Not long ago, I received an invitation from Marcus at The BitterSweet End to respond to his Christian (Theist) Challenge. It’s my understanding that he’ll also be responding to my own list of Twelve Questions to Ask an Atheist, so stay tuned. (For those who remember, I also compiled the numerous responses I received from atheists in another post).
Now, the questions:
1. Do you feel like Religion, God and The Bible conflict?
I don’t believe God and the Bible conflict. I do recognize that religion, defined as “imperfect people seeking to follow a perfect God”, can sometimes conflict, in practice, with God and the Bible.
2. If God told you kill someone, (And you are 100% it’s God). Would you kill that person? Why or Why Not?
If you’re asking whether or not I ascribe to some version of divine command theory, the answer is yes.
At the same time, God obviously can’t contradict His own nature…so it’s difficult for me to answer this question without additional context. In many ways, it’s like asking, “Can God make a rock so big He can’t pick it up?”
Until God begins recruiting unsuspecting Christians as His personal hit men, I wouldn’t be too worried about this kind of hypothetical question.
3. Who created God; if he came from nothing or has no creator doesn’t that violate The First Law of Thermodynamics?
The First Law of Thermodynamics tells us that energy can be neither created nor destroyed, but it doesn’t address the question of “where all this energy came from in the first place”. It specifically describes energy within the universe, so it’s not clear why it should be applied to the state of things before the universe began.
I touched on this issue in a previous post, but the main idea is that God is defined by Christians as the Prime Mover; the “first cause” of all that exists.
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 hold to the inerrancy of the autographic text of Scripture. Obviously not all manuscript copies are perfectly preserved.
As to the second question, it would really depend on the circumstances (and more importantly, what one means by “errant”). I don’t generally draw a distinction between inerrancy and infallibility.
On a side note, there is sometimes confusion between inerrancy and strict Biblical literalness. To borrow a line from the Chicago Statement: “history must be treated as history, poetry as poetry, hyperbole and metaphor as hyperbole and metaphor, generalization and approximation as what they are, and so forth.”
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 hope this isn’t too much of a cop-out, but I would recommend checking out this Q&A post from Dr. William Lane Craig. It’s also relevant to question #2.
6. If God is perfect, how can something imperfect come out of something that is PERFECT? Did God make a mistake?
This question touches on the problem of evil, which I’ve written on previously.
Briefly: I don’t see any reason why God’s perfection and omnipotence should be incompatible with the existence of evil, provided He has sufficient reason to create creatures with free will (the ability to rebel against Him).
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 hear him? How do you know? And, how can you be sure?
God hears him, yes. [Psalm 116:1-2, Proverbs 15:29, I John 5:14]
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?
Assuming the God you refer to is singular, it couldn’t really be “some other” God. In this case, your question becomes, “What would you do if it turns out that your understanding of God is largely incorrect?”
According to the beliefs that I already hold, my sins in this life leave me deserving of nothing less than eternal punishment. As it stands now, my solitary hope rests on an act of divine mercy.
So the worst-case scenario – in your hypothetical situation – is that I end up receiving the punishment that I already rightfully deserve.
Would I plead for mercy? I don’t know. Maybe. But that seems more a question of personality than theology.
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?)
Christianity is certainly falsifiable. It would require showing that the resurrection of Jesus never happened. [I Corinthians 15:17]
Of course, even if one were to disprove the resurrection, this wouldn’t disprove God – only Christianity. I’m convinced that the moral, scientific, and philosophical arguments for God are entirely sound. If I were to abandon a belief in God, it would have to be for emotional or existential reasons – not intellectual ones. It would have to be a matter of personal rebellion against God (and the idea of God).
I don’t anticipate that happening, fortunately.
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?
In response to your quote from Richard Dawkins, allow me to provide a quote from CS Lewis:
“If you are an atheist you do have to believe that the main point in all the religions of the whole world is simply one huge mistake. If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all those religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of the truth. When I was an atheist I had to try to persuade myself that most of the human race have always been wrong about the question that mattered to them most; when I became a Christian I was able to take a more liberal view.”
I am a Christian because I believe Christianity provides the most comprehensive, coherent understanding of God. For more details, see points 4, 6, 7, and 8 on my “Evidence for Christianity” list.