Questions for skeptics and contradiction seekers


I realize skeptics are the ones with questions. However, wise Christians should have good questions too, especially for skeptics. Questions help those with questions to think and reason out loud. Here are some good questions to consider when dialoging with a skeptic or contradiction seeker:

1. In the light of modern science, can you give reasons why Christians can continue to believe the Bible? This question turns the science debate on its head and seeks to help them think how is the Bible and Christianity is logical and rational scientifically.

2. Do you have a hard time accepting history as fact? Do you have a hard time believing that old things can be as true as new things? If so, why? This questions tries to get the hearer to consider new is not always better and old is not always bad.

3. Have you recently read the Bible through in its entirety? How have the alleged contradictions affected the theology or overall message of the Bible? This is a good question because most skeptics have not read the Bible through completely or chronologically. The Bible has an amazing cohesiveness when read altogether.

4. How do you explain the preservation and reliability of the Bible? Can that help answer some of your questions? If not, why? This question gets people thinking about how the Bible has stayed around so long and changed so many lives through the centuries.

5. What would make the Bible and Christianity more believable to you? This question helps you see where their doubts or questions really are rooted.

I am sure there are more questions you could ask. Do you have other questions that you’ve asked that help open up the heart of the skeptic or contradiction seeker.

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15 Comments Add yours

  1. I agree I think these are some questions, every christian should seriously consider, because they are all reasonable questions

  2. M. Rodriguez says:

    Oops I didn’t realize this was a questionnaire for skeptics. However I have been an? x-christisn for about two months and I’ll be honest. These questions I would say r more thought provoking for a believer. Or a Luke warm believer

    1. JTH says:

      M. Rodriquez, you make a good point that even those who are Christian should consider answering these questions. Thinking about your faith or beliefs is very important. What do you mean when you say you are and x-christian?

      1. M. Rodriguez says:

        I no longer am a Christian. I’ve been blogging about my doubts with the bible for some months seeking answers to questions. And after much time in reading studying research and of course praying for an answer I no longer could rationally believe that the god of the bible is nothing more than a man made religion.

        I’ve been a non-theist for only about three months. Open to my wife and the pastor of my church for two months.

        I was the youth leader at my church in the process of being ordained into being a youth pastor. But of course I had to relinquish my title and responsibilities when I came out to the pastor and my wife.

        As of right now only a handful of people know that I am no longer a Christian

        That’s my story in a nutshell

      2. JTH says:

        M, thanks for sharing your interesting journey. You are not alone. Doubts and questions are a normal part of the journey or faith. I’ve had my fair share of seasons filled with doubts and questions.

        I have perused your website. I noticed a list of supposed contradictions you have with the Bible. What about the Bible have you found most unbelievable? How have you studied the Bible in the past? In other words, what was your purpose in studying the Bible as a “Christian”?

        What do you mean when you say the Bible was man-made? I agree that the Bible was written by men (inspired by God) and built on the work of the God-Man Jesus Christ, but to say that Christianity was man-made has me confused. Is that historically accurate?

        Whether you believe in God, the Bible, or not, you must agree we all have faith in something. What is your faith in if it is not in God or the Bible?

        M, don’t give up reading the Word. The God of the Word will not give up on you.

      3. M. Rodriguez says:

        1. What about the Bible have you found most unbelievable?

        That it was divinely inspired by the Christian God of the Bible

        2. How have you studied the Bible in the past? In other words, what was your purpose in studying the Bible as a “Christian”?

        I prefer the expository method, of going straight through. However there are times, when I do a personal topical study on things of interest.

        3. What do you mean when you say the Bible was man-made? Is that historically accurate?

        That it was men wrote, dictated and inspired. Not any type of Divine Supreme Being. I would say that is historically accurate based off just my own personal studying. There are mean reasons Why I came to this conclusion. There really is not one reason, but a collage of reasons. In fact, there is not one main reason. You could study textual criticism and the history of the bible to get an idea of why.

        4. Whether you believe in God, the Bible, or not, you must agree we all have faith in something.

        I don’t know if I would exactly agree with that statement. In all honesty I’m sure if you are asking this question from a religious perspective or just the perspective of everyday living. If from the perspective of religion, I would say NO, I don’t have faith in any religion or God or Deity. But if from the perspective of everyday living, YES. Absolutely, For Example: I believe and have faith, that I will be alive tomorrow. And will act according to that faith/belief. However, now that I think about that, I don’t think I could call that FAITH; maybe the better terminology for that is Reasonable Expectation. I reasonably expect to be a live tomorrow. And will act accordingly.

        5. What is your faith in if it is not in God or the Bible?

        From a religious perspective Nothing. I have no reason to have faith in the Bible or the so called God of the Bible.

        Like I told my Pastor and others, I don’t consider myself a doubting Christian. I’ve moved on from that topic.

      4. JTH says:

        M. Rodriguez, thank you for taking the time to answer some questions. I am interested in your journey to unbelief. My goal is not to convince you to think otherwise, but to see behind the curtain and understand your choice to reject the Word of God.

        First, you say that you came to this conclusion on the basis of your own personal study. Could you flesh out more of the collage of reasons for coming to this conclusion?

        Second, what person(s), philosophy, or system would you align yourself when you say, “Reasonable Expectation”?

        Third, what do you mean when you say, “I’ve moved on from that topic.”

        Fourth, which form of textual criticism or historical approach to the Bible do you refer?

        Fifth, what is your opinion of those who continue to have faith in the Word of God and its message centered on the work of Christ as the means for eternal salvation rather than “Reasonable Expections”?

        Justin

  3. M. Rodriguez says:

    hello JTH….I actually did a podcast last week it actually might better explain things than in a comment post.
    http://bittersweetend.wordpress.com/2012/09/29/my-de-conversion-on-a-matter-of-doubt-podcast/

    1. JTH says:

      M. Rod, I look forward to listening to your podcast. I have one more questions for you. Since, it can be difficult to sometimes separate logic from emotions (i.e. what we feel can dictate what we believe), what was the most difficult situation for you emotionally that has fed into your doubts about God and the deity of Jesus Christ?

      1. M. Rodriguez says:

        none…. in regards to emotions that fed into my doubt, Nothing. I didn’t go throught any dramatic expierences. No lost loved ones. No offense. Really for me, it was matching belief and faith with intellect and reason. And if god is true or reasonalby true and exist finding evidence or reasons for me to believe in this God of the bible should not be difficult. I would actually say I go through things more emotionally now, than before I came out to my wife and pastor.

    2. JTH says:

      I listened to your podcast. It was interesting, but it leaves me with more questions and it did not answer my previous questions.

      I gather that your decision to turn from God wasn’t cold turkey. You came out of the closet three months ago but have seeds of your doubts been stirring for some time?

      I agree with some of your attacks on Christians. Yes, there are Christians who do not understand what they believe, some don’t think about what or why they believe, some take the Bible out of context, some add things to the Bible to aline it with their preferences. But to say “some” is “all” is not a fair caricature of Christianity.

      I am concerned about your ridicule of Christians and their worldview. I am particularly concerned for your relationship with your wife. Marriage is sacred. From what I gather you married your believing wife who still holds her beliefs. Is she justified in her response to your doubts? How can you live at peace with her or respect her Christ-centered worldview?

      I also agree with your comment on some Christians needing to get off fence on the Bibles authority and inerrancy. You got to be all in or all out. Good point. But then you go on to call the way of Christianity “a lie”. That’s like a kid who looks at another kid he dislikes and says, “You’re dumb.” I understand you didn’t have much time to flesh out a response to this statement in the podcast, but what’s a lie? And is it absolutely a lie?

      Could you have a slight misunderstanding God? You raise a good question: Why did he allow Israel to execute woman and children and perform genocide on neighboring nations? And I respond with a question: Is God an ogre or is there something about His character and the depravity of man you are missing that He would sanction such an action?

      I pray you remain open to the way of Christ. He welcomes questions and doubts. Throughout the Scripture God engages peoples questions and doubts. Rarely does He condemn them nor do I of you. He desires His people to think intellectually and rationally. I appreciate your engaging dialogue.

      1. M. Rodriguez says:

        As too your question on doubt. And did I have some before that. I think as a christian/believer we all have doubts in the back of my mind. In bringing this up, I sent my wife, the pastor and the elder a six part summary of varying things I found wrong. And in that I brought up the issue of prayer or unanswered prayer. I brought up that we all have doubt, because we all have an unanswered prayer. And that my first moment of doubt came, when I asked God for something and he didn’t. And that we have all have this expierence. And we have all had this moment of doubt in an unanswered prayer, but the larger problem wasn’t just the unanswered prayer, but that we are all trained from a young child that God will not unanswer our prayers. And that we should expect disappointment. And in this disappointment, we have our moments of doubt.

        Now I know you are probably thinking to your self, well the reason for unanswered prayer is …….
        1. not his will
        2. faith
        3. sin
        4. it was test
        5. did not pray hard enough

        or one of the many other reasons. I say this because I remember doing a sunday school with the kids at church. They gave all the same answers, and knew all the reasons why god does not answer prayer. so there is no need for us to recap all the unanswered reasons for unanswered prayer because we all know, even 8 and 9 year olds.

  4. M. Rodriguez says:

    What I mean when I call christianity fallacious and a lie. Is that the all or the majority of all the reasons I was told to believe are not true and have follies to them.

    believe in God, because of morality- fallacious logic
    believe in God, because of the bible- fallacious book
    believe in God, because evolution is not true, and creationism is- fallacious science
    believe in God, because Jesus was God- A repeated lie and unfounded premise
    believe in God, because of eyewitness accounts- they are not eyewitness
    believe in God, because of History and early historians- They were not alive during the time of Jesus
    believe in God, because of love and nature- I can have that without God.

    I found that after losing inerrancy, there really was no good reason for me to believe. like I said in my post on What I believe? You can believe in anything you want to believe in, but that doesn’t make it true. And whatever you choose to believe in you should have a reason to what you believe.

    1. JTH says:

      I agree it is difficult to rationalize in ones mind why God would kill anyone. If I were were God I would be all love or all wrath. The mind is warped and tainted by sin and it has crafts gods of it’s own liking. I defer to the Bible’s own rationalization for God’s character. It describes a God who’s character is in balance. He is holy and just. He is balances love and wrath. He is grace and mercy. And so on. For example, in the common verse Romans 6:23 God’s divine wrath and divine love in the balance, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.”

      What about the Bibles answers to unanswered prayer is so dissatisfying to you?

      What if we dig deeper into the purpose of prayer? When it comes to prayer we often teach to pray selfishly or pray so that you get and God gives. If this is the only way one prays it will end in frustration and questions about the genie-god we assumed He was. Often verses like, “You have not because you ask not,” “ask and you will receive,” and “nothing is impossible with God” are taken out of their context. And having a request of God is only one aspect of prayer, and I would add, a lower priority on the totem pole. Other aspects of prayer that are important: thanksgiving, confession/repentance, worship/adoration. Prayer, as seen in the Scripture, is more about agreeing with God than persuading God to agree with you.

      You said, “It’s the spiritual and evangelical stuff thats more bothersome to me.” Wouldn’t you consider your blog or podcasts a similar approach but from the other side of the coin? I mean, whether we are believers or not we cannot help but share our worldview. It leaks from us one way or another.

      Rodriguez, I challenge you to read through the Bible cover to cover again. This time take your list of “follies” and a note book. And jot down your findings.

  5. M. Rodriguez says:

    as to the comment on the killings in the bible, I just couldn’t rationalize that in my mind and why god would kill anyone, but there is no one reason by itself, that made me no longer believe, it was the whole. Thats why I call it fallacious and a lie.

    likewise I appreciate the dialogue too. these are good questions

    I am concerned about your ridicule of Christians and their worldview. I am particularly concerned for your relationship with your wife. Marriage is sacred. From what I gather you married your believing wife who still holds her beliefs. Is she justified in her response to your doubts? How can you live at peace with her or respect her Christ-centered worldview?

    I personally try not to ridicule Christians and christianity too much. Because my wife does identify as a Christian. A Christian is just who she is. So criticizing Christianity is also criticizing her. I try to atleast avoid doing it with her. And yes I can’t fault for anything, she is a Christian, she married a christian man, and expected Christian kids, and a Christian marriage. That was our covenant. Thusfore I try to be sympathetic to that, (but not too much) that I am over compromising. The Christian world view is not that bothersome, given that I’ve only been a non-Christian for 4 months. It’s the spiritual and evangelical stuff thats more bothersome to me.

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