikely for God to ask them to kill someone, have they read the Bible? How many times does that god command murder? It was quite common. Of course, most Christians ignore that part and focus on the more life-affirming parts of the bible.”
        I think this is the difference between a statement-focused reading of the Bible and a message-focused reading. I believe that the authors of the Bible at times got their beliefs of God horribly wrong, but that the Spirit was still inspiring them to include God’s message for that passage, to subvert evil into good ultimatelly. As a result, not everything can be read with a common-sense, at face value reading.

    • prairienymph says:

      I think your objections about my comment on moral superiority stem from not defining the terms. I am going to assume (and correct me if I am wrong) that you understand someone who feels morally superior to feel so as if they themselves inherently ARE morally superior. That is incorrect.
      In fact, most people who believe their moral compass is superior AND so refuse to listen to reason or try and understand another point of view often believe that they are inherently unworthy and inferior. Such people are easy targets for following a belief system, person, or deity that not only reinforces that they are sinners but that they need to follow. They are then convinced that while not personally superior, they do follow someone or some god who is superior.
      This online book is written by a professor who has spent his life studying followers. It is not targeted at Christians but at Right-Wing Authoritarians and will give more clarity on what I mean by moral superiority. (Which is not limited to Christians 🙂
      http://members.shaw.ca/jeanaltemeyer/drbob/TheAuthoritarians.pdf

      • ignorantianescia says:

        “In fact, most people who believe their moral compass is superior AND so refuse to listen to reason or try and understand another point of view often believe that they are inherently unworthy and inferior. Such people are easy targets for following a belief system, person, or deity that not only reinforces that they are sinners but that they need to follow. They are then convinced that while not personally superior, they do follow someone or some god who is superior.”

        Maybe they are, perhaps that is explained in the online book, but I think few people would describe themselves as refusing to listen to reason and refusing to try to understand other points-of-view. I certainly don’t describe myself as such. As for believing my moral compass being superior, I don’t think it is anything close of approaching the consistency of those of professional ethicists (though not everything that is more consistent is better). Of course, most of us try to do and believe what we think is right, but I think a statement like “my moral compass is superior” is way too definitive.

        Even if that process is a mechanism for creating belief in a morally superior deity – I don’t know – that does not mean it is the process that took place in my case (my lack of authoritarianism would suggest it didn’t). Furthermore, such underlying causes are irrelevant when it comes to the validity of beliefs, because what’s relevant is whether the opinion is justified (to do otherwise would be to commit the genetic fallacy). My belief that God is moral (and cannot do anything immoral) is based on belief in moral realism (example: I believe that torture is wrong regardless of circumstance, culture or species, if there are other highly intelligent species) and acceptance of at least one argument from morality.

    • prairienymph says:

      As to the ways we can read the bible, I used to follow your method. I memorized many chapters of the bible and used it to influence my daily decisions. When I began to read it, with my mind and my heart, I found questions that I had previously suppressed. The cognitive dissonance of trying to reconcile what I was told to believe, what I wanted to believe and what was becoming more and more obvious became too great. I had to leave behind my familiar world and accept truth.
      That said, your version of Christianity seems much more liberal and healthy than the one I grew up in and actually was where I was hoping to end up when I began this process. In the end, I could not be honest with myself and be a liberal Christian.

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  11. unkleE says:

    I’m inclined to agree with Ignorantianescia. It’s hardly fair to ask an extremely hypothetical question and then get upset when someone gives an extreme answer. Sam Harris has suggested a nuclear pre-emptive strike against militant Muslims, and said that it might be justified to kill someone because they have a wrong idea, while Christopher Hitchens expressed some similar right wing opinions. And these weren’t in response to hypotheticals, but their opinion about the real world. So who is the more dangerous?

    I suggest a little less jumping on high horses might be helpful.

    • Christopher says:

      “No Lord, I will not do it, im sorry”
      this is just impossible for a christian.

      They are militarized. like initiated gang members or cruel soldiers
      OBEY ON COMMAND, DO NOT QUESTION.

      • ignorantianescia says:

        What? Militarised?!? Do you think I’m a neocon or a Cheney-style nationalist or something? Let me tell you I’m nothing of the sort.

      • Simple Theologian says:

        “Obey on Command, Do no question?” If that is a Christian belief than I am not a Christian???

        In fact, I would be surprised if God didn’t want us to ask questions? If Adam and Eve can be deceived so easily and they lived in God’s presence how much easier is it for us to be deceived when God does not seem “real” to us???

    • prairienymph says:

      Just because some atheists promote dangerous things does not meal ALL atheists do or that it is inherent to a lack of belief in the deity of your choice. Right-wing extremism is dangerous and includes people of all shades of religious adherence.
      Also, this is not extremely hypothetical, as I have pointed out. People really do become convinced that God is asking them to do what others consider immoral acts. When they believe that unquestioning obedience to an authority figure is more moral than using their common sense, reason and inborn compassion, they do become dangerous. That the authority figure in this example is deified only makes it more difficult to disobey.
      See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Tim_McLean
      “The psychiatrist said that Li performed the attack because God’s voice told him McLean was a force of evil and was about to execute him.”
      Also see the case of the Lafferty brothers who “…showed the members of the School of Prophets a written “removal revelation” that allegedly called for the killing of Brenda and her baby” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Under_the_Banner_of_Heaven

      Please do not think these things are not real life just because they are not your experience.

  12. unkleE says:

    prairienymph said: “How many times does that god command murder? It was quite common. Of course, most Christians ignore that part and focus on the more life-affirming parts of the bible.”

    May I hopefully suggest that even if you disagree with someone, it is only fair to not misrepresent or misunderstand them.

    I am a christian, I believe in Jesus, and Jesus himself is the main reason I believe. So anything that contradicts what Jesus teaches (assuming I correctly understand his teachings) I’m going to question. That includes the Old Testament.

    Most christians believe in progressive revelation, because it is blindingly obvious that Jesus said he somehow supersedes, or completed, or fulfilled or corrected the OT or the prevailing understandings of it. So many christians don’t think those OT commands to kill were from God, but a misunderstanding or exaggeration. Many others believe they were from God, but do not apply today.

    So we have good reasons to focus on the more “life-affirming” parts of the Bible, because that is where our belief comes from, and “the old has passed away”.

    I hope I am not coming across as critical, but I do hope in future you will more fairly present what we believe than you do here. Thank you, and best wishes.

  13. unkleE says:

    prairienymph said:

    “Just because some atheists promote dangerous things does not meal ALL atheists do or that it is inherent to a lack of belief in the deity of your choice. Right-wing extremism is dangerous and includes people of all shades of religious adherence.
    Also, this is not extremely hypothetical, as I have pointed out. People really do become convinced that God is asking them to do what others consider immoral acts. When they believe that unquestioning obedience to an authority figure is more moral than using their common sense, reason and inborn compassion, they do become dangerous. That the authority figure in this example is deified only makes it more difficult to disobey.”

    That is all quite reasonable. But you didn’t just criticise some people “out there”, you applied your comments to the people who in good faith answered a very unrealistic hypothetical, who were obviously very far from your “unquestioning obedience to an authority figure”. You have unfairly maligned them by grouping them together with people suffering mental illnesses and lack of objectivity and logic. (Not to mention that you ignored the fact that one out of three christians – me – answered the question differently.)

    I don’t wish to be unfriendly or to get off to a bad start in relating to you, but I think communication requires respect. I’m guessing from your comments that you’re a recent “deconvert” who is just now stretching your wings. Your enthusiasm for your newfound worldview is understandable, but just like new christian converts, it may perhaps need to be tempered a little. Is that too much to ask?

    I hope we can still be friends. Best wishes.

  14. Pingback: Do you feel that religion, God & the Bible conflict?–question 1 « Pastor Jeff's Ramblings

  15. Pingback: Do you feel that religion, God & the Bible conflict?–question 1 « Pastor Jeff's Ramblings

  16. pastorjeffcma says:

    My answer to question #1–http://pastorjeffcma.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/do-you-feel-that-religion-god-the-bible-conflict-question-1/

  17. Pingback: The “violent” Christian–Question 2 « Pastor Jeff's Ramblings

  18. pastorjeffcma says:

    My answer to question #2–http://pastorjeffcma.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/the-violent-christian-question-2/

  19. Pingback: “In the beginning gravity created the heavens and the earth” or “Stephen Hawking vs. God”–Question 3 « Pastor Jeff's Ramblings

  20. pastorjeffcma says:

    My answer to question #3–http://pastorjeffcma.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/where-did-god-come-from-question-3/

  21. Pingback: Can I Trust the Bible?–Question 4 « Pastor Jeff's Ramblings

  22. pastorjeffcma says:

    My answer to question #4–http://pastorjeffcma.wordpress.com/2012/06/12/can-i-trust-the-bible-question-4/

  23. Simple Theologian says:

    1) Yes, mainly the “religion” aspect.
    2) No, how can I be 100% that it’s God?
    3) The First Law of Thermodynamics only applies to created things. God being uncreated and with the ability to exist outside of created things the Law does not apply…this is true for any scientific theories, that’s why it is illogical to use them to try and prove/disprove God.
    4) Yes. If found errant, it would depend on what, where, when, why, and how it is errant.
    5) By what moral standards are we to judge? Ours today, the standards of when the acts occurred, or God’s standards? As far as the sins of the fathers—is the punishment a result of God’s doing or is it because of the fathers sins? Do not we face the consequences of our fathers actions? (e.g. a father is sent to prison…is not the example set put the son at risk for going to prison as well)
    6) Mankind was created perfectly by God, but chose to believe that they were not perfectly created and to disobey God, we face that same consequences of imperfection as a result.
    7) Yes. God hears all of our prayers, do we pray for the right things?
    8) I would ask him what the requirements were since he never informed me thusly?
    9) I’ll find out when I die I guess.
    10) This could be a long answer. I’ve always believed in God…maybe it’s because I was raised in a Christian denomination but for a long period of my life I struggled with the hypocrisy of the church I grew up in and lived that period of my life apart from God. I reject all other gods because to me the attributes they possess are manmade they are what I would call effect-causes (e.g. Zeus was believed to exist because of lightning, the effect being lightning the cause being Zeus, since science demonstrates a more reasonable explanation than Zeus the cause of lightning has changed.) The reason I believe in the Judeo-Christian God is because I believe Him to be a cause-effect. God not being manmade/conceived existed before the universe and caused the universe to come into effect. I’m sure an atheist could have a heyday with that explanation but it’s the best I can give to keep it short.

  24. 1. Do you feel like Religion, God and The Bible conflict?

    Yes they all do against the religion; Bible was not meant to be religion but faith instructions, religion is system of beliefs compiled by man. Jesus clearly objected to teachers of the law.

    2. If God told you kill someone, (And you are 100% it’s God). Would you kill that person? Why or Why Not?

    Probably not and would ask God to forgive me for being disobedient , but then again I would guess God would know my heart anyway and would not ask me to do this. This does not mean I would never kill? No it does not, I have two children and would do anything to protect them, as I believe that to be my God given responsibility.

    3. Who created God; if he came from nothing or has no creator doesn’t that violate The First Law of Thermodynamics?

    Same rule would apply to the universe, we know it comes from singularity and if its possible for it to be created out of nothing then surely we must allow for god to exist outside our space and dimensions.

    4. If you believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God; do you believe it to be inerrant or infallible? And, If the Bible is found errant, does God still exist and is the Bible still a trustworthy source?

    A. Bible does not have any errors, translations and manuscripts do have them, most evangelical agree that there are in the regions of 300 thousand of them but they are minor because we have so many manuscripts (Around 5000) then any duplication would cause errors in copying.

    B. Small sections of it should not be included in the Bible for example end of Marks gospel part of Johns gospel but all of these add up to less then 1%.

    C. Differences in books of Kings and Chronicles in old testament can be explained often with deeper linguistic understanding and textual criticism could help but some times where there is more then one possible explanation we have to accept that we can’t be certain but these are numerical not historical issues.

    D. Apparent differences in Gospels are often overstated and when examined more closely show remarkable consistency. With again multitude of possible answers often being the case. What is more intriguing is the reluctance by the sceptics to accept them.

    5. In the Bible their are stories of God telling the Israelites to kill innocent women & children and children being punished for the sins of their father. Is this morally right or morally justifiable?

    A. As Christians believe that God is the source of our morals the answer has to be yes, secondly we must be careful not to apply 21st century standards to the Old Testament times. Often atheists push evolution and if this is their policy should they not even contemplate that this process was also evolving?

    B. Most tribes have methods of vengeance the only way to stop that is to eradicate one group, especially if this group was corrupting God’s people who God chose to bring Gods plan of salvation for the whole world. SO in plain number numbers whole world is better than small nation. Simple mathematics (Statistics)

    6. If God is perfect, how can something imperfect come out of something that is PERFECT? Did God make a mistake?

    A. When original creation was completed God commented that all was God.

    B. With the fall of man came the curse, freedom to choose is necessary part of our likeness to God’s character and therefore demonstrates God’s love and refusal to control us, but grant us freedom of choice. This is why I do not believe in predestination otherwise this is a difficult corner to come out of.

    7. If a Christian goes into a forest and gets lost. And he prays to God to be saved and not die. Does a God still here him? How do know? And, how can you be sure?

    A. We must accept that not all prayers get answered, as someone once put it “No” could also be the answer.

    B. Personal walk with God and personal testimonies are great way to show that God cares for our needs today. I have number of those where praying for specific needs whilst at the Bible College praying for new trousers one night and getting them delivered next day, or praying for money for books and getting $500 as a Christmas present within short period of time. TO me personally demonstrate that God cares. And this is the key these are personal and not communal experiences.

    8. If you were to die, and when you go before God; it’s some other God you have never seen or heard of nor worshiped? What would you do? Would you plead for him not to judge you harshly and what would you say?

    If I am correct then God is love, otherwise no amount of pleading would help you. If God is there then this would necessitate for him to reveal himself, which is what Bible does best. Other books are just too much like children’s stories, with little to no constructive self-criticism which is plentiful in the Bible. Which leads me to believe that it’s the most reliable source of God’s revelation to us, assuming that God was logical even if different from Christianity he must accept it otherwise we are abandoning logic and only are walking by faith.

    9. What is something that would convince you that Christianity is wrong and that there is no God? (If your answer is NOTHING, than please explain WHY?)

    A. It is much harder for someone to prove that something does not exist rather than something is real. This is why atheists have such a big mountain to claim. If god is not restricted to the material world then this is almost impossible to do.

    B. Best option would therefore be to invent time travel, come to the time of Jesus check his birth, check if conceived by supernatural forces, and investigate reliability of prophecies again using time travel. Or other systems if possible to demonstrate their falsehood. Demonstrate that millions of personal experiences of encountering God are false and self-delusions.

    10. This is a quote by the atheist Richard Dawkins…”We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go ONE god further.“-Richard Dawkins. Why does the Christian reject all other gods, but not their own? Why are you Christian? Why do you believe in only the Judo-Christian God?
    TO do this justice one would have to spend hours on this. But in the nut shell.

    1. Personal need for God (You could argue genetic predisposition if you like) design or otherwise.
    2. Need for meaning in life.
    3. Only logical teaching and structure that agrees with my way of thinking. This however does not mean that if I was from India I would rightly believe in Hinduism. Logic dictates that if you know the truth but someone else does not understand it this is not why you are correct in your belief. What makes you right is the fact that you are right, not any belief system. In other words if you feel that you have been privileged to believe something that is correct this does not negate the fact that you could well be correct. Which is where Dawkins would like to take us to. I.e. you only believe because you were told to do this by your local society. His conclusion is therefore logically unsound, position( location) of the correct person is not a problem, neither is the truth is mouldable to the varying circumstances. Black is always black, and if your foreign language calls it something else then this is just the case of lost in translation and not in meaning.

    4. There are Christians all over the world today which proves that meaning can be successfully transported across historical, cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds. Most of the time common denominator of the people who convert from other faiths is that as they understood things better, there was an increase in their knowledge they have concluded that Christianity was best option.

    Kind regards
    Defend the Word

    • Simple Theologian says:

      Not to pick on you. But in regards to #9 an atheist would posit that the burden of proof is on the person making the positive statement. Thus, slightly illogically meaning the person who says god exists (I say this because I believe “god does not exist” to also be a positive statement).

      However, if not respondent in the above, the atheist would point out other god theories and that you do not believe them to be true or for those gods to exist. So why your god and not those others?

  25. 1. Do you feel like Religion, God and The Bible conflict? With some religions, definitely yes.

    2. If God told you kill someone, (And you are 100% it’s God). Would you kill that person? Why or Why Not? It’s unlikely that God would tell me to do this as He already knows how I would react.

    3. Who created God; if he came from nothing or has no creator doesn’t that violate The First Law of Thermodynamics? As God never divulged this information, why would I pretend to have an answer for these questions?

    4. If you believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God; do you believe it to be inerrant or infallible? And, If the Bible is found errant, does God still exist and is the Bible still a trustworthy source? Yes.

    5. In the Bible their are stories of God telling the Israelites to kill innocent women & children and children being punished for the sins of their father. Is this morally right or morally justifiable? He commanded no such thing. Please just post the passage that you have in question.

    6. If God is perfect, how can something imperfect come out of something that is PERFECT? Did God make a mistake? Haven’t you seen some of the freaks that are produced by seemingly perfect parents? And if God had wanted to created “perfect” beings, He would have created beings without free will, now wouldn’t he?

    7. If a Christian goes into a forest and gets lost. And he prays to God to be saved and not die. Does a God still here him? How do know? And, how can you be sure? Yes. That is the nature of God.

    8. If you were to die, and when you go before God; it’s some other God you have never seen or heard of nor worshiped? What would you do? Would you plead for him not to judge you harshly and what would you say? I don’t have a preconceived notion/image of God so these questions are moot.

    9. What is something that would convince you that Christianity is wrong and that there is no God? (If your answer is NOTHING, than please explain WHY?) Nothing other than a lobotomy perhaps. Or becoming delusional and ignoring all the evidence that surrounds me.

    10. This is a quote by the atheist Richard Dawkins…”We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go ONE god further.“-Richard Dawkins. Why does the Christian reject all other gods, but not their own? Why are you Christian? Why do you believe in only the Judo-Christian God? Show me any other document that makes as much sense as the Bible.

  26. Pingback: The Immoral God–Question 5 « Pastor Jeff's Ramblings

  27. pastorjeffcma says:

    My answer to question #5–http://pastorjeffcma.wordpress.com/2012/06/21/the-immoral-god-question-5/

  28. Pingback: The Mistaken God–Question 6 « Pastor Jeff's Ramblings

  29. Pingback: The Atheist Challenge « The Secret Atheist

  30. I just took your challenge! Meant to do it last month but got lost on the internet. 😀 http://thesecretatheist.wordpress.com/2012/07/02/the-atheist-challenge/

  31. Pingback: Does God Hear My Prayer–Question 7 « Pastor Jeff's Ramblings

  32. pastorjeffcma says:

    My answer to question #7–http://pastorjeffcma.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/does-god-hear-my-prayer-question-7/

  33. Pingback: About the Atheist Challenge | The BitterSweet End

  34. Pingback: “God, where’d You come from?”–Question 8 « Pastor Jeff's Ramblings

  35. Pingback: Those pitiful Christians–Question 9 « Pastor Jeff's Ramblings

  36. Pingback: The Christian (Theist) Challenge « Confessions Of A YEC

  37. Pingback: Answering the theist challenge | The Heretical Philosopher

  38. Pingback: To the BitterSweetEnd: I’m Stealing All Your Content « plasticpatrick

  39. plasticpatrick says:

    My answers. Good day to you.

  40. Pingback: To PlasticPatrick | The BitterSweet End

  41. Allallt says:

    I can actually do this, I think, as a mock-Christian (is that offensive? Probably).

    1. Do you feel like Religion, God and The Bible conflict?
    I think that religion conflicts with the Bible and God, but that the Bible and God are perfectly compatible. Organised religions are too self-aggrandising and too power hungry to truly represent the LORD.

    2. If God told you kill someone, (And you are 100% it’s God). Would you kill that person? Why or Why Not?
    Yes. I do not think God would or could ever ask that of me, but if He ever did I know it would be for a moral purpose.

    3. Who created God; if he came from nothing or has no creator doesn’t that violate The First Law of Thermodynamics?
    Eternal existence doesn’t violate any of the laws of thermodynamics. It does create a number of philosophical paradoxes, but you can get around them as positing God as outside of space/time.

    4. If you believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God; do you believe it to be inerrant or infallible? And, If the Bible is found errant, does God still exist and is the Bible still a trustworthy source?
    I think the Bible is infallible, but not inerrant. The Bible has errors because it is not a truth, it is a metaphor, an allegory with infallible meaning, but not factually accurate. The insights into the world, even the poetic ones, are so perfect that they must be from a God.

    5. In the Bible their are stories of God telling the Israelites to kill innocent women & children and children being punished for the sins of their father. Is this morally right or morally justifiable?
    Yes. Anything God commands is moral. Even the infanticide.

    6. If God is perfect, how can something imperfect come out of something that is PERFECT? Did God make a mistake?
    The Fall. We made the mistake because we ate from the tree, thus disobeyed God. But He had to let us do it because of freewill.

    7. If a Christian goes into a forest and gets lost. And he prays to God to be saved and not die. Does a God still here him? How do know? And, how can you be sure?
    If he prays and gets out alive he was guided by God. This is not a ‘miracle’, this is the power of a relationship with God. If the Christian prays but is not saved then God has His reasons; it may be uncomfortable for us to understand, but God does all things for the best.

    8. If you were to die, and when you go before God; it’s some other God you have never seen or heard of nor worshiped? What would you do? Would you plead for him not to judge you harshly and what would you say?
    I would consider this a trick (and ask why it is not St Peter meeting me at the gates). But if that were the case, that another God greeted me, I would remind that God that I have lived a life humble before it, and moral in its name, I just got its name wrong. If God would punish me for something so small as not worshipping him specifically, or just getting the name wrong, then I would be powerless against him. But I do not believe He would be so petty.

    9. What is something that would convince you that Christianity is wrong and that there is no God? (If your answer is NOTHING, than please explain WHY?)
    Nothing. All of existence, all evidence and all logic is testament to the wonderful and planned world God has created for us. If evidence comes forwards against God’s existence then it MUST BE the case that we have mis-interpreted, because our reason comes from God in the first place.

    10. This is a quote by the atheist Richard Dawkins…”We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go ONE god further.“-Richard Dawkins. Why does the Christian reject all other gods, but not their own? Why are you Christian? Why do you believe in only the Judo-Christian God?
    The Classical Gods that Dawkins normally talks about–Apollo, Thor–are not GODS, they are exaggerations of people and of politics. When it comes down to real, monotheistic, religions it is merely a question of deciding which is historically the most accurate. And the rise of the Church after Jesus’ resurrection is all the evidence I need for the accuracy of Christianity.

    I think this is actually a good mock-answer. If you didn’t know I was an atheist before I wrote this answer I don’t think you’d suspect it now.
    (I am sorry for any offence caused)

  42. iridescentsheep says:

    I am an Atheist but I wanted to answer.

    1. Do you feel like Religion, God and The Bible conflict?
    Yes. The Bible says that killing is a sin and yet the Bible supports killing entire towns (just one example)

    2. If God told you kill someone, (And you are 100% it’s God). Would you kill that person? Why or Why Not?
    There is no way I could be 100% sure it was God. If I heard or saw him I would believe it was a hallucination. If I were to go crazy I would not be able apply this logic which is why people end up killing.

    3. Who created God; if he came from nothing or has no creator doesn’t that violate The First Law of Thermodynamics?
    People created God in their own minds to fill the gaps of knowledge before we had science.

    4. If you believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God; do you believe it to be inerrant or infallible? And, If the Bible is found errant, does God still exist and is the Bible still a trustworthy source?

    5. In the Bible their are stories of God telling the Israelites to kill innocent women & children and children being punished for the sins of their father. Is this morally right or morally justifiable?
    NOPE.

    6. If God is perfect, how can something imperfect come out of something that is PERFECT? Did God make a mistake?
    When I was Christian I would have said that God did not make a mistake, Adam and Even ate the forbidden fruit and brought sin into the world. If this were to be true that would be messed up that forever we must be punished because of them.

    7. If a Christian goes into a forest and gets lost. And he prays to God to be saved and not die. Does a God still here him? How do know? And, how can you be sure?
    When I was Christian I would have said that God is everywhere.

    8. If you were to die, and when you go before God; it’s some other God you have never seen or heard of nor worshiped? What would you do? Would you plead for him not to judge you harshly and what would you say?
    If I die and it is some other God that I have never heard of I would not plea. I would probably ask what religion is he the God of and what he thinks of all the people fighting over the “right” religion.

  43. Pingback: Ten Questions to Ask a Christian: My Responses | Well Spent Journey

  44. arkenaten says:

    @ Unklee
    “The New Testament is a reliable source for knowing about christianity.”

    Yes it most certainly IS: Contradictions, misrepresentations, archaeological errancy, historical iinaccuracy, mythological phenomena, and good old fashioned lies, Yes, I reckon that sums up Christianity quite nicely.

  45. Sam Harper says:

    1. Do you feel like Religion, God and The Bible conflict?

    Conflict with what? Each other? I do think some religions conflict with the Bible. Islam, for example.

    2. If God told you kill someone, (And you are 100% it’s God). Would you kill that person? Why or Why Not?

    I don’t know. I might wuss out. I’ve never been told to kill anybody before.

    3. Who created God; if he came from nothing or has no creator doesn’t that violate The First Law of Thermodynamics?

    I don’t believe God was created, and no, I don’t think that violates the first law of thermodynamics.

    4. If you believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God; do you believe it to be inerrant or infallible? And, If the Bible is found errant, does God still exist and is the Bible still a trustworthy source?

    Yes, I think it is inerrant and infallible (although I’m not sure what the difference is, I’m told there is a difference). Yes, God could exist and the Bible could be generally trustworthy even if the Bible is errant. Whether it’s generally trustworthy or not would depend on how errant it is.

    5. In the Bible their are stories of God telling the Israelites to kill innocent women & children and children being punished for the sins of their father. Is this morally right or morally justifiable?

    I think God is morally justified in taking life, and since he has that right, he also has the right to delegate that to other people. I don’t think it would be right for us to take it upon ourselves to do that apart from God ordering it.

    6. If God is perfect, how can something imperfect come out of something that is PERFECT? Did God make a mistake?

    If God designs some imperfection in something, and if has a perfectly good reason for doing so, then that imperfection is no strike against God’s perfection. If God did it on purpose, then it’s not a mistake.

    7. If a Christian goes into a forest and gets lost. And he prays to God to be saved and not die. Does a God still here him? How do know? And, how can you be sure?

    Yes, God can hear you no matter where you are. You don’t even have to speak out loud. I base this on the Bible.

    8. If you were to die, and when you go before God; it’s some other God you have never seen or heard of nor worshiped? What would you do? Would you plead for him not to judge you harshly and what would you say?

    It depends on what kind of God it turned out to be, what he expected of me if anything, etc. I’d probably just wait for him/her to speak and go from there.

    9. What is something that would convince you that Christianity is wrong and that there is no God? (If your answer is NOTHING, than please explain WHY?)

    If the bones of Jesus were found, I’d be convinced that Christianity is wrong. If somebody could show a logical incoherence in the nature of God, I would be convinced that that God does not exist. Or, if there was some inconsistency between what we know about reality and what we know about God, that would also prove that God does not exist. Or, if it could be shown that multiple gods exist, that would raise serious doubts about whether Yahweh exists.

    10. This is a quote by the atheist Richard Dawkins…”We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go ONE god further.“-Richard Dawkins. Why does the Christian reject all other gods, but not their own? Why are you Christian? Why do you believe in only the Judo-Christian God?

    Because Christianity is a monotheistic religion. If Christianity is true, then there is only one God. If a Christian rejected their own God, then they’d no longer be a Christian. I’m a Christian because I think there are good reasons to think it’s true. See Scaling the Secular City by J.P. Moreland for example.

  46. noblethemes says:

    1. Do you feel like Religion, God and The Bible conflict?

    A. Not inherently, no. What we commonly refer to as “the Bible” is a collection of sacred texts of central importance in the Judeo-Christian faith. Judeo-Christianity is, of course, one of the major world religions. God is, naturally, central to this faith-religion … so, again, no inherent conflict; in fact, this would really be impossible, logically speaking.

    2. If God told you kill someone, (And you are 100% it’s God). Would you kill that person? Why or Why Not?

    A. The question is incomplete and, because incomplete, ambiguous. For example, if a raving lunatic broke into my home, waving a loaded gun, threatening to murder my two children, then God would not even have to tell me to do whatever necessary in order to protect my children. However, if God did, then I certainly would have no problem obeying. On the other hand, if God told me to walk across the road and slaughter my kindly neighbor, then I would (I hope and pray) assume my own fallibility, not to mention my current psychological state, and reject outright the notion of God telling me to commit murder… Note: Another related question appears below, so no further comment is necessary at this point.

    3. Who created God; if he came from nothing or has no creator doesn’t that violate The First Law of Thermodynamics?

    A. This is really two (perhaps three) questions. First, God is said to be uncreated; therefore, no one created God. Second, God is said to be unoriginate; therefore God did not “come from nothing,” nor for that matter did God come from “something.” Since I am by no means a scientist (nor am I a philosopher) I may not be able to adequately answer the question concerning the First Law of Thermodynamics. Having said this, however, God is said to be supra- (above) nature, or transcendent and, therefore, not bound by or within the created order. Simply put, then, the First Law of Thermodynamics would not apply.

    4. If you believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God; do you believe it to be inerrant or infallible? And, If the Bible is found errant, does God still exist and is the Bible still a trustworthy source?

    A. First, yes but we ought to discuss “inspiration.” As stated in previous answers to another questionnaire, definition of key terms is important. What do we mean by “inspired?” Second, leaving aside the need to define the terms “inerrant” and “infallible,” my personal belief/understanding is that the Scriptures comprise the “inspired Word of God” and are, thus, the “perfect rule of faith,” to borrow language from the 39 Articles of Religion. Third, even if “the Bible is found errant,” in no manner does this affect the question of the existence of God. My Muslim friends are quick to point out “error” within the Christian scriptures, yet they most assuredly believe in the existence of God. The same could be said of Zoroastrians, Hindus, deists and other non-religious theists.

    5. In the Bible there are stories of God telling the Israelites to kill innocent women & children and children being punished for the sins of their father. Is this morally right or morally justifiable?

    A. Horrible as it may seem to point this out, an unwarranted assumption is made in this question. First, define the term “innocence,” and then explicate on what grounds one concludes that said “women and children” were innocent. Horrible, I know, but in logical, challenging discussions such as this, the task is necessary at the very least to achieve as much clarity as possible.

    Nevertheless, suppose for the sake of argument that these actions were not “morally justifiable,” then what might one say? One possibility would be an honest, if not simplistic, “dodge;” i.e. I do not know why God commanded something so seemingly, morally reprehensible, but then I am not God nor does God require my defense of his character and integrity. And make no mistake, at this point we are not discussing the existence of God, but rather the character of God.
    Another possible answer, and one with which I am personally more comfortable, is seeing these accounts as an interpretive understanding of the history of one particular people. In other words, this is part of the overall narrative/story – the socio-spiritual history and heritage – of one people group … their unique understanding of their origins, identity and purpose. These stories, woven together to form one “meta-narrative” spring out from the soil of their faith relationship with God and is understood with the context of this same, ongoing relationship. This being the case, then, the related horrors of divinely-mandated slaughter is not prescriptive of the life of “God’s people.”

    6. If God is perfect, how can something imperfect come out of something that is PERFECT? Did God make a mistake?

    A. Define “perfect” and “perfection.” One possible understanding of “perfection” is the idea of completion, or wholeness. Even so, one could ask almost rhetorically, would creation truly be perfect without the attendant possibility of imperfection?

    7. If a Christian goes into a forest and gets lost. And he prays to God to be saved and not die. Does a God still here him? How do know? And, how can you be sure?

    A. If one believes in God – at least in the “classic,” Western sense – then one would naturally believe that God hears each and every living creature, everywhere and at all times. So far as certainty is concerned, I don’t know that I can answer quantitatively; however, faith plays an important role whatever the level of certainty might be.

    8. If you were to die, and when you go before God; it’s some other God you have never seen or heard of nor worshiped? What would you do? Would you plead for him not to judge you harshly and what would you say?

    A. Well … I might actually plead for HER not to judge me too harshly! LOL At any rate, yes, I suppose my response would be what it will likely be anyway, that is, “Lord God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” (The classis prayer of Eastern Orthodoxy … and I am Eastern Orthodox.)

    9. What is something that would convince you that Christianity is wrong and that there is no God? (If your answer is NOTHING, than please explain WHY?)

    A. Here again! “… that Christianity is wrong AND that there is no God?” Why join the two? If Christianity is proven false, does it therefore follow that there is no God? Even focusing on the first part of the question, what do we mean by Christianity being “wrong?” That each doctrinal article of the Apostles’ Creed is false? That the moral teachings of the Decalogue and Beatitudes are “wrong?” That the historical accounts found in the gospels are inaccurate? All of the above and more? One is almost tempted to say these questions are being asked of (perhaps) conservative, evangelical, Protestant Christians. Am I right?

    10. This is a quote by the atheist Richard Dawkins…”We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go ONE god further.“-Richard Dawkins. Why does the Christian reject all other gods, but not their own? Why are you Christian? Why do you believe in only the Judo-Christian God?

    A. “Richard Dawkins, I would like for you to meet John Polkinghorne and Richard Swinburne.” O.k., no, seriously…

    Who said I don’t believe in other gods? Again, definition is imperative. What do we mean by “God, gods and goddesses” in Christian parlance? After all, in the Hebrew scriptures God threatens judgment against the gods of Egypt, which threat God is able to carry out because “the Lord is greater than all gods.” (Ex. 18.11) The gods are said to be “overwhelmed” and even “afraid.” (cf. Job 41. 4, 25) God convenes gods (and one may suppose goddesses) in council, too. (Ps. 82.1-3) Even Jesus asked the religious leaders of his day, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods?’” And there are those who would (will) protest all of these examples, but I merely go back to my initial statement: Definition is imperative. At any rate, it is at least fair to say that the Christian is not necessarily limited to believing in “only the Judeo-Christian God;” rather, s/he is restricted to worshipping only one God, who is said to be the God above all gods.

  47. Pingback: The Christian Challenge | Weighing the Evidence

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