Some questions to ask Christians
From a variety of sources, edited by Jim Watson
Most of the following questions can only be answered with excuses like "the Lord works in mysterious ways." or "We're just not meant to understand."
Why does God care if he is praised? Why does God need to be "served", and why can't we just do it from heaven?
God is this all-knowing, superbeing - why would he care if we mere sinful humans gave him credit for creating the universe?
How can a merciful loving God, send all non-Christians to Hell?
Even the good ones. People from before Christ was born have gone to hell. However, terrible people, including Hitler, George Bush, and Jeffrey Dahmer, could go to Heaven if they repented before death. How could he claim to be all-loving and yet create an endless hell and consign millions of people to it simply because they choose to not worship him.
Why do people with poor eyesight have to go to hell?
Leviticus 21:20 states that people may not approach the altar of God if they have a defect in their sight.
Are haircuts really forbidden?
It is expressly forbidden by Leviticus 19:27 for men to get their hair and beards trimmed.
Do women really have to shave their heads before they can marry?
Trimming her nails and changing clothes I can understand, but why must she shave her head? (Deuteronomy 21:11-13)
Are women forbidden to wear men's clothing? Even women in business?
Deuteronomy 22:5 - A woman must not wear men's clothing, nor a man wear women's clothing; God detests anyone who does this.
What is the best punishment for farmers? Stoning or burning?
Farmers sometimes violate Leviticus 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as do their wives by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (linen/wool or cotton/polyester blend). Does the whole town have to stone them (Leviticus 24:10-16)? Could they just be burned to death, like those people who sleep with their in-laws (Leviticus 20:14)?
Is my grandmother in heaven able to watch me fart and have sex?
Do you think it makes her uncomfortable?
Do I really have to get rid of all my possessions? Have you?
Luke 18:18-22: "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
Why does Jesus say to ‘hate’ everyone who does not give up everything to be his disciple?
Even though the Bible says to love thy neighbor - Luke 14:26-33: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple."
Why did Jesus ask his father (himself), "Why hast thou forsaken me?"
He certainly knew God's (his) glorious plan and that it would result in his crucifixion? Was he just talking to himself? Was he scared? Did he regret going along with the plan to send him to earth?
Why won't God heal amputees?
We know that amputated legs do not spontaneously regenerate in response to prayer - amputees get no miracles from God. Does God just ignore amputees when they pray for miracles? "God must have some kind of special plan for amputees" - so you invent an excuse and then you stop thinking about it because it is so uncomfortable.
Why are there so many people starving?
As a Christian, you believe that God cares about you and answers your prayers, but you also notice that thousands of children are dying of starvation. It really is horrific. Why would God be worried about your life, while at the same time ignoring the prayers of these desperate, innocent little children? It really doesn't make any sense. To explain it, you have to come up with some sort of very strange excuse for God - "God wants these children to suffer and die for some divine, mysterious reason." Then you push it out of your mind because it does not fit with your view of a loving, caring God.
Why does God allow innocent babies to be born with defects or be mentally retarded?
Why does God cause or permit disasters?
Earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados, and floods kill thousands of innocent men, women, children, and fetuses each year.
Why does God create or permit incurable illnesses?
Most of those afflicted with cancer, Alzheimer's, cerebral palsy, and other diseases are decent and innocent people.
Why does God demand the death of so many innocent people?
Genesis 22:2 - God commands Abraham ‘Take your only son Isaac, whom you love, and offer him there as a burnt-offering on one of the mountains that I shall show you.’
Exodus 22:18 - A command of Moses: "Do not allow a sorceress to live."
Exodus 35:2 - God demands that we kill everyone who works on the Sabbath day.
Deuteronomy 21:18-21 - God demands that we kill disobedient teenagers.
Deuteronomy 22:13-21 - God demands that we kill girls who are not virgins when they marry.
Matthew 15:22-28 - And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child; and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
Samuel 15:3 - This is what the Lord Almighty says... ‘Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant.’
There are lots of verses like these. Why would a loving God want us to murder our fellow human beings over such trivial matters? Just because you work on the wrong day of the week, you must die? If you think about it, you realize that it doesn't make sense. So you create some kind of rationalization to explain these verses (or you just ignore them).
Why did God allow Adolf Hitler to order the killing of innocent adults, children, and babies?
Why did God allow the planes to hit the twin towers?
Why does God allow child abuse?
If its because of 'free will', then why should we bother worshipping him at all?
"Fair Babylon, you destroyer, happy is he who repays you for the evil you have done us! Happy is he who seizes your children and smashes them against the rocks." - Psalm 137:8-9 (NIV)
"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother." - Jesus as told by Matthew 10:34-35 (NIV)
"From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. "Go on up, you baldhead!" they said. He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths." - 2 Kings 2:23-24
Do you favor a large military force?
American Christians and the Republican party favor a massive well-equipped military. Where, in the Bible, does Jesus tell us to spend a disproportionate amount of money on our military? Did Jesus tell us to turn plows into swords and to attack and murder our enemies?
Do you agree with how God treats women?
"Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church." - I Corinthians 14:34-35 (NIV)
"Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression." - I Timothy 2:9-14
"If a man discovers that his bride is not a virgin on their wedding night, the men of her city must stone her to death on her father's doorstep." - Deuteronomy 22:13-21
"If a man (meets) a virgin who is not pledged to be married and (he) rapes her ... He must marry the girl ... He can never divorce her as long as he lives." - Deuteronomy 22:28-29 (NIV)
"Have you allowed all the women to live? He (Moses) asked them ... Now ... kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man." - Numbers 31:1-18 (NIV)
or how he treats teenagers? or families?
"He that curses his father or mother shall surely be put to death." - Exodus 21:17
"If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son ... Then shall his father and his mother ... bring him out unto the elders of his city ... And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die." - Deuteronomy 21:18-21 (NIV)
"And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child; and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death." - Matthew 15:22-28
"Six days of work shall be done, but the seventh day shall be a holy day - whoever does work on that day shall be put to death." - Exodus 35:2
Why does the Bible contain so much anti-scientific nonsense?
We know how science works - we happily use the products of science every day: car, cell phone, microwave oven, TV, computer. These are all products of the scientific process. Science is incredibly important to our economy and to our lives. But the Bible contains all sorts of information that is scientific nonsense:
God did not create the world in 6 days 6,000 years ago.
There was never a worldwide flood that covered mountains.
Jonah did not live inside a fish's stomach for three days.
God did not create Adam from a handful of dust. or Eve from Adam's rib.
Why would an all-knowing God write such nonsense? Because it makes no sense, we have to create some strange excuse to explain why the Bible contains such nonsense.
Why is God a proponent of slavery?
Exodus 21:20-21 - God says that it is OK to own slaves, and it is also OK to beat them.
Colossians 3:22-24 - Slaves need to obey their masters.
Ephesians 6:5 - Slaves need to obey their masters just as they would obey Christ.
1 Peter 2:18 - Slaves need to obey their masters, even if their masters are harsh.
God supports slavery, yet intelligent people abhor slavery and make it illegal.
Why are there 4 similar Gospels in the Bible? Why not 3? or 6?
They don't even agree with each other. If that story is so important that it needs to be repeated - why 4 times? Wouldn't 3 have made the point? or, if it's really important, maybe it should have been repeated 7 times! Four just doesn't make sense. Especially for an all-knowing Supreme Being of the Universe.
Why do bad things happen to good people?
That makes no sense. Do we have to create an exotic excuse to rationalize it?
Why does Jesus want us to eat his body and drink his blood?
It sounds totally grotesque. Why would an all-powerful God want us to do something that, in any other context, sounds like a disgusting, cannibalistic, satanic ritual?
Why do Christians get divorced at the same rate as non-Christians?
Christians get married in front of God and their Christian friends, all of whom are praying to God for the marriage to succeed. And then they say, "What God has put together, let no man put asunder." God, all-powerful, has put two people together - that should that seal the deal. Yet Christians get divorced at the same rate as everyone else. (Actually - Southern Baptists get divorced at a higher rate than atheists, 29% compared to 21%.)
Is this benchmark a factor? "There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses." - Exekiel 23:20 (NIV)
Why don't more Christians read the Bible?
It was written by the smartest entity ever. They will benefit by reading it. They will learn more about their faith. But still they don't read it. What are they afraid of? Do they suspect that it will show them a vengeful, egotistical, violent supreme being?
Do most Christians, Jews, and Muslims know that what they believe is probly wrong?
Yes, but they don't want to deal with that. I had a student who admitted in class that she did not want to question her beliefs because she was afraid of what she'd discover. She suspected that her beliefs were not well-founded. It was easier for her to believe in ignorance than to face the truth.
Why did God take six days to create the universe, and have to rest on the seventh?
If he is all-powerful, why didn't he just snap his fingers and create everything all at once, and not need to rest afterwards?
Is this the God you choose to worship?
The God of the Bible created evil, murdered thousands, and refuses to help the hungry, the destitute, the deformed, or the suffering.
Does God not like churches?
Why does he allow churches to burn down and why does he send his tornadoes to destroy houses of worship?
If God made man in his image, why do we have different hair color, height, and eye colors?
Isn't that evolution? In whose image was woman made? Why are there birth defects?
Why did Jesus die for my sins, without knowing me?
If he knows me and loves me, why would he send me to suffer for eternity in hell just because I don't accept him as my Lord?
Do these actions actually help?
• We have been praying for and asking God to Bless our troops - yet thousands of them still suffer from traumatic injuries and die horrible deaths, including innocent civilians. Why?
• We've been demanding that God Bless America for hundreds of years. What has that demand gotten us?
• In the 1950s, we added 'under God' to the Pledge of Allegiance and 'In God we Trust' to our money (so appropriate) - for what purpose?
Why does God, as a wonderful forgiving God, hold Adam's sin over all our heads?
Why must we all pay for this by being classified as permanent sinners? If God was so pissed, why didn't he just kill Adam and Eve and start over? Why does he choose to hold this incredible grudge? Why not do the 'Christian thing' and forgive Adam?
Where did God come from? Who or what created God?
Does God have a mouth?
What for? Who does he talk to? Does he sing in the shower? Does he prefer a bath? Does he stink?
What does he eat? Is there a 7-11 up there? Do you think he has to wait in line behind the fat lady with the bratty kid? Do you think God gets a discount?
What difference does it make if people want to believe in God, even if he is imaginary?
Because people who believe in imaginary beings are delusional, people who talk to imaginary beings are delusional, and people who believe in imaginary superstitions like prayer are delusional. It's that simple, and that obvious. Religious beliefs hurt you personally and hurt us as a species because they are delusional. This often results in war, murder, hatred, bigotry, intolerance, arrogance, deception, and so much more that is not healthy for a progressive society.
If you really delve into the Bible you will see that it is a maze, a veritable labyrinth of contradictions, inconsistencies, inaccuracies, poor mathematics, bad science, erroneous geography, false prophecies, immoral comments, degenerate heroes, and a multitude of other problems too numerous to mention. It may be somebody's word, but it certainly isn't the product of a perfect, divine being. - Dennis McKinsey
The Bible is either the word of an almighty all-loving God and therefore must be obeyed or it is fantastic superstitious fiction with a few good parables and lessons. Here are a few contradictions from the 'perfect' word of God:
"For I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger forever." (Jeremiah 3:12)
"Ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn forever." (Jeremiah 17:4)
"If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid." (John 5:31)
"Jesus answered: Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid." (John 8:14)
Jesus said, "For judgement I am come into this world." (John 9:39)
"I came not to judge the world" (John 12:47)
"For God so loved the world" (John 3:16)
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 John 2:15)
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)
"Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 6:1)
"Jacob said, 'I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.'" (Genesis 32:30)
"No man hath seen God at any time." (John 1:18)
We should fear God (Matthew 10:28)
We should love God (Matthew 22:37)
There is no fear in love (1 John 4:18)
Fortunately, there are very few Bible-believing Christians in America. Most are CINO - Christian In Name Only, Social Christians, or PVBC - Political Voting Bloc Christians. But almost no American Christians are following the teachings of Jesus Christ or are attempting to be more Christ-like. Many American Christians own guns, favor increased military and war, favor the death penalty, want to build a wall to keep people out, live in fear, and show very little compassion for people that are different from them.
Some Easter questions: Pick your favorite Gospel
Religion has never let facts get in the way of a good myth. Most religious historians believe that many elements of the Christian Easter were derived from Pagan celebrations. The Bible is . Christianity is based on the resurrection of the Christ - so that part of the the infallible, divinely-inspired word of God Good Book should certainly be very accurate. From Father Dan's Blog
Who first came to the tomb on Sunday morning?
__ one woman (John 20:1)
__ two women (Matthew 28:1)
__ three women (Mark 16:1)
__ more than three women (Luke 23:55-56; 24:1,10)
She (they) came:
__ while it was still dark (Matthew 28:1; John 20:1)
__ after the sun had risen (Mark 16:2)
The first visitor(s) was/were greeted by:
__ an angel (Matthew 28:2-5)
__ a young man (Mark 16:5)
__ two men (Luke 24:4)
__ no one (John 20:1-2)
The greeter(s) was/were:
__ sitting on the stone outside the tomb (Matthew 28:2)
__ sitting inside the tomb (Mark 16:5)
__ standing inside the tomb (Luke 24:3-4)
After finding the tomb empty, the woman/women:
__ ran to tell the disciples (Matthew 28:7-8; Mark 16:10; Luke 24:9; John 20:2)
__ ran away and said nothing to anyone (Mark 16:8)
The risen Jesus first appeared to:
__ Mary Magdalene alone (John 20:14; Mark 16:9)
__ Cleopas and another disciple (Luke 24:13,15,18)
__ Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (Matthew 28:1,9)
__ Cephas (Peter) alone (1 Cor. 15:4-5; Luke 24:34)
Jesus first appeared somewhere:
__ between the tomb and Jerusalem (Matthew 28:8-9)
__ just outside the tomb (John 20:11-14)
__ in Galilee - some 80 miles north of Jerusalem (Mark 16:6-7)
__ on the road to Emmaus, west of Jerusalem (Luke 24:13-15)
__ we are not told where (Mark 16:9; 1 Cor. 15:4-5)
The disciples were to see Jesus first:
__ in Galilee (Mark 16:7; Matthew 28:7,10,16)
__ in Jerusalem (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:33,36; John 20:19; Acts 1:4)
The risen Jesus:
__ wanted to be touched (John 20:27)
__ did not want to be touched (John 20:17)
__ did not mind being touched (Matthew 28:9-10)
Jesus ascended to Heaven:
__ the same day that he was resurrected (Mark 16:9,19; Luke 24:13,28-36,50-51)
__ forty days after the resurrection (Acts 1:3,9)
__ we are not told that he ascended to Heaven at all (Matthew 28:10, 16-20; John 21:25; the original Gospel of Mark ends at 16:8)
The disciples received the Holy Spirit:
__ 50 days after the resurrection (Acts 1:3,9)
__ in the evening of the same day as the resurrection (John 20:19-22)
The risen Jesus:
__ was recognized by those who saw him (Matthew 28:9; Mark 16:9-10)
__ was not always recognizable (Mark 16:12; Luke 24:15-16,31,36-37; John 20:14-15)
The risen Jesus:
__ was physical (Matthew 28:9; Luke 24:41-43; John 20:27)
__ was not physical (Mark 16:9,12,14; Luke 24:15-16,31,36-37; John 20:19,26; 1 Cor. 15:5-8)
The risen Jesus was seen by the disciples, presumably:
__ only once (Matthew 28:16-17)
__ first by two of them, later by all eleven (Mark 16:12-14; Luke 24:13-15,33,36-51)
__ three times (John 20:19,26; 21:1,14)
__ many times (Acts 1:3)
When Jesus appeared to the disciples, there were:
__ eleven of them (Matthew 28:16-17; Luke 24:33,36)
__ twelve of them (1 Cor. 15:5)
Wisdom from Penn Jillette
Take some time and put the Bible on your reading list. Try and stick with it cover to cover. Not because it teaches history - we've shown you it doesn't. Read it because you'll see for yourself what the Bible is all about. It sure isn't great literature. If it were published as fiction, no reviewer would give it a passing grade. There are some vivid scenes and some quotable phrases, but there's no plot. no structure; there's a tremendous amount of filler, and the characters are painfully one-dimensional. Whatever you do, don't read the Bible for a moral code: it advocates prejudice, cruelty, superstition, and murder. Read it because we need more atheists, and nothing will get you there faster than reading the damn Bible.
Links to other religious essays
The decline of Christianity
The absurdity of religion, believing that myths are real
The value of prayer
Stickers to place in hotel Bibles
Quotes: Words of Wisdom about religion
Islam for the novice
Jim's spiritual journey