Over the past few weeks I've had a couple of friendly debates with my dad about the existence of God. My responses have been purely in terms of objections to arguments in favor of God's existence—not once have I gone on the offensive. My intention is not to beat them over the head with my unbelief, but since they're challenging my views, it only makes sense to challenge theirs as well. I'd like to make them think, to inform them of some of the more unsavory parts of their religion. It may seem strange to believers that atheists might want to change their views, but when beliefs have negative consequences, it's only natural to challenge them.
A while back I came up with a list of 10 questions for Christians. I've been thinking about expanding on them, so I've embarked on the 40 Questions Project to come up the best thought-provoking challenges to fundamentalist Christianity. The questions that I'm using will:
- Address the beliefs of fundamentalist evangelical Christians
- Be succinct, with no more than a couple of sentences of setup
- Avoid provoking a flippant response (e.g. "But evolution is wrong.")
- Give specific examples when necessary (e.g. for Bible contradictions)
- Mix subtle self-reflection with direct challenges to belief
- Be comprehensive, ranging from general problems with theism to issues with specific fundamentalist doctrines
I don't think I'll be breaking any new ground with this list of questions. My goal is just to combine the most difficult issues within Christianity into one concise, accessible package. It will bring together everything from the problem of evil to historical errors in the Bible. Here's one example of a question I'll be including in some form:
"If God asked you to kill your child in the same way he did with Abraham, would you?"
I realize that what I find challenging and thought-provoking, others may find trivial, so I plan to go through a couple of drafts after getting feedback from those around me. Depending on how the project turns out and how discussions are going with my parents, I may or may not present it to them directly. Either way, I hope this can serve as a resource both for myself and for my fellow nonbelievers.
If any of my readers have suggestions for questions that might be suitable for this project—ones that will really challenge Christians and make them think—I'd love to hear from you in the comments.