Questions for the Christian

Questions for the Christian presented by Brenda from Left Christianity via Why Christianity? Why the Bible?
A while back I put up a YouTube post about Ravi Zacharias talking about Why the Bible and Christianity were unique for belief.  And Brenda respond with a questionnaire that raised some eyebrows.  So I decided to turn her comment into a post for anyone who wants to read it or respond:

1) If the Bible is divinely inspired, why has it not managed to convince the majority of mankind that it is anything more than a book written by people?

2) Christians believe that people of other faiths have been duped into thinking their holy books are from God when they are not. Can they admit then that this indicates that it is easy for people to be completely wrong on this issue and therefore it is very possible that the Christians could also be wrong about their own holy book?

3) If it’s divinely inspired, why does so much of it have to be explained away? (ex. slavery, sexism, genocide, scientific knowledge that is indicative only of the time period it was written in, etc.)

4) If an outsider were to ask most Christians if they extensively researched the holy books of other religions before deciding that the Bible was the only divinely inspired holy book, what would their response be?

5) If the Bible is divinely inspired, shouldn’t we expect more than vague prophecies that could be interpreted in numerous ways as having been fulfilled? If a book is from God, shouldn’t the prophecies be specific so that no one could doubt that what had been prophesied had come to pass exactly as stated? (Why do prophecies not tell us the names of the countries or people and the specific time and place something will happen?)

6) If the Bible is divinely inspired, why does it fail to communicate a clear message to mankind or even to its own followers? If it’s divinely inspired, why can’t Christians agree on what it says on even the most basic issues (obvious by the countless numbers of different denominations)?

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 agnostic, atheist vs christian, bible, biblical difficulties, biblical inspiration, inspiration, ravi zacharias, theology, youtube and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Questions for the Christian

  1. Brenda says:

    Meant to go back after I’d posted those questions and mention that they were inspired by ideas in the book 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God by Guy P. Harrison.

  2. Great questions that would really probe someone’s beliefs

  3. unkleE says:

    Ah well BR, I suppose I should have a go at this. : )

    1. There are about 7 billion people in the world and about a third of them are christians, so a fair few are convinced. Of the rest, quite a few have never seen a Bible. So it has probably convinced about half who have read it, not a bad success rate! Further, people have free will and some choose to believe for various reasons and some choose to disbelieve. Jesus himself said that more would disbelieve his message than believe it. I don’t see how divine inspiration changes any of that.

    2. Yes and yes. But (i) I don’t think necessarily that everything in other religious books is wrong – they can’t be 100% wrong if some parts (e.g. some ethics) agree with christianity. And (ii) of course it’s possible anyone could be wrong – me, you, Brenda, etc. The question is “what is the evidence?”. And the evidence looks better for christianity than for non-christianity (IMO).

    3. God has several possibilities if he decides to give people a book. For example:

    (i) Write it himself, make it 100% correct for all time. But then it will not be easily understood by everyone. e.g. how would Moses understand quantum physics and the big bang? – see Moses learns science.

    (ii) Have it written by people in their own idiom and with their own understanding, and progressively update it – and have the Holy Spirit update it even more.

    I reckon he chose the second, and I think that was smart. I think your, and many non-believers’ understanding of “inspiration” needs to be questioned.

    4. Almost certainly “no”. So what? My faith depends on Jesus, not the Bible. (Yes of course we read about Jesus in the Bible, but only in the latest part of it, and it doesn’t require belief in inspiration to learn about Jesus, just acceptance of history.) And it is clear with minimal investigation that Jesus is unique among religious teachers. Again, I think you and others misunderstand why we believe, which is perhaps why you stopped believing. (I don’t say this as a criticism, I blame the poor state of much of US christianity.)

    5. Because prophecies are not primarily predictions (another misunderstanding, as most scholars will tell you) but messages from God. They are not some party trick to convince sceptics, but corrections on behaviour.

    6. Because God works more subtly. Look at the ministry of Jesus. He spoke cryptically, he didn’t give straight answers, he told parables, he was enigmatic. His teaching is for those who have ears to hear, not for those who don’t. The Bible is the same (in some ways). It is not a text book (who wants a text book?), but a story (all people can relate to a story). It is not primarily designed to give detailed information – that would assume that the same information would be valid for all people and all times, which is not sensible – but to awaken interest and faith and to give a picture of what God is doing.

    So those are my answers. I really think these questions reveal a deep gulf – between my understanding of christianity and the christianity that you and Brenda and others have rejected. If these questions reveal your (plural) understanding of christianity and the Bible, then sorrowfully I have to say I can understand a little why you (plural) gave up belief. Christianity, the Bible and Jesus are very different in some parts to what you have been led to believe (IMO).

    So I have a single question to you (plural). Are you interested in re-learning what christianity is about? Or at least learning what I and many other christians believe it is all about?

    Thanks for the opportunity to respond.

    • I would say I never stopped learning, I am still learning about Christianity and the bible. I will always continue to value truth and the search for it and learning about it.

      I would say I am no longer limiting my curriculum of Christianity to only theological matters, but to also historical and literature.

  4. unkleE-

    You’re seriously ok with the fact that about 5 billion of the people now living are destined for Everlasting Hell because God has failed to clearly communicate? Even assuming that you’re right (1/2 have read the Bible and rejected it) that still leaves 2.5 Billion people that will go to their graves without a proper chance to decide their Eternal destiny. You are really ok with those numbers?

    If God is all powerful, than why can’t he get his message to all people everywhere?

  5. unkleE says:

    G’day QA, thanks for the questions.

    “You’re seriously ok with the fact that about 5 billion of the people now living are destined for Everlasting Hell because God has failed to clearly communicate? “

    No, I am not seriously OK with that. I think if I thought that, I would disbelieve. But fortunately, that is not a true statement, I believe. By that, I mean that US evangelical christianity may teach what you have said, but I don’t believe the Bible teaches it.

    1. The main Biblical teaching on hell comes from Jesus, and he taught a finite end or forfeiting of life rather than everlasting torment. For the Biblical justification of this statement, see Hell – what does the Bible say?. So God gives everyone the amazing gift of this life (which many atheists say is all they want), and the opportunity to transfer to eternal life (= life in the age to come), and I’m seriously OK with that.

    2. The Bible doesn’t say that the non-christian billions will be automatically condemned. Jesus said the only way to God was through him, but he didn’t say that only christians would receive the gift of eternal life. For a start, the faithful Old Testament Jews are surely recipients of God’s grace even though they had never heard of Jesus, and the Bible hints in a number of places that God will judge the non-believers compassionately and according to what light they have been given. For more on this, see Can only christians be saved?.

    Billy Graham once said this:

    “He’s calling people out of the world for His name, whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ because they’ve been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus but they know in their hearts that they need something that they don’t have, and they turn to the only light that they have, and I think that they are saved, and that they’re going to be with us in heaven.”

    “If God is all powerful, than why can’t he get his message to all people everywhere?”

    I think he does. I just don’t think we know exactly what people need to hear and what he communicates. If the above teaching is right, everyone gets some message from him via their conscience, and that is enough.

    I understand where you are coming from, but I really believe that US evangelical christianity is way out of touch on some of these matters. I suggest we need to go back to the Bible, and especially to Jesus, and look with new eyes. That is what I have tried to do, and it has been a revelation. And I am finding confirmation all the time that God is showing the same things to many others as well.

    I would love to discuss these matters more with you. Would you like to swap a few emails? Get me on Best wishes.

  6. The issue of hell and salvation is always a serious and sensitive matter

  7. exrelayman says:

    First time commenting here. Don’t recall how I got here, probably via D’Ma or Zoe who I see have commented previously. I am atheistic in belief and agnostic in knowledge.

    Wishing you well in all your endeavors.

    I have written up 2 brief summaries critiquing Christianity that I think could be of value to you or anyone wishing to clarify their thinking as to why belief in Christianity is not logically tenable. I am willing to email them to you or to post them as replies here, though out of courtesy to you I refrain from the latter unless invited to do so, as they are rather long to be blog post responses. I do not have a blog so these seem to be my only options in getting this to you. Any interest (no is an OK answer)?

    If email is desired, provide in the form xxx at yyy dot net as a defense against spam bots.

    • hello exrelayman

      I actually really like that idea, I would not mind reading your brief summaries. I myself am also in the process of writing up my own brief for my wife, my pastor and one of the elders at the church. I intially was just going to do an overview on all the general things that make it hard to believe in a christian god, but after my talks with them. I realized I will actually need to break it down into shortened sections that hit the major points with emphasis and clarity on what I thought no longer contribution to my christianity and led to my decision that I could no longer wake up.

      (And I’ve actually completed and sent the first two by e-mail, the one on prayer will go out probably tomorrow or Monday)

      1. Internal Bible Contradictions
      2. Historical Inconsistenicis
      3. The problem and indoctrination of prayer
      4. Attributes of God and is the concept of the Christian god illogical?
      5. Moral Absurdities
      7. Am I better off? Could I be better off not believing? and final thoughts.

      But go ahead and send me your articles, I would be happy to read them……mrodri26 at mail dot usf dot edu

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