Author Topic: What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?  (Read 21106 times)

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Offline Eaten by Bears

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What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?
« on: December 09, 2011, 12:51:58 PM »
Not the obvious ones like 'Prove there is a God' to which they will spout all sorts of mumbo jumbo like 'Look at the trees. God is all around us' or 'It says so in the Bible.'

I work with a Christian and one of her friends is having some sort of 'open day' where you watch a video and get to ask questions. I have a chance to attend, although I'm not sure if I will because it's just a pointless exercise, but if I did, I want to work out some of the most difficult and hard hitting questions to ask, especially ones that will stump them on the spot.

A couple that spring to mind are:
How does God justify drowning the entire population of the earth (including animals)?
How is God good if he set two bears to rip apart a crowd of naughty children?

also: Name one thing that God could do that would not be good.

Online One Above All

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Re: What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2011, 12:54:05 PM »
Any questions, really. I've never seen a theist answer a question without using fallacies.
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Offline dloubet

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Re: What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2011, 12:58:08 PM »
Ask them if they could go back in time and successfully rescue Jesus from the crucifixion, would they do it?

Let the squirming begin!
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Offline kevinagain

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Re: What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2011, 01:03:38 PM »
i think the hardest question in christianity is the problem of evil. if it's an assumption of christianity that god is good, then why does he administer a world in which evil exists? set aside whether he created it or not, presumably he's in a position to eliminate the flaws.

is evil a flaw, or is the system working as designed? if it's designed this way, why?

hindusim solves the problem by denying that proximate evil exists, because there's always a greater karma context that encompasses more than the current life. but in the one-life, one-chance scenario that most christians believe in, it's harder to reconcile.

 

Offline naemhni

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Re: What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2011, 01:03:45 PM »
Ask them if they could go back in time and successfully rescue Jesus from the crucifixion, would they do it?

Let the squirming begin!

Actually, I would think that this would be a pretty easy and straightforward one for a Christian to answer: no, they would let him die, since that was his purpose in coming here.  I'm assuming, though, that you have some kind of a follow-up question for that response?
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Offline Backspace

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Re: What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2011, 01:05:01 PM »
Here's one that just came to mind: Why won't God heal amputees?
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Offline Eaten by Bears

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Re: What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2011, 01:09:18 PM »
Here's one that just came to mind: Why won't God heal amputees?

Can't believe I didn't think of that!

Offline Nick

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Re: What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2011, 01:10:20 PM »
Anything that requires logic.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

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Offline Azdgari

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Re: What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2011, 01:12:59 PM »
also: Name one thing that God could do that would not be good.

This.  Exactly this.
I always say what I mean. But sometimes I'm a sarcastic prick whose tone can't be properly communicated via text.

Offline velkyn

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Re: What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2011, 01:24:23 PM »
Not the obvious ones like 'Prove there is a God' to which they will spout all sorts of mumbo jumbo like 'Look at the trees. God is all around us' or 'It says so in the Bible.'
answers to which are  "every theist claims this, show me your god did it" and "everyone claims this about their holy book, show me yours is more accurate than someone elses."
Quote
A couple that spring to mind are:
How does God justify drowning the entire population of the earth (including animals)?
guarantee that they will say one of several things “Everyone was really really evil.”  “it’s god’s right to do what he wants with anything he made”   “It’s god’s plan and we can’t question it”.
Quote
How is God good if he set two bears to rip apart a crowd of naughty children?
  same as above

Dloubet has one of the good ones.

Why does your god depend on evil to get its plans working?  Satan is absolutely required for the story of the bible to happen.  Evidently this god can’t get it up without using evil, which would break that claim that the Christian god is omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent, unable to stand evil.

Why does god depend on a book written by humans and human translators to get its supposedly perfect message out?

Why do Christians all claim that they all have what God really meant, but they disagree?

How can we tell who the true Christians are?

Why does god always lag behind humans when it comes to morality?

Why is your god evidently impotent or imaginary in that it allows people who sin against it to keep on going and benefit, unlike the stories in the bible?  Can’t use free will sicne that didn’t seem to bother him in the stories you claim are real.

Why does an omniscient, omnipotent god fail at every attempt at getting humans to behave?  He should know exactly what it would take and do it. 

Why is there no evidence for this god at all?

Why didn’t’ your god require blind faith in the bible, with personal appearances, miracles that were to be accepted as evidence?  Why is it the usual excuse of Christians now? 
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Offline fishjie

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Re: What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2011, 01:31:31 PM »
I was talking to my friend about this, and I think there are a few ....

The big one ...

"What is God?  Please define".     Based on what they respond, you can drill deep, and it becomes pretty obvious that they have no good answer for this one

Here's another ....

"Christianity didn't start spreading around the world until centuries after Jesus.    How is it fair that there existed people in remote corners of the world that had never even read the Bible, let alone even know the Bible existed, that are going to burn in hell?"

If they respond that they get a free pass, then you ask "Well aren't missionaries damning millions of people to hellfire then?"

The problem of evil is also a good one.      If they say its Satan's fault, ask why God created Satan.   If they say free will, show evidence based on passages in the bible where there was no free will (Pharaoh's heart being hardened, Judas, and Esau being hated, Jacob being loved, etc).

Offline kevinagain

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Re: What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2011, 01:36:54 PM »
also: Name one thing that God could do that would not be good.

This.  Exactly this.

he could lie, bud.

in my opinion, a lie is always bad.

Offline riley2112

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Re: What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2011, 01:38:36 PM »
Ask them to define Holy and just. One of my teachers asked , Does God love the holy and just because it is holy and just or is it holy and just  because God loves it?  Not sure why , but that has been roaming around my mind for the last week or so.
Most people think they know what they know. The problem starts by not knowing what you don't know. You know?  (Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence)   (Albert Einstein)One fool can ask more questions in a minute than twelve wise men can answer in an hour.
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Offline relativetruth

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Re: What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2011, 01:39:08 PM »
Why is JC's 'sacrifice' regarded as the greatest sacrifice in the universe?

He was supposedly nailed to a cross for a day or so, then he died, then he arose three days later. And all the time he knew that would happen.

How does this compare to victims of The Spanish Inquisition, The Holocaust, amputee war veterans, world wide poverty, child abuse etc and the millions of volunteers who sacrifice a lifetime at huge risk to themselves (at war-zones, disease-ridden slums etc) trying to improve the lives of fellow human beings.

How does JC's weekend compare to the life times of these hard working people?

Edit :- Admittingly it was a long weekend  :)
« Last Edit: December 09, 2011, 01:50:19 PM by relativetruth »
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2011, 02:08:12 PM »
also: Name one thing that God could do that would not be good.

This.  Exactly this.

he could lie, bud.

in my opinion, a lie is always bad.

Eh?  I don't think you get the jist of the question, and why it's hard for a Christian to answer.
I always say what I mean. But sometimes I'm a sarcastic prick whose tone can't be properly communicated via text.

Offline kevinagain

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Re: What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2011, 02:23:02 PM »
Quote from: kevin
in my opinion, a lie is always bad.

Eh?  I don't think you get the jist of the question, and why it's hard for a Christian to answer.

no, i understand the implications, azdgari. at least of the particular aspect that's under discussion right here.

whether or not god defines good or evil, as far as i am concerned, the definition has been fixed, and i use it to judge god as quickly as i use it to judge people.

if god lies, then god performs an evil act. he has set the standard, and if he doesn't abide by it himself, then it has no meaning. 

there are branches of christianity that hold that god lies, although they wouldn't phrase it that way. hardcore calvinism is one of them, in which predestination makes a mockery of god's promise that there is value in obedience and faith. protestant dispensationalism is another one, which i frankly don't have an answer for.

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2011, 02:37:55 PM »
If the bible is the perfect word of god, why has it spawned so many varieties of christianity? Why isn't the bible crystal clear? We are told by some christians that chapter x, verse x is literal, while other christians tell us it is a metaphor. Nobody seems willing to explain why their god was afraid of iron chariots, or what that flying saucer/UFO passage is about. And not only do different groups interpret the bible differently, most individuals seem to have their own custom interpretations within the baptists or Lutherans or whatever. How is this possible if this god guy is so perfect. And why hasn't he corrected this problem. If perhaps he knows darned well that the seventh day adventists, most of which honestly love and worship him, are way off in some of their interpretations, why isn't he showing up and clarifying things?

You and I know. But how do christians explain it to themselves without wondering about possible base causes, like that perhaps he doesn't exist, so he can't do anything about it?
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?
« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2011, 02:38:40 PM »
Ahh.  Got it, kevin.  But that would only become a problem if the Christian actually thinks that all lies are bad.
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Offline riley2112

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Re: What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?
« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2011, 02:43:46 PM »
also: Name one thing that God could do that would not be good.

This.  Exactly this.

he could lie, bud.

in my opinion, a lie is always bad.

Eh?  I don't think you get the jist of the question, and why it's hard for a Christian to answer.
I think the reason it is hard for a Christian to answer is the fact that being God is good then what He does, in turn must be good. However upon thinking about it , being He also can do anything , why couldn't he do that which is not good? It is questions such as these that I find difficult to understand why my pastor and church seems to just blow them off. If would seem if they would face and deal with the hard questions it would make their belief more , I don't know, honorable.
Most people think they know what they know. The problem starts by not knowing what you don't know. You know?  (Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence)   (Albert Einstein)One fool can ask more questions in a minute than twelve wise men can answer in an hour.
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Offline kevinagain

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Re: What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?
« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2011, 02:54:06 PM »
Ahh.  Got it, kevin.  But that would only become a problem if the Christian actually thinks that all lies are bad.

well, i'm a christian, and i think all lies are bad, everywhere, always. if god lies, then god has performed an evil act, judged by the standards he has put in place.

that's a different thing from saying that telling lies sometimes brings about good results, which is inarguable. it also brings up the question of whether an act can be judged apart from its consequences, which i think can be done.

this position was a long time coming for me, but i don't see any honest way around it.

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Re: What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?
« Reply #20 on: December 09, 2011, 02:55:24 PM »
well, i'm a christian, and i think all lies are bad, everywhere, always. if god lies, then god has performed an evil act, judged by the standards he has put in place.

You should check out my topic: http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,13563.0.html
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Offline velkyn

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Re: What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?
« Reply #21 on: December 09, 2011, 03:01:52 PM »
Ask them to define Holy and just. One of my teachers asked , Does God love the holy and just because it is holy and just or is it holy and just  because God loves it?  Not sure why , but that has been roaming around my mind for the last week or so.

good ersponse to that here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2011/12/07/what-does-it-mean-that-god-is-good/
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Offline Azdgari

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Re: What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?
« Reply #22 on: December 09, 2011, 03:02:29 PM »
There's a way around it, Kevin:  Acknowledging the subjective nature of moral values.  One can still be a Chrisitan without considering one's god to be the ontological foundation of goodness.
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Offline velkyn

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Re: What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?
« Reply #23 on: December 09, 2011, 03:03:59 PM »
well, i'm a christian, and i think all lies are bad, everywhere, always. if god lies, then god has performed an evil act, judged by the standards he has put in place.
was telling the Nazis lies about the whereabouts of Anne Frank an "evil" act.

Can you define evil?
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Offline free

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Re: What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?
« Reply #24 on: December 09, 2011, 03:35:42 PM »
I like the Watchmaker Analogy.  It says that since something complex must be created by something more complex than itself, God must be more complex than the universe.  Since there argument is that the universe couldn't exist without God because it is too unlikely, God is more complex and thus more unlikely.  So their idea of a universe created by God becomes less likely than a universe without a God.  Its basically an application of the anthropic principle.  They suppose something even less likely than the thing they're saying is unlikely to begin with.

Offline relativetruth

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Re: What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?
« Reply #25 on: December 09, 2011, 03:36:37 PM »
Why did the Christian god not show himself (as he did in the OT) to the millions of people in India , China , Japan and many smaller groups accross the globe?

What really did Abraham's lot do to make them soo special?
If we knew that we can at least use them as role models.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2011, 03:43:32 PM by relativetruth »
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Offline Hatter23

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Re: What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?
« Reply #26 on: December 09, 2011, 03:45:09 PM »
How do you seperate your faith from gibbering tribal primitives that believe in some volcano God; how do you know you are right and they are wrong?
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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Offline kevinagain

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Re: What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?
« Reply #27 on: December 09, 2011, 03:46:09 PM »
There's a way around it, Kevin:  Acknowledging the subjective nature of moral values.  One can still be a Chrisitan without considering one's god to be the ontological foundation of goodness.

that's a difficult question to deal with, because it requires re-defining something that christian theology generally regards as foundational to be subject to an another foundation itself. to say that goodness stems from a source other than god is to either push the question back to a point earlier than or superior to god, or to reject the idea that god is the source of morality.

i don't have an answer to that, but the interpretation that i use is the logically unavoidable one of measuring god by myself-- i don't have any other tool to apply to the question. if god has instilled a knowledge of good and evil in me, then i can't suspend that system of values simply because he asserts it to be only locally true. that's bullshit, in my opinion, and requires me to simultaneously believe and not believe in the same thing. i reject the paradox, and therefore have to assert that i have the right to judge god.

Offline kevinagain

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Re: What are the hardest questions for Christians to answer?
« Reply #28 on: December 09, 2011, 03:47:04 PM »

You should check out my topic: http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,13563.0.html

i'm reading through it now, light bearer. there are some significant questions in it.