Friday, September 24, 2010


In a comment on my previous post (SCRIBES AND PHARISEES), I was referred to a video on YouTube “about religion” and was told that I might like to view it and see what I think. The comment said, “I thought it makes a lot of common sense, don’t you?”

Well, I viewed the video and found the questions interesting. It contained 10 questions that the speaker said “every intelligent Christian must answer.” Some of these I had asked or been asked before and I have personally wrestled with. I made the following comments:

“Interesting questions. Some are quite challenging. Most are answerable, but some are more difficult. However, the questioner seems to assume that anyone who attempts to answer them is either not intelligent or is simply rationalizing, so whatever answers one gives would have no weight with him.

I have personally wrestled with many of these as a believer. You may find some of my thoughts by browsing through this blog."

At first I thought that that was enough said, but as I pondered the video more and more, I felt I needed to put in my two cents. I reviewed it a few more times and checked out the website. The speaker on the video appears to be on some sort of vendetta against God, the Bible and Christians.

The questions are:
1. Why won’t God heal amputees?
2. Why are there so many starving people in our world?
3. Why does God demand the death of so many innocent people in the Bible?
4. Why does the Bible contain so much anti-scientific nonsense?
5. Why is God such a huge proponent of slavery in the Bible?
6. Why do bad things happen to good people?
7. Why didn’t any of Jesus’ miracles in the Bible leave behind any evidence?
8. How do we explain the fact that Jesus has never appeared to you?
9. Why would Jesus want you to eat His body and drink His blood?
10. Why do Christians get divorced at the same rate as non-Christians?

This seems to be a mixed bag of questions. Some are questions that have troubled persons of faith and non-faith for years (#s 2, 3, 6 and 10); some, though legitimate, seem to be slanted toward the questioner’s viewpoint (#s 3, 4 and 5); others come close to being simply nonsense questions (#s 1, 7, 8 and 9).

The interrogator begins by flattering his viewers. He tells me that he assumes that I the viewer am a smart person and an educated person, probably a professional of some sort, one who knows how the world works and is able to think critically. I feel as I watch that he is trying to suck me in, into agreement with his claims.

But the flattery doesn’t last long. He makes it clear that anyone who gives answers with which he disagrees is rationalizing or making excuses. If anyone actually has an answer, it must be a rationalization or some way of making up excuses for God. There are in the speaker’s mind, no reasonable or sensible answers. (If there are, I’m afraid he wouldn’t even consider them, unless of course they agreed with his.)

And what are his answers to these questions? Simple. Just deny that God exists! The speaker takes us through the 10 questions twice, the first time to cause us to question our foolish beliefs, the second time to show how his answer is the only solution to all ten. Here is his solution:
-- “What if you instead assume that God is imaginary? The answers to every one of these questions make complete sense because God is imaginary.”
-- “If we assume God is imaginary our world makes complete sense.”
-- “People who believe in immortal beings are delusional.”
-- “The belief in any god is complete nonsense!”

There you have it! We need not be concerned about these and other questions. Just deny God’s existence. What is, is. That’s all there is to it! The world now for the first times makes sense!

Or does it? Does denying God really make sense of this world? Some of these same or similar questions are asked and pondered by non-believers. Don’t they know that they don’t have to worry anymore? (Of course realizing that the greater share of the people who inhabit this globe are “delusional” should seem to be a cause for worry for the atheist.)

But then, another solution to the dilemmas in these questions might be to deny the existence of the other entities, such as amputees, starving people, etc. Denial can work in this way as well. Denial is no solution. We cannot solve a dilemma merely by denying the existence of one of its “horns,” no matter how convenient that may be.

But I digress. As I said, a number of these appear to be simply nonsense questions. Our interrogator has come up with an image of God that doesn’t always agree with the picture we find in Scripture. His god (that he doesn’t believe in) is somehow expected to be answerable to man. His god is a magic god, sort of like a genie in a bottle to be called up at will to do one’s bidding, and the interrogator apparently believes that Christians share the same concept. This god doesn’t live up to what the interrogator thinks is believed about him, therefore he must be imaginary.

It’s the old “straw man” debater’s trick. Describe your opponent in terms that can be easily refuted. Only in this case our interrogator has created a “straw god,” one of his own design.

I’ll attempt to deal with the individual questions on my next post.

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