Recently whilst writing for a blog in defense of word of God I have come across few objections that are frequently used and whist many attempts have been made to clarify and help the genuine searchers (in my opinion) often main points seam to be omitted from the argument.
I will therefore endeavor here to include some of the arguments and counter arguments in order to both help the genuine enquirer and show reasoning behind some of the arguments designed to attack the Christianity today.
There are some who think that simply high volumes of criticism is enough to send Christians on the run, however I am encouraged to say that these kinds of attacks only serve to strengthen our faith, for if you are truly to be grounded in your faith you should find out what the “opposition” had to say. It should also serve to prove that Christians are not bunch of losers but intelligent, inquisitive and honest in their quest for the truth, which is hard to say for many but not all atheists who will only consider Liberal theology (Which is where they get their ideas) and other atheist authors who I will class in this document as Atheists Apologists.
First attack and Objection: Christianity Brings fear and paralyses humans from living fulfilled lives; it messes with your head and emotions enslaving you from your natural rights and robs you of your personality.
These are the questions often raised by young man, often with great deal of bitterness and frequently with the personal recalls that it was their Sunday school teachers who is personally responsible for putting the fear of God in their young lives.
So why is it important for the law of God to be part of Christian faith and why is punishment inseparable part of the Gospel (the good news)? It is unfortunate that again and again Christian message is not explained or even thought in our churches today.
I would be laying if I said I wasn’t surprised that this is one of the top objections to Christianity. There are many variations of this objection but mostly it’s relating to the issue that we are told how we should live and this is restrictive. Whilst it’s a very well accepted fact that we live in a hedonistic society where indulgence and self obsession are the order of the day, very little effort or attention is paid to either social responsibility or peaceful coexistence.
Aggressive but not assertive attacks are disguised in a flowery language or sometimes incorrect conclusions are propagated as facts even when the accuser knows that there are no real evidences to support their statements. Sometimes humor is used to humiliate and scare anyone who may be thinking of possibly raising any objection, use of crude words being common way of bullying opponents into submission.
Here I would like to list my objection to the First attack:
- This is a statement not a proven fact, there are many churches that actually would go out of their way to hide or neglect to say that we are responsible for our own behaviour.
- Personal negative experience may justify the anger but a blanket statement is not acceptable as this is both difficult to prove and factually inaccurate.
- Sin is forbidden in the Bible for a specific reason our western laws have been founded on the Biblical 10 commandments. We don’t kill, steal, cheat on our sexual partners or falsely testify all due to the prohibiting commandments written in the Bible. Nobody argues against these as they are accepted standards in our society.
- Rebellion and sin with the desire to continue sinning unopposed tends to be a major reason behind this argument.
- Our moral standards and acceptable etiquette come from the Bible when Jesus says “do onto others as you would want them to do unto you” he is saying treat others the way you would like to be treated.
- God’s high standards and his holiness is often misunderstood, we look at this issue from our own perspective when we condemn Gods judgment we are saying “how dare God punish me for my unacceptable behavior” our flexible standards that change from decade to decade may not be in agreement with God’s permanent standards, however this is not God’s problem it’s ours.
- To stay unopposed to sin is same as to condone it; there would be no God of love if evil is not punished. We jail rapist and murderers for a reason and no civilized society would tolerate its own destruction without some kind of intervention.
- To tolerate and endorse sin as acceptable is same as replacing bottle of poison with the soft drink label. Both are unacceptable and morally wrong.
- To use universalism excuse (That all should be accepted and go to heaven) is again neglecting the God given gift of responsibility.
- It is a simplistic and uninformed statement when any moral argument is ignored simply to satisfy our own views or desires.
Second attack and Objection: Missing book of the Bible; why it is that Jesus never did write a book of the Bible himself, this only proves that Paul wrote into Bible things about Jesus that was never intended or formed plan to be part of the message of Jesus to be added as holy texts. Therefore we can not know the real teachings of Jesus and his philosophy.
I worry often that this is an argument that has been though to the often young sceptic by the ill informed apologists of the atheism. I am not sure if this can even be called an argument, the observation only serves to raise question not give conclusive answer to anything.
- There are other people of History who have been entered into the chronicles of Human history by others and not the person concerned. Jesus did not want us to have his autobiography but a testimony of those who knew him well and believed that he was a son of God. Socrates who was Plato’s teacher did not write about himself but all we know about this great philosopher is from his good student and philosopher Plato.
- There are many sayings in the Bible that accurately capture sayings of Jesus, sometimes almost word for word. (Check red letter Bibles for more information) There are some who speculate that Matthew who was a tax man (Tax collector) would have been fluent in at least 4 different languages would have been able to use shorthand and was able of capturing all relevant data that would be needed for the good book keeping and was chosen precisely because of his ability to document reliable records.
- Message of Jesus to humanity is not the unknown but quite the opposite it’s the best known message in the history of the Human kind, therefore this is a simply a red herring (technique used in literature to mislead the audience). It is therefore in my opinion more fitting to have this argument included in the Pub quiz and should be removed from anyone’s list of serious objections for not considering Christianity.
Third attack and objection: Bible stories are not believable are not logical and are frequently taking a stand against normal decency, i.e. God of the Bible is vengeful with nonsensical demands that are impossible to justify to anyone who is using logic and deductive reasoning to establish truth.
- These are all very “brave” statements and attacks that all employ very simple manoeuvring in order to place the Bible believing Christians on the defence and see him on the run. There is no great revelation in this argument and there is no need for a superior higher education in order to master this kind of argument, despite what the proponent of the atheism may say. Their claim to poses logic does not prove it, one has to demonstrate good use of logic before one can claim logic as his own.
- Scare tactics are always accompanied by supposed new or modified arguments in order to convince listener or reader to take their position. Whenever you hear saying like “think about it” what the advocate of this “new enlightened” logic and definitive argument is saying is you are not able to come to this insight on your own. He/she is saying you are not as smart as I am (they are), you could have witnessed same statement being made by Richard Dawkins that “there are no smart e Christians” two are therefore non compatible you can’t be smart and Christian. However may I make my suggestion, whenever an atheist is making a very strong attack on Christianity there are personal reasons, for example as Christianity attacks or is perceived to attack Theory of Evolution many “Evolutionary scientists” are understandable very angered as this would leave them with the doctorate of what? Philosophical view that may one day be disproved and theoretically make their PhD obsolete, it is understandable that you would want to defend something that you spend so long and so much of you in order to further the existing understanding. Please also don’t forget that Knowledge puffs you up often unjustifiably as knowledge can sometimes prevent deductive reasoning and healthy questioning that we should all use.
1Corintians 8:1-3 Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. 2 If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know; 3 but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.
- Historical experience and understanding claimed by the proponents of atheism would suggest that You should concentrate on what he is brining to your attention and ignore other counter arguments as they are not valid as he/she had explored them and will be more than qualified to enlighten you with the facts of their vast knowledge.
- They assume that they posses impeccable logic and are therefore not prone to the mistake of misunderstanding. Wait just a second what does the Bible say about this kind of argument? As someone who claims to be Christian I can’t ignore this so lets quote the Bible;
Isaiah 55:6-9 Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.7 Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. 8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.
- Vengeful God is an old argument that comes up frequently, but again this comes from the lack of understanding of the high standards that God has. This only serves to confirm that;
- Our standards are different to God’s standards, one will even hear that “we should not punish rapists and murderers as they are genetically predisposed to this kind of behaviour and there is no free will that we can be judged upon”. This kind of argument stems from a desire to hide our own responsibility from either almighty God or the society we are part of.
- Question that was raised earlier in this document is just as relevant i.e. could there be a God of Love who is not going to punish evil? We have already established that not speaking against wrong things like genocide is noting less than condoning erroneous and evil behaviour.
- Often when analyzing Socio–Historical Context you will find when God orders nations to be destroyed there are good reasons for this. Mostly these are the things that could pollute the minds of the new nation of Israel which is precisely what has happened on so many occasions. So what do we know of the nations that lived in that part of the world that Israel had to face? Here is a small list that is worth considering and is therefore likely that God did not won’t his chosen people to be influenced by foreign thinking.
a. Torture: They were very cruel nations, known for torturing and skinning the prisoners alive. Impaling people on stake and then living them to die horrible death.
b. Fear: Gouging their eyes and sometimes spiking the heads of the nation leaders on the prominent places in order to terrify and obtain submission from the remnant of the captives.
c. Child Sacrifices: Offering your own offspring as a sacrifice was a common practice where priests would literally burn young children to a festive loud music in order to drown the cries of the babies so that the parents would not be distressed.
d. Perversion: Indulgence in sexual immorality was common; with priestesses being in charge of the orgies and all this in the name of Gods and superstition this was a deprived distorted version which was originally received from the descendants of Adam, which is actually greater fret to pure faith than atheism.
e. Illness: There is some evidence that this part of the world was riddled with illnesses, recent bone discoveries have yielded new information on the tuberculosis and leprosy, whilst this is not a reason to kill anyone and historically we know Jews would not do that as there were many clues to the existence of leprosy colonies, God’s reasoning is still so much higher than ours. This reasoning may however appeal to the believers of the theory of evolution in which case it is simply the survival of the fittest.
Fourth Attack and Objection: Christianity is a form of a crutch and its promises are like a pie in the sky that was used in the past to control the masses and help those who could not cope with the life with some additional support.
- It is true that Christianity offers hope and solution to the oppressed and desperate and unfortunately we find that there are many “great names” who continue to assert that entire humanity is in this category of meaningless and painful existence. Findings of the Mensa International (high potential society / only admits people of 150 IQ and higher) was that humanity is finding itself at 5 minutes to 12 with very little time left and if quickly we don’t react we are all domed. On the other hand this is what Jesus said in Luke 8:18-19 regarding the freedom and good news to the oppressed.
Luke 8:18-19 “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.”
- Pie in the sky is an old argument (from old communist area) and implies that we should live for today, that when tomorrow comes and you and I are dead there will be noting to find beyond the grave and you could be wasting your limited time that is available to you. This however assumes number of things that could be completely incorrect.
- I. That Christianity only breeds misery; this argument is contradicting the first part of the statement that Faith in Christ is simply a crutch that is used to help people cope with their difficult lives. In other words you can’t have it both ways it’s either helping of hindering people.
- II. Achieved goals: Hope to achieve something great in the future can be seen as a great asset rather than a hindrance. There are too many reach and successful people who have nothing to live for as all their dreams have been reached.
- III. There is truth in the Biblical promise beyond this life: Our understanding of the truth will be widened when we die, as apostle Paul puts it “today we see things as an unclear image of reality” “like in the mirror” at the time of the writing in the first century Palestine a mirror was made of a polished metal which had many imperfections and give distorted image.
1Cointihians 13:9-13 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.
- IV. Often when people say you should live for today they mean get drunk have many sexual partners, abuse drugs and show complete disregard for any moral laws as they are not relevant to you, this is all true considering that your reality is different to everyone else’s concept of truth as “everything is relative and there is no right and wrong”.
- i. God on the other hand is saying something different that you are accountable to him for your actions and that you should not waist this chance given to you but that you should work on the developing your own personality. According to God we are created in his image and he certainly does not want you to go to waist, this is why so frequently Bible is saying that we should not ignore the needs of those who are around us.
- ii. Best use of our lives can be achieved trough looking outside of ourselves, but trough helping the others recognising that we co-exist with others in the same space and time and help the betterment of others as a direct action and choices that we make. Fact is we are limited with the time given to us, and what you make of it is your prerogative but in the end knowledge and understanding that you are entrusted with i.e. this gift does not liberate you or I from the responsibility that accompanies your free will.
Luke 12:18-23 “Then he said, ‘this is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 ‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”‘ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ 21 “So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” 22 And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. 23 “For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.
- V. When the Bible warns and instructs that we should prioritise carefully it is always for our own good. It was about a year ago I noticed an interesting trend which was recorded amongst certain type of professionals; many have decided to abandon their high earning executive jobs in order to move to a quieter and more tranquil lifestyle. I found this to be encouraging as it shows that people can see that there is more to life than simply becoming successful in your carrier or that insatiable sexual self-destruction will lead to fulfilment. In fact the whole preoccupation with self is proving to be very destructive as it only serves to confuse the issues of life, its one thing knowing our place in the world but its completely different being obsessed with self.
Fifth attack and Objection: How can you claim that your God is a god of love if he allows suffering and has created things like bad bacteria and parasites which cause disease and death?
Again this needs to be broken down into many subsections; I have to own up to this; that whilst there are some good answers to this question nobody has answer to all possible variants and as I don’t read minds, I can pretend I understand your exact problem, so whilst I may be able to answer part of you question note that the particular nature of your pain may not be included here and could therefore “miss” the answer you are hoping for.
1. God tells us from his word that when world was created it was perfect however with the fall of man this perfectly balanced world was ruined by the man. However this is not the end of the story we should not as so often we do only concentrate on the negative part of the story. Let’s look at what the Bible is saying about this.
About Gods perfect creation
Genesis 1:31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Fall of Good creation
Rom 5:12 therefore, as by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Redemption of fallen Creation
1 Corinthians 15:21 -22 for since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
2. We should stop blaming God for something that is our own fault. God created us with free will and choice that we take is at the end of the day going to be our own responsibility. When would you think a criminal could turn to the judge and say sorry judge the murder of the victim was not my fault blame God for he created me like this.
Whilst there has been a debate for some time now whether our actions and reactions are voluntary or involuntary and if it’s the question of nature or nurture that determines whether someone lives or dies fact is that there are consequences of our actions and as always we will look for someone to blame.
Fact is Bible says don’t commit adultery yet we ignore this commandment and then when serious sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS or HIV is caught we blame God rather than take the consequences of our own actions which were contrary to the law of God to start with.
3 Sometimes when the innocent child is involved we do not have fitting answer that will suitably comfort the parents and it would be foolish to pretend that one answer fits all criteria. I myself have suffered this tragedy, loosing a daughter to Edwards disease, and whilst I did pray and beg God to take me rather than my unborn child, Gods plan was different to my own I don’t know why he allowed this to happen but I do know that today I am more sensitive and responsive to the needs of others and maybe whilst I can’t justify the death I can explain the growth and change that happened within me.
We simply must admit that to some questions there are no satisfactorily given answers, however note that this question does not disprove God’s existence, neither will it negate the responsibility and moral instructions that are introduced trough God’s word. If we are to look at God as someone who sits outside the Time and Space and is therefore able to see potential for certain things to unravel i.e. my unborn child to develop into a potential danger to many others, then his allowing for this tragedy to happen can be for the best.
Heb 12:2-3 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
One should not forget that God and his Son Jesus was no stranger to either pain and suffering nor injustice when this was dished out as a form of punishment for something that was not done by the accused.
Heb 2:17-18 Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.
This question is often expanded to critique Christianity by saying “how can a good God allow bad people to triumph over the good people?”
One has to raise further questions like
- How do you know what is good and what is bad, where does that sense of Justice of injustice comes from that inner compass that points us to morality?
- Does our time frame necessarily fit within the God’s time for compassion and judgement, in other words like in the story of Jonah God’s patience and desire to save rather than destroy is demonstrated when he sends his prophet to Nineveh to forewarn them before God’s judgement is put in place.
- We have to acknowledge that things may be looking different from God’s perspective, think about difference of views between us and God in terms of humans occupying position which are like worms, we are very close to the problem and that is all we can see God however is like an eagle, he can both see the whole picture but with his superb vision is able to spot the details from afar, please note this urge to act rather than ignore can also be argued is mechanism that God has included as a part of human nature and therefore can be argued that Gods way of dealing with the injustice in this world is by asking you and I to do something about it. Compass is working, it’s telling us what is right and wrong it’s up to us if we react to the disturbed conscience within, and tackle the injustice.