10 “Irrefutable” Atheist Questions
July 27, 2010
This video was called to my attention. In it, an atheist has a strange list of unconnected questions that he apparently (based on his own triumphant assessment) thinks cannot be answered. Needless to say, I was not very impressed. I am always surprised when I run across people that think that despite 2000 year legacy and 300 years of intense criticism from academia Christians would not be able to answer such basic and everyday questions. Anyway, watch the video and read my responses below.
Have I ever thought about using critical thinking to look at my faith? Yes.
Here are my answers to his questions.
1. Why won’t God heal amputees? Well, in the Bible he does heal lepers (who presumably have lost appendages as lepers often do). He heals paralyzed people (Luke 5). And he raises the dead. So, there is no question that he has the power. But he is right about one thing. God could do more to “prove” himself. He could have angels in the sky above every city yelling at people. He could occasionally give each person a vision of heaven. And he could randomly replace arms and legs lost to land mines. But God doesn’t (on a rule) do these sorts of miracles. Why? We don’t know for sure but I think it has to do with God’s willingness to allow those who really don’t want to believe to reject Him.
2. Why are there so many people starving in the world today? The answer to this is really not difficult. The world has death, pain and sin because mankind has chosen destruction and this has effects that echo throughout creation. God allowed death to enter the world because of man’s rebellion. Everyone dies because of the rebellion of mankind.
But God does not leave us here. He does have a plan to put things right. In the end, as Revelation 21:4 states, there will be no more death, pain, sorrow, and God will wipe every tear from their eyes. A missionary can honestly tell a starving people that the day will come when none will hunger (and the missionary usually gives them food when they do this). The Christian can offer the starving person hope in addition to sustenance. The atheist can only say, “life is a random mess; there is no justice. Your starvation will never be put right.”
3. Why does God demand the death of so many innocent people in the Bible? Well, God claims every life both in the Bible and elsewhere. God determines the number of days for every person. God gives life and he takes it away. When he lays out laws for enforcing the law in the OT he does so with a very strict punishments. This is his right. He gave the life to the people who are breaking the law and it is his right to take it whenever he wishes.
The Christian respects life because it belongs to God.
Why does the atheist respect life? In a logical sense a tree is as valuable as a human. Atheism is devoid of a foundation for human rights.
4. Why does the Bible contain so much anti-science nonsense? I love this question. It is not loaded at all. He offers very few examples two to be precise. Young earth creationism (with Adam’s creation and the global flood) is mentioned. He doesn’t mention that many Christians are not Young earthers and don’t believe that the Bible requires belief in a 6000 year old earth. But he doesn’t debate the details. The second example he gives is“Jonah did not live inside the fish’s stomach for three days.” He didn’t? So it is anti-science to believe that a miracle can occur? This objection is devoid of substance and specifics.
Christians gave rise to science. We are not anti-science and neither is the Bible.
5. Why is God such a huge proponent of slavery? There is so much here that I can’t even figure out where to start. First off, slavery was ubiquitous prior to the writing of the Bible. God’s commands were intended to limit the abuses of slavery. But yes. God does permit slavery in the Old Testament. That is a fact. But he also begins to paint a picture of freedom. Jesus says in Luke 4 that he came to “free the captives”. Paul encourages a slave owner to set his slave free in Philemon (and even to adopt him as a family member). The Book of Galatians says, “In Christ there is no slave nor free man but all are one.” But throughout the scriptures slaves are human beings equal in the eyes of God despite their unequal life.
What is interesting is that the Christian world took a similar approach to slaves that the scriptures do. Early in the church slavery (that was already common in the Roman empire) was accepted. But with time Christians became convicted of this and started to speak against it. An evangelical in the 18th century named William Wilberforce was inspired by his faith to fight against the slave trade. Against all odds he fought for years to gain a hearing in Parliament and in popular culture. Toward the end of his life he was successful and the slave trade was banned.
The video’s statement “all intelligent people abhor slavery” was manifestly untrue a couple hundred years ago. The only people questioning slavery then were Christians. Christians debated the morality of slavery….no one else did.
6. Why do bad things happen to good people? This question is not really difficult at all. The Book of Job is all about this. It has 38 chapters that struggle with this question. The answer in Job? That God’s creative power allows it. God has his own plan for the world and he has chosen to allow death, pain and sorrow to be in the world for a time. But he plans on fixing that and has already won the battle with Christ’s sacrifice. Now it is just a matter of time before all evil is removed.
7. Why didn’t Jesus’ miracles leave behind evidence? This question was quite frustrating to me. Jesus started a large and dedicated following based in large part on his miracles. He had multiple biographies written about him within a generation. His followers were so sure that he rose from the dead that they were willing to die for it. There is so much evidence as to Jesus’ miracles that it is quite irrefutable. Please read the evidence for the resurrection of Christ in this article by Oxford Scholar NT Wright:
8. How do you explain the fact that Jesus has never appeared to you? At this point I decided this narrator was not very conversant with the Bible. The Bible says that Jesus will return some day but will be gone (visibly) until then. I would have more to explain if Jesus was appearing to me all the time. With that being said, I have experienced God’s presence. I have had prayers answered that were obviously direct answers to prayer.
9. Why would Jesus want to you to eat his body and drink his blood? It is a spiritual consuming of the body and blood of Christ (not a carnal consuming). The best way to explain this is to look at 2 Samuel 23 where King David is under siege and thirsty. He longs for water from a fresh well outside the city. His men (without his knowledge) break through enemy lines and get him a pitcher of water. David refuses to drink it saying “The LORD forbid that I do this! Can I drink the blood of these men who went at the risk of their lives?” David refused to accept their sacrifice for him. And their sacrifice (the water) was the blood of the men who risked their lives (in a spiritual sense). What Jesus is saying to us is that we need to accept his sacrifice. While David would not drink the blood of the men (represented by the water) we must drink the blood of Christ (represented by the wine).
10. Why do Christians get divorced at the same rate as non Christians? This is not really a challenge to the faith so much as a comment on the weak state of those who call themselves believers. I will make a note and say that Barna (a pollster who specializes in religious surveys) has shown that Christians who are doctrinally orthodox (really believe in the Biblical doctrines) do have noticeable differences in behavior.
But what the Bible says is not that Christians can’t get divorced by that if they do their divorce will be invalid in the eyes of God. In other words, if God puts two people together, they can get “divorced” if they want but they will go on to become adulterers if they remarry. Jesus, in Matthew 5:32, states “But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.”
One last point here. I think that Christianity and the rest of the world have similar behaviors in part because the rest of the world is affected by Christian morals even though they are not Christian. In other words, I don’t know why atheists would honor marriage at all based on atheistic thought. Marriage is a human construct created by primitive societies to maintain families in cultures where women had very little rights. Marriage is not really needed anymore in a egalitarian society that has birth control. But atheists are still getting married (and staying married) at the same rates as Christians; I would say this is an example of Christian morality rubbing off on atheists.
It is quite humorous how the narrator keeps repeating “In order to believe in God you have had to create all sorts of ‘strange’ rationalizations and excuses.” When he clearly doesn’t realize that the Bible has answers for every one of his questions. None are strange. None are rationalizations. None are excuses. None make me feel uncomfortable.
And how does he know that my answers “make no sense at all” when he has not heard them?
If I assume that God is imaginary, life doesn’t make sense.
1.Amputees will never be healed. They will die amputees and then mould in the ground. There is no hope of a resurrected body. Christianity makes sense of life for amputees.
2. Starving children must be told that they will die a horrible and pointless life. There is no justice in death. There is no hope for the future. No point. Just emptiness. That makes no sense to me and I am sure it doesn’t to them either.
3. The death of innocents? God gives us human rights in the first place. There is no foundation for human rights in atheism. Without God, human rights make no sense.
4. Science depends on the rationality of the universe. This is why Christianity was the foundation for science. Without God science makes no sense.
5. Without God human rights make no sense.
6. Bad things happen at the same rate? Really? So you think that criminals, drug dealers, and prostitutes have bad things happen at about the same rate as those who live by the principles of the Bible? Really? Who is this guy? God provides a system of justice to the world. In atheism, good people who are wronged are just wronged. Evil men who get away with their murders? They get away with them. Without God, justice makes no sense.
7. The miracles that left behind a bunch of evidence make sense only if there is a God. Atheism has no way to deal with the resurrection of Christ.
8. God makes sense out of my experiences of him. Atheism has no way to account for the fact that an overwhelming majority of the world will admit to experiencing the supernatural.
9. God makes sense of a brilliant man named Jesus who had wonderful symbolism to his teachings (including the eucharist).
10. God makes sense of the institution of marriage. Without God, marriage makes no sense.
God makes sense of the world. Things do not make sense if God is imaginary. If you use your brain God is the only conclusion you can reach.
Why does it matter? Because that is why we were created. Our sense of purpose and direction comes from him.