Thursday, June 30, 2011

10 Questions for Christians

I've thought a lot about how to summarize my reasons for rejecting Christianity, and decided that one way to do so would be to condense them into ten questions that Christians would be hard-pressed to answer. This is what I have so far:
  1. Do you have strong, verifiable evidence to back up the extraordinary claims your religion makes about the world?
  2. Does it bother you that people of other religions often...
    1. Believe just as strongly as you do?
    2. Cite many of the same reasons for belief that you do?
    3. Have many of the same reasons for not believing in your religion that you have for not believing in theirs?
  3. Isn't it odd that you just happened to luck into the right religion, out of thousands of potential options, especially if you simply adopted the religion of your parents and/or surrounding culture?
  4. Why would the God of the Old Testament sanction injustices such as slavery and command the genocide of entire nations—including innocent children?
  5. Why would God cause billions of people to suffer forever simply for not believing in him?
  6. If God places so much importance on belief, why did he appear only in the ancient superstitious past and give us brains that are highly prone to error?
  7. Why couldn't God just decide to forgive us without killing Jesus—and how is temporarily killing one innocent man an acceptable substitute for eternally punishing billions of supposedly guilty people?
  8. If the Bible is truly the divinely inspired word of God, why does it contain...
    1. Scientific errors about the formation of the universe, the evolution of life, and the age of the earth?
    2. Major internal contradictions?
    3. Grievous errors of history and geography?
    4. Failed prophecies?
  9. How do you explain the concept of the soul in light of mental phenomena such as split brains? If someone's left brain hemisphere believes and their right hemisphere is an atheist, where does their soul go?
  10. What specific things would convince you that Christianity is false? If there aren't any, it means that if you were wrong, you'd never know it. Do you see that lack of falsifiability as problematic?
Technically there are more than ten questions in there, but there was so much content that I needed to loosen the format a bit. Not all of them are meant to attack religious claims directly. Some are there to establish reasonable doubts and provide a starting point for skeptical inquiry. It's also worth noting that only a few of the questions are specific to Christianity; some apply to all the standard monotheistic religions, and others to religion in general.

I'm a little worried that Christians might answer flippantly if I don't provide specific examples, but I also don't want to weigh the questions down with too much text. This is still a work in progress, but overall I think it's a powerful set of questions. If a Christian really took them seriously and put serious thought into answering them, I don't see how they could come out of it with their faith intact.

1 comment:

  1. I asked #10 of an evangelical Christian once. He claimed that if the resurrection could be conclusively disproved, he'd lose his faith. But of course since the resurrection is completely unfalsifiable, he can't possibly be proved wrong. I tried to explain to him that it was more important to prove the resurrection happened in the first place, but it was like talking to a brick wall.