Questioning Faith: 500 Questions Every Christian Should Ask
1. Why don’t all people share the same creation story?
2. Why would God fill the oceans with water we can’t drink?
3. Why didn’t God clear out the Promised Land before the Jews arrived?
4. If we didn’t evolve, why do humans share so much DNA with chimpanzees?
5. Doesn’t Intelligent Design contradict itself?
6. How could God or the Universe just always exist?
7. Why can’t God lift a penny?
8. Why would God create birds that can’t fly?
9. Why can’t we call down fire from heaven? Again?
10. Why does God allow evil?
11. Doesn’t the existence of many religions discredit them all?
12. Why did God give His chosen people so little land?
13. Doesn’t faith make us more susceptible to delusions? (E.g. Harold Camping)
14. Why is God ignorant of His own creation?
15. Did God reveal to Job that the Earth hangs on nothing (Job 26:7)?
16. Why is Matthew the only gospel to mention that people rose from the dead after Christ’s resurrection?
17. Why does God allow children to suffer and die?
18. Why does belief in God and religion decrease as intelligence increases?
19. Is there evidence that humans have a spirit? Part 1: The Science of the Soul
20. Is there evidence that humans have a spirit? Part 2: Near Death Experiences (NDEs)
21. Why does God allow miscarriages, spontaneous abortions and still births?
22. Was God really hoping Adam would find a suitable partner among the animals?
23. Why doesn’t the Bible mention Neanderthals?
24. Why would God create conjoined twins? (Warning, contains graphic content)
25. If the earth is 6,000 years old, how can we see stars more than 6,000 light years away?
26. Why doesn’t God allow humans to regenerate limbs?
27. Do we choose our religion, or does God choose it for us?
28. If someone never hears the gospel, can they still go to heaven?
29. Was Jonah really swallowed by a whale?
30. Should we all stop having children?
31. Can God be both perfectly merciful and perfectly just?
32. Can prophecies prove the Bible is true?
33. Why would God give pigs better sex lives than humans?
34. Did God recycle our DNA to save time?
35. Wouldn’t Eden have become overpopulated?
36. Why do we only find advanced complexity in living things?
37. Is Jesus the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53?
38. Does God appoint evil leaders?
39. Why does the Tasmanian Devil have 20 offspring but only four nipples?
40. Should Noah’s Ark be taken literally?
41. What is the meaning of eating?
42. Why does God allow animals to suffer?
43. Did the Bible accurately predict the future of Tyre (Ezekiel 26)?
44. Why would God make us so unintelligent?
45. Is the Bible inerrant? Does it matter?
46. How did marsupials migrate from Noah’s Ark to Australia and the Americas?
47. Can we “just know” that God exists?
48. Does homology infer design or common descent?
49. Why did the crowd choose Barabbas over Jesus?
50. Did Joshua really get the sun and moon to stand still?
51. Was David prophesying of Jesus in Psalm 110?
52. Why did the Israelites worship a golden calf? (Exodus 32)
53. Is the Bible divinely inspired? Or did it evolve over time?
54. Did Isaiah 7:14 predict the virgin birth of Jesus?
55. Does the human yolk sac infer evolution?
56. Why did God create Satan?
57. What about Pascal’s Wager? Why risk going to hell?
58. What if Intelligent Design were proven to be true?
59. Did Zechariah fail to predict the fate of the second temple? (Zechariah 9:8)
60. Did Zechariah 9:9-10 accurately predict that Jesus would ride a colt? And become a king? And bring world peace?
61. Are we allowed to test God?
62. Why aren’t modern vertebrates found with invertebrates in Cambrian fossil layers?
63. If God can write on a wall, why can’t he write his own Bible?
64. Did Jesus set a deadline for his return?
65. Does the Giraffe’s neck infer intelligent design or evolution?
66. Why doesn’t sin carry natural consequences?
I have another question to add to your list….Why doesn’t God punish bad people? I feel they are the most fruitful sometimes.
Because he isn’t real.
In your opinion, He isn’t real!!
I think it’s a reasonable question, and I think Job (and a lot of other Jews) were once asking the same question. With little or no belief in an afterlife, and little visible benefit to serving God, it was pretty obvious that God wasn’t being very fair. It took the idea of an afterlife to make God appear fair once again.
Though this still raises the question: why does God let some people sail through life, while others must suffer through it? They’re both rewarded with the same eternity of heavenly goodness, but one had to do a lot more to earn it… which doesn’t seem fair at all.
Of course, if He doesn’t exist, that would also answer the question.
You are asking the question, “Why doesn’t God punish bad people?” and you are answering by saying, I feel they are the most fruitful sometime. Yes, you answered it, only for sometime, not always, though. We see people on their our ward appearance and we decide that they are happy? How? Can we ever decide that a person is happy only by his status and what he talks about themselves? Their is one person whom God has created and sent with every person to live through out their life. Ours also!
Ask that conscious and that will tell their level of happiness and peace of mind, which cannot be brought by any of the material world. Only those who are showing out ward happiness can explain this in more detailed manner.
So if there if there is no after life, we need not believe in the Creator is it!
Christians will just reply “God will punish bad people in hell”
This is the reason. “Very soon, now, I shall be with you, again, bringing the reward to be given to every man, according to what he deserves. I, am the Alpha, and the Omega, the First, and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Revelation 22:11-13
If it’s in the Bible, it must be true! 😉
Imagine God giving you eternal life free from all harm for being good, and imagine God evicting all those from paradise for doing evil. What a just and consistent world that would be. Can this world actually exist and remain as a free moral world? Imagine a world where we all follow God and be rewarded for doing so. Imagine a world in which everyone would clearly obey God, and as a reward you are allowed to live in paradise for doing so. Imagine God giving you eternal life free from all harm for being good, and imagine God evicting all those from paradise for doing evil. What a just and consistent world that would be. Can this world actually exist and remain as a free moral world?
The problem with this type of a neat would is that we would act rightly only because of our own self-interest. We would love God only because of our hunger for pleasurable things, not because of our own free choice. The only goodness that would be, will be for our own selfish motives. We would act like a trained animal given food for doing good. This is not what God want. The highest goodness asks for no reward at all. God wants us to freely choose to love him and commit ourselves to our own good feelings and rewards. If we all come to God for what we can get out of it then we aren’t going to get much out of it. If our faith in god is exercised only on our behalf then our faith is selfish. This in itself warrants punishment.
If we serve God in order to be blessed then this is using God. God would exist for us to serve our purpose. It promotes service without commitment. We will end up asking Him” if you bless me you can be my God”. We will use God only to achieve our selfish purpose. We will make our ways his ways. We will cry to God for justice and blessings that will work only in our behalf.
It would be nice if every time we were good we were rewarded for being good and every time we were bad we were punished for being bad. If that were true everybody would be good and nobody would be bad. But it would not simply work that way. What might be good for one person might not be good for another. We would worship a God who measures up to our own standards. We must freely come to Him and for nothing else. Also if people escape troubles because of religion then religion would become a selfish gigantic insurance policy, a commercial transaction. People would be paying high premiums for the sake of insurance that would ruin all religions and character forever. Also, when we compare ourselves with other we sometimes feel that we are not so bad and that we don’t deserve unjust treatment. But Christians believe that we all have sinned and come short of God’s mark, all of us without exceptions. We are far from the target God has set for us. So, if we got what we really deserve for what we feel is good we would all be punished and not rewarded. God knows that if a scale of justice were applied, every single one of us would be condemned for our thoughts and our deeds. According to the Bible and to anyone who has really looked within their soul, we are a million miles away from the goodness that God expects of us. The scale, after all, is calibrated to weigh our deeds against the standard of the righteousness of God. Does anyone really believe they can stand before God on their own merit? Decent people will continue to suffer, and those who do terrible evils will continue and often prosper. Jesus Christ pointed this out when he said that the rain falls on both the “righteous and the unrighteous”
Even today I notice people in everything they do is selfish. I notice how Christians are doing good things so they could go to heaven. But tell me, are you sure you are doing good just because you just want to, or are you doing good so you can get to heaven. You are to do things because they make you feel good or making others feel good makes you feel good. And if they don’t make you feel good, you do them because you’re supposed to do good things because you were told that’s how to get into heaven. Doing good things to get in to heaven sounds pretty selfish to me. So that’s when I realized, there aren’t any selfless acts, just selfish acts. If we serve God in order to be blessed then this is using God. God would exist for us to serve our purpose. It promotes service without commitment. We will end up asking Him” if you bless me you can be my God”. We will use God only to achieve our selfish purpose. We will make our ways his ways. We will cry to God for justice and blessings that will work only in our behalf.
The suffering we are experiencing is not related to our sins in any way, no matter how bad it may be. If you suffer today in anyway whether from bodily sickness or depression of siprits, remember there is not a drop of anger of God in it. If God did correlate our sin with our suffering then how come so many bad people do well. The hurt you are experience is not related to your sin. If it were you would hurt a whole lot more. Many people today still believe that sin is the only reason why we suffer. If that is the case then that means the suffering of Jesus was in vain. Christ has already suffered and paid the price of our sins. Jesus took our sins to the cross. God will not punish a person a second time. If god did punish you for your sin the the cross was of christ was a farce. Think for a moment of all the bad things you have done in your life. What if God tried to balance the books right now. You will be holding so much sufferin that you couldn’t even bare it. You are not being punished for your sins as a judge punishes a criminal. Never believe such false doctrine that you are suffering because God is punishing you. It is contrary to the doctrine of Christ suffering. This would mean that Christ suffered and died for nothing.
Consider what the world would look like if it could be fair as we want it to be fair. God would have to be selective. In order to protect the selected: No accidents could happen, no criminal act could occur, no natural disaster could affect us. That kind of world would have no logic. The natural laws that govern cause and effect would have to be different in every circumstance. When we begin to question the suffering of innocent victims we are saying that god should be selective in his works searching out only those who deserve to suffer. For god to prevent disasters from good people, the world would have to be a madhouse. Such a world would be strictly chaos. For God to reward people and be selective is not possible.
I found an interesting site, not sure where this post is relevant, so I am posting it here.
It creates a whole list of all of the deaths caused or ordered by God. I was overwhelmed by its length. I’d heard of the killings in the OT before, but not on this scale! The site is somewhat biased, but it is definitely useful in gaining a sense of what was happening.
The argument for God killing people is that it is justified as the people were ‘evil’, [the commandment is “thou shalt not murder”, not “thou shalt not kill”, apparently meaning that jutified killings were okay] but while it may cover some of the deaths, most of them died for… interesting reasons, to put it mildly.
Thank you, for your link it was very useful and will be useful for all who planning to
commit sin today!
Very Good, Justification is given from the Ten commandments, that too “thou shalt not kill”
but we can bring AIDS, to our children to suffer?(75 million people have been infected with
the HIV virus and about 36 million people have died of HIV). what is wrong in killing or
murdering one person for the benefit of many people? Why should a unborn baby suffer,
life long for our, moments of pleasures!
Can’t we advice our fellow beings to control our senses, and live happily?
How do we justify this, “When I kill someone, it is fine. but when I am punished for what I
did it becomes injustice? why and how?
Let us stop sinning, then ask others to stop!
It is very similar to what is said in Bible, “let us remove the log from our eyes, before asking
others to clear the dust from their eyes!
I think that problem of evil should make the list of 500 Questions. Even though the problem has be “solved,” I think that it is more that the original formulation was solved – not the problem itself. Here is something that kinds of strikes me –
1. Evil is defined as that which is against the will of god
2. God is characterized as not being able to act against his own will (*ie. god cannot commit evil or create evil)
3. God existed since eternity, before all other things
4. Evil had a beginning, meaning it was created. This follows logically from #3 (*since there was no being or will outside of god’s in the beginning, there could not have even been potential evil in the beginning as god could not violate his own will)
5. God created all things which were created
Conclusion #1 God created evil. This is impossible, as evil is against the will of God
Conclusion #2 At least one of the propositions #1-5 is false
Conclusion #3 If any of the proposition #1-5 are false, the popular notion of god is fundamentally flawed.
Note – Evil cannot be considered as simply the logical opposite of good, unless we are to grant that evil is eternal, as good (god) is eternal.
Note #2 -We cannot simply say that evil is the absence of good, as god is everywhere – meaning there is nowhere that he is not. Further, this would imply that evil existed in at least a potential form since the beginning. Should god have removed his good presence from a place – the place would have become evil. This is nonsensical as god’s nature is to be everywhere all the time, and therefore it is not possible for him to remove his presence from any place or time. Also, there were no beings or wills in the beginning other than god’s. Therefore, evil could not have existed even in potential, as there were no other wills, and there was no potential that god would violate his own will.
Actually, I do cover that one under question #10 (and the problem of evil comes up A LOT in conversations under question #17):
But I absolutely agree with your points, and I may need to expand on this question in the future since it’s such a critical one.
One closely related question I need to address is: “How do we define ‘good’?” Is good whatever God says it is, or does a definition of good exist outside of God and He abides by it?
If we define evil as “that which is against the will of god,” we presume that it is God who defines what is good or evil, and therefore He may choose to define everything as good. If that is the case, then even the actions of Satan could be considered good, simply because God says they are. God may even consider having people suffer eternally in hell as “good.” Basically, the word “good” loses all meaning, it’s just whatever God says it is (not what man might imagine). Ergo there is actually no such thing as evil, or acting against God’s will, because all that exists is exactly the way God wants it to be, and to God, it’s all good.
Now, I don’t necessarily agree with that nonsense, I’m just playing the devil’s advocate (pardon the pun).
Thanks for the reply. You are correct, you did go into it on #10. You know, I have thought about this a lot and I realize that believers almost always use the phrase “god allows evil,” instead of “god creates evil.” I just don’t think they have ever addressed where evil, or the potential for evil, came from in the first place. How can god allow something that god never created?
About your second point – most believers subscribe to the “Divine Command Theory.” It says that whatever god says – goes. Many of them would say that god would never say to do something bad – because god is good. They don’t seem to get the question. I have only seen one solution for this dilemma – called the “Euthyphro dilemma.” The supposed solution is that god’s nature is good, and from that good nature god gives commands – therefore they are neither arbitrary nor are they an appeal to an outside source.
I think that your question “but what does being good even mean?” is a good question as a follow up to that resolution to the dilemma. This is because it essentially brings us back to a kind of hybrid of your point and my point above: “when there was no one else but god, what could being “good” have possibly meant? In relation to who or what was god good? Were there any alternatives to being good? Who was the beneficiary of this goodness? And finally…..what is the essential nature/quality/essence of ‘good’ such that it is equally relevant in the timeless, spaceless dimension of god – in which nothing but god exists AND in the convoluted material world? In other words, how does ‘good’ have equal meaning as god exists alone, in a world where there are no relations between god and other things (because they didn’t exist,) AND in the flesh and blood material world?
Indeed, God must create it in order for it to exist. I once got into a conversation with a woman (Tina Mac, under question #17) who blamed Satan for evil. When I pointed out that God created Satan, she replied, “God did not create Satan, that is absurd.” So I pointed to a number of verses that illustrated that nothing in heaven or on earth was made without God, to which she replied, “God DID NoT Create Satan. Everyone but you seems to know that. That makes me angry that you would suggest such a horrible thought.” She never did say how she thought Satan originated, but it just goes to show that some people don’t give it much thought.
I’ll take a look at the euthyphro dilemma when I write about this one later, thanks! 🙂
wouldn’t that go into the category of the whole every one is born and free will lets them take whatever path they choose? I don’t know I think everyone who is put on this earth can do whatever they want
God did not create evil. He merely gave free will, and the moment His will was offended, that action–and subsequent actions–is considered evil.
If you (somehow) could see the future, and you saw that your future son would be responsible for the death and torture of millions of people, would you still have him? I imagine you would say no, because knowing the future allows one to prevent evil, it’s as simple as that. Being perfectly good, God would also have to choose to not create anything that would result in the production of evil, and therefore no evil would ever exist.
(Sorry in advance, CAPS are present here simply for a lack of access to italics)
Your insight is appreciated on this and thank you for the perspective. From a purely neutral standpoint (making no judgments towards anyone) I wish to respectfully submit:
Saying God did not create evil here is respectfully like saying, “God created the atmosphere, nutrients in the soil, precipitation, oxygen and the seed but he DID NOT create the plant.”
Let us kindly reference Genesis-
Genesis 2:17 “but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
Point In Case: Why have “the tree” to being with?
I do understand that one is not to question “the will of God” so asking such things to some may be on par with “blasphemy”, however one could also say that God does not create things “for no reason” and that it would not be blasphemy to do research in order to better understand “His will.”
That out of the way: “What is the reason for creating the tree?”
If you do not take Genesis allegorically, the aforementioned biblical passage mixed with your interpretation still leads my interpretation to be that the Judeo-Christian God did indeed create evil- for no such evil would have existed without the tree (that God created). God also in addition to the tree created “free will”.
Point being: I’ve been wrong before, yet the “dark side” of free will does not appear to be “evil” as you submitted, it is the causality of both “free will” (which God created) and the tree (which God also created). So the story goes, everyone today is “morally tainted” due to the demise of man that happened in the garden that day and yes TODAY the moment “His will” is offended we consider that “evil”, yet this is not what started the chain of events THEN.
I am also fully aware that in this case said God was merciful/benevolent/caring in allowing for his creation to have free will in addition to going out of his way to warn Adam and Eve “not to eat the fruit.” As a result, it was not “on him” causally that Eve should pluck the fruit thus leading to the demise of man…yet Adam and Eve did not create the tree.
I admire all viewpoints greatly, all I wish to respectfully submit for discussion is, again: Why create the tree at all?
Or better yet, why create the tree at all when you just got done giving super-powerful, second-only-to-God-himself cosmic entities (read: angels) the gift of “free will” only to have a handful rebel against you and are now hell-bent on destroying humanity because they hate you? (No pun intended)
Be it God’s “test” or not, it all boils down to this:
So out of all possible time periods that could be handpicked throughout all possible points in the spectrum of eternity, THIS moment is “hands down” the most auspicious point in time to make the Tree of Good and Evil in order to test the souls of all humanity that would follow?
The timing seems off here…
In the beginning, there was no “sin.” No child rape, no molestation, no war, no cold-blooded murder, no thievery, no hatred, etc…
…It was only “DO NOT EAT FROM THE TREE”. (Full stop)
Therefore, while TODAY the devil can “tempt” one to do a slew of horrid things, THEN all he could really do was say “EAT.”
No condescendence or hard feelings, I mean that. It is simply hard to reconcile that God didn’t see or could even guess at the one “cosmic poker hand” that the devil could play for the simple fact that at the time there was only ONE SINGLE HAND the devil had to POSSIBLY play.
A “hand” that God dealt- whether directly or indirectly through a possibility chain of His creation.
Never has God said, “Evil is good? please don’t assume, and confuse us but understand the basic, “when there is NO light it is called as darkness”
Yes, He may choose to define everything as good! from whose perspective? As, One man’s food is another man’s poison, who should be blamed?
So, Good for whom? Are these deaths and sufferings required, even after advising? Just for satisfying our senses momentarily, we are authorised to kill… but to save is mistake? I agree with Him, killing or murdering one person to save thousands is never called as murder!
correct me, Do we charge a solider with murder for killing the enemy in the battle field!
Then how should God punish those, so called humans who are bent upon killing and massacre, I just saw a this page while surfing…http://www.who.int/gho/hiv/en/
which talks about, 75 million people have been infected with the HIV virus and about 36 million people have died of HIV. http://www.who.int/gho/hiv/en/
So who is to be punished, Is it God or the first ANIMALS, who brought this into this CLEAN earth?
I recently heard Rick Santorum say that we need faith to be moral. I am offended by this remark. I am an atheist and a moral human. So am I the exception that proves the rule? If atheists are the only people without the understanding of how to be good, shouldn’t the entire prison population be atheist?
As someone else said, “You don’t need religion to have morals. If you can’t determine right from wrong, then you lack empathy, not religion.”
But there are good and bad atheists, it’s just hard to tell the good ones from the bad ones, because they don’t come with a label.
And like Steven Weinberg said, “Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”
Interesting you left out questions about:
1. The origins of the universe
2. Why life exists
3. The historic accuracy of the New Testament and the claim of Jesus and his resurrection
4. The origin, nature and reasons for spiritual experiences
Or did I miss some questions?
1. I cover the origins of the Universe a bit under #6
2. and the origin of life under a bit under #5
3 & 4 I haven’t touched on yet, but I still have quite a few questions to go. 🙂
Love love love this blog! There are so many questions here I’ve thought about and am happy to see someone else putting them into words. Please keep the posts coming, as we are hungry for more.
Thanks. Working on more as I have time. 🙂
Hello, I actually read every single comment as I’m searching for an answer as well. I’m posting here to hopefully get the most replies
I guess the overall question is (as a questioned believer) if god doesn’t exist then why do we exist? Assuming you are correct, you live your life and then you die. You cease to exist. What is the purpose of existence if for only a brief second in time you are here. I’d argue that after you die then it is like you never existed at all. Point being I’d rather have never existed at all then to exist for a short time and then go back to non-existence. What is the point or purpose you aren’t going to remember anything and it will be like you have never existed before.
I am a big religious researcher as I am searching for the truth as well and agree the bible and all of Man’s other books are a system of control and for a time it has worked. The message of a two parent family that raises kids with morals certainly helps with society in general in developed countries. Which leads to undeveloped countries and where the true suffering lies.
Why would an all knowing all loving god create a world where suffering is allowed. A quote from the Matrix comes to mind, “The first Matrix I designed was quite naturally perfect, it was a work of art, flawless, sublime. A triumph equaled only by its monumental failure. The inevitability of its doom is apparent to me now as a consequence of the imperfection inherent in every human being. Thus, I redesigned it based on your history to more accurately reflect the varying grotesqueries of your nature. However, I was again frustrated by failure. I have since come to understand that the answer eluded me because it required a lesser mind, or perhaps a mind less bound by the parameters of perfection.”
If you can understand the point he makes then a God would be explainable. Because man is not perfect he couldn’t be perfect or we would reject existence. God created the big bang, with the intention of evolution into man. End of story. I can accept this because this would allow for an afterlife and meaning for existence.
Back to the suffering, if God created man, then why does suffering occur. With the explanation above it makes sense. Man allows man to suffer. Third world countries exist because we allow them too. Rapists rape children because we allow them too. Disease kills man because we haven’t evolved to the point of curing it. Imagine if we stopped being so greedy and directed all of our efforts to helping each other. This would be a much different world and suffering would be much less.
I can be very honest and blunt as I don’t understand this design and am still searching for answers and Occums razor certainly could be the answer here. But as in the invention of lying movie stated we could be making this up to comfort ourselves and lessen the suffering of others. Would be curious on others thoughts. It’s just hard to believe that we exist for such a short time remember nothing and thus truly don’t experience anything in the long run.
Hey Curious Soul,
When Christians lose faith, I’ve noticed the one thing that seems to cause them the most stress is the loss of eternal life, and I think this is pretty telling. This also seems to be one of your primary concerns. There’s a documentary from 2003 called “Flight from Death: Quest for Immortality” that you may want to check out. It discusses how we humans are the only animals to realize that death is inevitable, and so (in typical human fashion) we go about “fixing” this problem, by inventing ways to keep on living… even after death.
Thinking about it from an evolutionary prospective, we are the product of millions of organisms and animals that desired and fought to stay alive. So when we eventually evolved to the point where we were intelligent enough to realize that we can’t fend off death forever, we find the knowledge of our eventual demise to be in direct opposition to our most basic instinct: stay alive! So it’s not wonder we’ve struggled with it.
But just because life isn’t eternal doesn’t mean it doesn’t have meaning. You’re right that your life won’t have eternal meaning, but why does it have to be eternal to matter? It matters right now.
I too wouldn’t mind never having existed, since I wouldn’t even “know” to care. There are some (like Philosopher David Benatar) who say the best solution to end human suffering is to simply stop reproducing, and they may be right (I’m still on the fence about this one).
But now that I’m here, my life matters. It matters to me, and to everyone around me. And even though I won’t live forever, it’s nice knowing that there will always be a time in history when I once existed, and that my molecules will always be around. Also, having had kids, I feel like a part of me still lives on through them.
That said, I wouldn’t mind living a little longer than 80 years or so. But this is still twice as long as the average lifespan from 100 years ago, and there’s little doubt in my mind that, given time, mankind will eventually discover ways to help people live for as long as they want. So life may be “eternal” one day, but not for us.
Still… I imagine our present lot is still preferable to being born into a body that can NEVER die. After a few trillion years, life would get insanely boring, and we would likely long for death. In fact, some philosophize that we humans have already figured out how to live eternally, and for entertainment we created a Matrix-like game in which we forget everything so our world can become new and novel again. They’ve even suggested that atoms are mere pixels that make up our high-resolution world. (See “Through the Wormhole”, season 1). I don’t really buy into this theory; I think this is just a Matrix-inspired religion that exists to feed the same deep-seated need to evade death.
In the end, if something did bring matter into existence, we still need to explain what brought THAT something into existence. If it’s possible for an intelligent god to exist without cause, then it’s equally arguable that unintelligent matter could exist without cause. In fact, matter “just existing” is probably the simplest explanation, since it doesn’t require the invention of an additional and even more complex being to create it.
Thank you for the thoughtful reply. One of the reasons I posted this as I’m struggling with major depression and a sleeping syndrome that is causing immense amount of pain. Imagine having the talent at your finger tips but wasted potential because of physical disability beyond ones control. I’m searching for a meaning a reason to keep fighting. Quite frankly if there is nothing after death and that’s our destiny I’d rather be dead now. That being said I will respond to a couple of your points.
” it’s nice knowing that there will always be a time in history when I once existed, and that my molecules will always be around.”
I would disagree with this statement as you won’t ever know that you existed if this is all so in the end life will be meaningless as we are just a speck of dust in the wind (cliche sorry) Your statement about life means something to me right now again will be irrelevant in 100 years because you will no longer exist.
“Still… I imagine our present lot is still preferable to being born into a body that can NEVER die. After a few trillion years, life would get insanely boring, and we would likely long for death.”
I agree with this I don’t think I would want this but time/space is a relative human perception. If there was another form of existence I believe it would be very different and one that our minds cannot comprehend as currently constructed.
“In the end, if something did bring matter into existence, we still need to explain what brought THAT something into existence. If it’s possible for an intelligent god to exist without cause, then it’s equally arguable that unintelligent matter could exist without cause. In fact, matter “just existing” is probably the simplest explanation, since it doesn’t require the invention of an additional and even more complex being to create it.”
Existence = consciousness, this is the scientific principle that I struggle with the most. I’ve read countless articles that scientifically can’t prove how this began. I think therefore I am is a reasonable answer but that doesn’t explain origins and purpose.
I forgot to add all of the NDE’s. Those are the one thing that gives you hope. Could it be that a mass amount of endorphin’s are pushed to the brain during what it perceives death, perhaps. But reading many where they account for writings on the wall or people around them that they would have no way else of knowing if they are clinically dead doesn’t mean add up. I also had a dream a few years back where I was surrounded by people that I had no idea who they were and there was a man preaching of love/respect to all human kind. The feeling I had in this dream was unlike any other emotion I’ve ever felt or experienced. Again maybe the brain playing tricks but certainly didn’t seem like it at the time.
The thought of randomness and the miracle of life still just doesn’t seem to add up in my feeble mind. If our purpose to exist is to just exist that’s pretty damn depressing. This will most likely mean the extinction of the human race sooner than later, by a nuclear war or the creation of a more powerful AI sentient race that will wipe us out. (But at least human suffering will cease to exist)
Quite frankly if that’s the case we should throw out our economic principle’s and work to make every persons life better on this planet. (Maybe not a bad idea anyways.)
“Hope, it is the quintessential human delusion, simultaneously the source of your greatest strength, and your greatest weakness.” I guess one can only hope there is more to this existence and that when we die we are no longer bound to the rules of this universe but to one that we do not yet understand or comprehend. Because isn’t that the point of what we are trying to find?
Well first of all, I’m sorry for your depression and pain, which are some of the worst things life has to offer. If it’s making you suicidal, I’d recommend at least talking to someone at the other end of a suicide hotline before making that choice. I’m probably not the guy you want to be talking to, since I’m more interested in finding truth than hope (but hopefully I can find both). You might also want to see a doctor about your depression if you haven’t already (if a pill can make you happier, so be it!).
“If our purpose to exist is to just exist that’s pretty damn depressing.”
I found that idea incredibly depressing, at least at first. I found that many ex-Christians go through the same depression. Being a believer, you’re promised a big reward, so it’s a huge let-down to acknowledge there is no such thing. You’re also taught that life is meaningless without God, so you assume this to be true when you first lose faith. But as most ex-Christians will testify, you get over it.
Eventually, I realized I DO matter. Even if I don’t matter to an eternal God, I matter to my kids, my wife, my mom and dad, friends, my dog, and especially myself. It’s true that none of this will matter in a billion years, but I won’t be around to notice, so I don’t really care about that future (just like I don’t care that my consciousness never existed for eons in the past). I don’t matter in the eternal sense, but I’m here NOW, and so now is all that matters. My life won’t last long, so I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts. I figure I can choose to look at the dark side and say, “Life sucks because sometimes there is pain and suffering,” or I can look on the bright side and say, “How fortunate I am to be alive if only for a short time!”
(I go over NDEs and consciousness a bit more under questions 19 and 20.)
But I’m not going to bullshit you, chronic pain can put a damper on EVERYTHING. If I was in constant chronic pain with no relief in sight, I don’t know if I’d have the strength to hold on (though I would probably try, just for my families sake, or until I found something that could help). But I’m kind of a wimp. The truth is that life can be a real bitch for some people, and if there is absolutely NO hope for relief, then I think the most merciful thing we can do in some cases is help people escape their torment.
“Quite frankly if that’s the case we should throw out our economic principle’s and work to make every persons life better on this planet. (Maybe not a bad idea anyways.)”
I agree. I think our goal as humans should be to make sure everyone can live with as little unnecessary pain and suffering as possible, so they can enjoy all the good things life has to offer (e.g. music, dancing, love, movies, food, sex, sex with food, books, laughter, even sights and smells). And I’d like to think mankind is headed in that general direction (see Steven Pinker’s “The Better Angels of Our Nature”). In fact, I just read about a possible vaccine for malaria. If we could spare half a million lives every year, I think that would be cause to celebrate. These lives matter to a lot of people… at least for now. 🙂
We are in same boat! In different positions though. I am also undergoing very similar thoughts, though the pain is of different degree.
It’s not a huge let-down to acknowledge there is no such thing. Because we will never be let down! It’s only a matter of time, All of us expect things to happen in our timeline, which is the cause for all worries, imagine, our Creator taking care of our needs vs. we choosing our pleasure? We will always choose illusions, while our Father will give us the right requirement at the right time.
“Exist is to just exist” is not the right term, as from our level we can maximum see upto day after tomorrow, while our Father can see for coming generations! we just need to have faith and believe in HIM…and endure the situation, as we are not the only character. The story can be changed anytime, otherwise.
We are searching for a meaning a reason to keep fighting Quite frankly everything is there after death and that’s our destiny. We all can be dead now? but are worthy of dying!
I understand that you are suffering major depression, but death is not the answer, Can I tell my story? Many may know already, though.
I was riding my bike returning from office, after a conference call with our US client, normally in 110KM speed, and I was on a hump flying when someone crossed the road in front of me. To save him from hitting at that speed I tried my maximum… the scene closes there…
My friend who was coming behind me has seen some gathered on the road, and came to see by inquisitiveness, saw me on the accident spot, picked me and rushed to the nearest Hospital who has rejected, saying it is simply vain trying to save as the patient is already dead! He has again, taken me VIMS hospital on the Marathhalli ring road, The HOD has admitted saying the the patient is dead 99.99%, only 0.1% alive, I will try my maximum…
My skull was broken into pieces, heart has stopped for 7 minutes, I had a stoke on left side of the body, my memory was, as per doctors language Anterograde amnesia, who forgot the world, except my wife and Son and the story continues…
Doctor has said, the He will be like a vegitable, for rest of his life, He will take minimum 6 month to sit upright, 2 years to walk…I was sitting and working in my office which was in the 8th floor by walking. This is God’s Miracle,
My wife and child left me fearing that I will be a burden for life long… and Today God has given me early retirement and enjoy this life peacefully.
Now, do we know what Gods Plan, for me?
Every thing existing or non existing has a reason for being on this earth!
But human race started suffering from the time it started moving away from God, how many of us realise this naked truth? Sufferings will cease only when we move towards God, It is called Heaven in spiritual language, in normal language it is called as living in happiness forever, with God!
Expect Him to talk to you anytime, as He will have better plan or you are talented than others…
If god doesn’t exist then why do we exist? please rephrase it as, If god doesn’t exist then, How can we exist?
What is the purpose of existence if for only a brief second in time you are here?
Normally the flights on long journey has a transit landing and just because you don’t have a VISA to go out while others go out as they have it does it mean that you don’t want to continue the journey? We are just on the transit,
As this life on earth is not permanent!
You’d argue that after you die then it is like you never existed at all, but just because you are not allowed to sit the theater, plane, or bus after reaching the destination, will you argue that you never traveled or will travel again? sorry, I am confused!
I agree, Bible is a system to have control on Humans and but don’t agree with, for at that time it has worked, for some time, as it has not worked from the beginning till today, take for instance The Ten commandment. who is following/has followed any of the given commandments? from
Worshiping other Gods, (money, fame, material, women/men)and taking Gods name in every wrong thing we do. Enjoying on weekends with wrong friends at wrong places, Sending out of house our aged parents as we want enjoy without any hindrance, forgetting that we are next in the queue. Killing other mans happiness, his basic needs.
5. Adultery starts from school now. Stealing and coveting neighbors goods. and so on
For your question, Why would an all knowing all loving god create a world where suffering is allowed is very much wrong! God never created Adam and Eve to live on earth! who asked asked them to toil for food till they die, was it God?
Very well said, its doom is apparent to me now as a consequence of the imperfection inherent in every human being. Yes, till today, We are not able to control our senses! like Eve.
I agree, man is not perfect but don’t agree with, he couldn’t be perfect or we would reject existence, as Man is existing to satisfy his senses only, he would lived in Heaven if it was other way!
God created man, then why does suffering occur? As God created Human with free will all these are happening, otherwise we would said that He made puppets, and He enjoys playing with it, if we were made without the option of free will then we would have been under Gods protection completely , He would have made right choices for me, He would have given me fish, as now I am holding a snake and thinking it is fish which can eaten! All my choices are materialist so it is only an illusion. Suffering is attached, When it rains,
You will become wet if you go out of protection, whatever you wear or cover you with.
Very interesting point, Man allows man to suffer. Third world countries exist because we allow them too… Imagine, if we had understood Jesus message correctly, He teaches about, Sharing when 4000 men and others were fed with five loaves bread and 2 fishes just because they started sharing what they had and the collected left overs which was enough to feed few thousands more if we can apply the same concept, can we eliminate poverty? Now it is up to us But we still remember this by saying it mass only saying it is in the mass as mystery? and forget once we reach the church gate!
Back to the suffering, God created man, and the suffering occurs by our free/ will choices, none of decisions are God driven. When our decisions are materialist then expect only miseries, nothing else!
This is wrong,It’s just hard to believe that we exist for such a short time remember nothing and thus truly don’t experience anything in the long run., sorry not agreeable, as I still remember Mother Teresa, She may not remember me but I know her very well for the life she lived was like that, I can quote thousands of them, they are REMEMBERED!
We are on the journey to our holy Heaven, depending on our talents given and developed ones we will move faster in the queue or be standing in the same place and watching other moving faster.
Who is to be blamed? God gave same talents to all when he created us on this earth but if we waste our energy for negative, who can we blame?
It is of no use to buy the ticket for travel (become Christian), but be at boarding point when the vehicle starts, the vehicle may delay to start for sometime waiting for late passengers but will not wait forever!
Appreciate the response and yes. I have been seeking plenty of help, whole team of dr’s working on it!
Thanks for the conversation. Hope they find something that helps!
Hey Curious Soul,
I feel yo, and I know what you are going through. Myself, I caught depression at a very early age, 14 year after the sudden death of my Dad through Carcinoma. So, for me, it has been pretty much Hellish. As I grew up, trouble did not reduce but just mounted and mounted.
Your inference that “If our purpose to exist is to just exist that’s pretty damn depressing.” is a bit haunting and am sure 500 felt it. Well, to give myself reason to live, because of the haunting suicidal thoughts, I used to read books, about people who went through worse than me, and survived.
In the end, I can assure you that am more than a believer. But blogs like this one is not for fainthearted, nor for those who are going through rough time. 500 Questions is not seeking for answers. He is not curious to know. He is a provocateur. And for provocateurs answers to their questions is like bouncing a ball on a wall, and expecting it to make a hole on the wall. Just read his 59th Question. I have hims a full answer, and not a word of comment!!
I’m sorry you feel I’m just trying to stir up trouble, perhaps if I were arguing in favor of Christianity you wouldn’t feel that way. Allow me to make something clear: in my search for truth I have been to many Christian websites that did not allow for comments, and that’s why I allow them here. I am not afraid of discourse or debate, and you are free to say anything you like. In the course of the few questions I’ve written there have literally been thousands of responses, and I don’t respond to every single one. However, I did respond to this question indirectly by responding to someone else who had posted after you, and you then responded to that post. To be frank, I just didn’t feel your response was a very compelling one, but perhaps your argument will be helpful to someone else.
Hey 500 Questions.
I just wanted to let you know that I am in the same boat as you, or at least the same boat you arrived at your present understanding in. I have been a church going human since 1983 when I discovered the joys of the youth group community. I had friends and a sense of purpose that gave me a new and exciting zeal for life.
But I always felt somewhat inferior to everyone else in the church. I always felt that I was drinking milk, while they were onto the hard stuff. I couldn’t believe like they could. This has gone on for 30 years.
But during those years the same questions kept reverberating in my head. Those questions are articulately outlined on your site. These are things I never thought I could ask because it would demonstrate a lack of faith and understanding in God’s word. But here you are asking them in a cordial and polite manner.
The straw that broke the camel’s back and brought me to your site, was when my pastor preached on a couple of things that he announced as being stories, or fables. He suggested that you need to search for writing styles in the word that will allow you to decipher a literal story from a metaphorical one, or a fable if you like. I sat bolt upright and listened intently because this was something I had never heard from the pulpit. The obvious question is…. how much else is made up?
The problem I have with the realisation that I was not drinking milk, but rather demonstrating a healthy skepticism, is that now I feel a tremendous sense of loss. I feel that I may have been cheated for 30 years and that a friend I thought I had, is just a figment of an author’s imagination. It’s like finding out that Jk Rowling made up Harry Potter. He’s actually fictional, even though I spoke to him everyday. It makes for a lonely life.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m happily married with magnificent and successful kids. I love them more than life itself and they literally keep me alive. But the dilemma is… Why exist, why make them exist? So they can make their kids exist? Wow. That is so pointless. This is so hard to cope with.
I find myself devouring each and every question you raise and I cannot fault your logic. I am so tempted to share your questions with my pastor, the one who said that the story of Job was a story akin to one of Aesop’s fables. But I am scared that it would rock his world and shake him to his core. I love this man because of his honesty and openness, which has gotten him Into trouble with the fundamentalists amongst the congregation, but even though he is open to new suggestions and nonreligious ideas, I’m not sure he’s ready to accept the idea that there is no God. I don’t even know that I have dealt with that concept yet. After 30 years it’s a hard ideal to surrender.
I’d like to ask you to pray for me, but to who?
Anyway, the point of this, my first post was to encourage you to keep posing these questions, because people like me need to know that the same questions I have are being pondered by someone with the intelligence, resources and time required to deal with such fundamental and mind blowing concepts.
Hi Highlander, thanks for your kind post.
I know what you mean by the sense of loss. Just believing that God, heaven, and eternal life exist — and then having that belief taken away — can be pretty devastating. I probably spent a good two years in depression, learning to cope with this new reality.
Also, being in church for so long, you’re often told that life is pointless without God, so you tend to believe it. If there’s no eternal life, what’s the point? It may be that part of the reason religion “evolved” in the first place was to help us cope with issues of death and loneliness (among other things). So without religion, we get thrown back into those problems.
But after awhile, I started asking myself questions like, “Well… what’s the purpose of ETERNAL life?” Sure, there’s more of it, and we’d no longer fear death, but after awhile we may LONG for death. Maybe death is a good thing. I wouldn’t want to be born into this world with no way to ever escape it. In fact, a world where we die is surely better than a world where most people end up in hell forever.
As I said to Curious Soul above, “Eventually, I realized I DO matter. Even if I don’t matter to an eternal God, I matter to my kids, my wife, my mom and dad, friends, my dog, and especially myself. It’s true that none of this will matter in a billion years, but I won’t be around to notice, so I don’t really care about that future (just like I don’t care that my consciousness never existed for eons in the past). I don’t matter in the eternal sense, but I’m here NOW, and so now is all that matters.”
But you’re touching on some pretty tough philosophical questions when it comes to children. I have to admit, I still struggle with the soundness of David Benatar’s argument that the most logical conclusion is to stop reproducing. When we reproduce, we create suffering where there previously was none. However, I’m an optimist, and so I like to look at pain and suffering as just the cost of admission for this ride.
I also like to think that part of our purpose is not only to make this generation better, but to also help make the world better for future generations. I believe that our future human offspring will eventually conquer disease, aging, and even death, and that there will be drugs that will make people happy, so there will no longer be depression and suffering (unless people wish to experience it). People will spend their lives perusing whatever interests them, and exit this world when they’re good and ready (perhaps after raising their own replacements). And our great, great, great grandchildren will live happily ever after… until the Universe ends.
And what was the point? It was FUN. The sights, the smells, the food, the music, the movies and books, the laughter, the touching, the art and shows, the video games, the new discoveries, sports, playing, swimming, exercising, flying, riding, playing in the sun, exploring animals and the Universe, and then sharing all this great stuff with the next generation before we respectfully bow out when we’re done enjoying ourselves.
This perfect future isn’t for us, but it can’t happen without us. We already have it MUCH better than our ancestors, thanks to their hard work and sacrifice, and hopefully our offspring will have it much better than we do. And who knows, maybe they’ll look back at us like we look at our ancestors and wonder, “How did they ever survive in those conditions?” 🙂
Hi 500Q and Highlander,
All I wanted to say was, I really applaud you both for being able to make a decision to leave behind your religion. Don’t get me wrong! I’m not saying it was a good or bad thing, because religion is more a subjective topic, and it’s up to everyone to decide what they think is right.
My point is that I think it’s really hard to question things that have been taught to you as accepted truth for years, let alone leave it behind completely, and religion is a stellar example of this – personally I never had any significant Christian influences in my early life, but when I did learn about it, I thought about it and it occurred to me just how easy it would be to hand over my life to a creator, taking the reins for me and watching over me as a ‘guardian angel’ 24/7. And not only a ‘guardian angel’, but one with unlimited power and unlimited knowledge. I can’t say I speak for everyone but for me that is extremely tempting – and I wasn’t even brought up Christian. So I imagine for you having had ample amounts of Christian influence for years, it must have been many times harder. It takes lots courage to do that sort of thing, and that’s what I wanted to say =)
Thanks Alpha. I’m still on a journey of discovery. Trying to keep an open mind, looking for the things that make sense. Thing is… Not much in life makes much sense at all. Except of course that I love my family more than life itself. That at least seems to make sense to me.
In India, Karnataka state has CET exams to be passed by students and the rank determines our placement into different Engineering colleges throughout Karnataka, this is for just for getting into a Engineering college to study Engineering, as the country does not any Tom Dick and Harry to become Engineers, then imagine getting placement into Heaven will require…
What you are discussing is the REAL truth of life, believing that God, heaven, and eternal life exist, that is afterlife is the purpose of our birth and living, not all who born can reach HIM, it is not so easy!
I may have different experience before I reach the boat, but all our destination is ONE to reach living God, our life style determines, whether we have passed the test to reach HIM!
So I know you’ve got about 450 questions left to answer, but I have to share one of the things I’m finding difficult to reconcile. For 30 years I’ve been taught that there will be eternal consequences for our actions in this world. That idea made it feasible to accept the idea that really bad things can happen on Earth because they’ll be dealt with later. Take that concept away and it simply means that you can do whatever you want, just don’t get caught. The vilest child abusers, the most despicable murderers will not be held to account for their actions. All they have to do is not get caught. This is a pretty difficult thing to come to terms with after a life in the church. An eye for an eye has no meaning for the criminal who is never discovered.
I’d love to hear 500q’s take on it.
Yep, haven’t really gotten to many questions about ethics and morality (except for a little in question #28), but I plan to.
Christianity certainly has a way of helping us cope with life’s biggest problems, and the unfairness of life is one of them. Those leaving Christianity are forced to deal with the problems that they thought religion had resolved. The biggest one I usually hear about is coping with death, but the issue of injustice is also a fascinating one.
The bottom line is that life is unfair. Criminals get away with crimes, and nature gets away with killing babies. It is what it is, and all humanity can do is try to rectify the situation.
However, that being said, in cases of child abuse and murder, I wouldn’t say anyone truly “gets away” with anything. Happy, well-adjusted people don’t usually go around murdering people and abusing children, there is something wrong with them, and I don’t envy them for a moment. These people have to live with themselves, and with the guilt that eats away at them (if they have any empathy at all), and the possibly of getting found out.
Case in point: I recently read a story about a father who raped his daughter for many years (starting at age 9). As much as I want to hate this sick bastard, he was also molested as a child. I’m not saying that’s an excuse, but had he been raised in a loving home, things may have been different. I think sometimes our environment leads us to make poor decisions. Anyway, even if this guy got away with it, I wouldn’t want to be him.
I’d like to think that if these criminals were in their right mind, they wouldn’t commit these crimes — something is wrong with them. Maybe they had a rough childhood, maybe they feel unloved, maybe they’re immature or not right in the head, maybe they’re a victim of crime or the system, or maybe they lack empathy. (As someone once said, if you can’t determine right from wrong then you lack empathy, not religion.)
But when people are thinking clearly (and there is no competition for resources), I think most people are capable of making reasonable decisions and doing the right thing. But there are a lot of things that can get in the way of this.
So even without faith in ultimate justice or karma, I have faith in humanity and our ability to eventually reason out right from wrong, and I think we’re getting better and better at it. If a few people can’t think clearly, empathize, or cooperate, their situations should probably be pitied.
Sorry, to interfere in your conversation, but I found this one of the interesting topic to be discussed as this was the question every right person will be asking to himself and others. Nothing wrong in your question but I would like add my penny, The sinners are punished in this world itself, unless they repent for what they have done and change their life completely which will be acceptable to our Father!
As everyone is blessed with a conscious, which determines whether a person is happy or not, as happiness is a feeling not materialistic, no money, car, house, or women/men can bring real happiness, as we may look like, we are very happy traveling in the latest car released or staying in a villa or moving around with best looking man/women, but have you ever asked them whether they are happy? As these are like the dress you wear, which needs to be removed sometime or the other… but inner peace and happiness cannot be shed it is part of you.
Let us ask ourselves, How many of us are really happy and lead a peaceful life?
In our slag language, we usually say, Those who eat more salt need to drink water! and those who have played around too much thinking that no one knows…are the real losers,
First, we have conscious, then we have our God watching us, who has very clearly commanded,
“I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. (if we still surrender to some thing else) Thou shalt have no other gods before me.(The vilest child abusers, the most despicable murderers will not be held to account for their actions in this world, but have we seen them in the next world or their children suffering in this world?) Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: (can be any of the sin committed but not caught on earth) for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;(now this is the reason for all the humans sufferings)
We need to repent and come back, whatever the level of sins, we may have committed!
Let us come back to our Father and agree to our mistakes and leave the judgement to our Father!
–“The sinners are punished in this world itself, unless they repent for what they have done and change their life completely which will be acceptable to our Father!”–
Does this not imply that ALL sinners are punished according to their LEVEL of sin in this world itself?
If so, there are some serious a**holes living it up all over the world not giving a damn about anyone and wholeheartedly content about it.
500. I just wanted to encourage you in your writing. I don’t know whether WordPress tells you how many people are looking at your blog, like ebay tells you how many watchers you have, but I want you to know that I am working my way through every post, comment and argument for the second time and questioning every word. I’ve never been one to take things at face value, so your topics and the comments and arguments they evoke are compelling. Be encouraged.
Thanks Highlander, that is encouraging. I must admit, I sometimes DO get discouraged, especially when I keep butting up against the same excuses over and over again (faith, fall of man, etc.). But then — because WordPress does show you how much traffic you’re getting and where it’s coming from — I’ll follow a link back to some random stranger who has posted a positive remark on Twitter, Reddit, ex-Christian.net, or some other site.
I’m in the process of moving, so things will probably slow down a bit, but I’ve got at least a dozen other questions I’m refining at the moment that promise to be interesting. Thanks for the encouragement!
I stumbled across this list recently and wanted to say that I was very impressed with it. As a former Christian who became an agnostic about a year ago, I have asked and researched some of these questions during my de-conversion, but there are many more question in the list that are new to me. The well thought out details and research within this list force people on both sides of the issues to examine the questions and challenge their own beliefs. The thoughts in this list will be helpful for me as I continue to discuss these issues with friends and family and will allow me to better explain the reasoning for my own beliefs.
I do have a couple suggestions for potential future questions for the list. Both of these questions are related only to the Christian faith, but I found them very interesting and disrupting when I began trying to objectively research the faith I had held for about 20 years.
The question is, “Why were Jesus’ predictions of the second coming and end of times incorrect?” Throughout the gospels, Jesus clearly states that the second coming is at hand and would happen within his generation (Mark 13:30, Matthew 19:27-28, Luke 21:32-33). Other new testament authors clearly believe that they were in the end of days (1 Thessalonians 4:14-15, Revelation 1:1, 1 John 2:18). Even C.S Lewis found this these predictions to be embarrassing http://whatdidijuststepin.blogspot.com/2009/10/most-embarrassing-verse-in-bible.html. Imagine the disappointment of 1st century believers if they knew that 2000 years later, we are still waiting.
Another interesting question about the new testament is, “Why does Jesus only explicitly claim to be divinely God in the book of John?” With the importance of this revelation, you would expect to see Jesus making this claim throughout his ministry. It would also seem careless of the writers of Matthew, Mark, and Luke to leave out this important detail if Jesus truly made these claims of divinity.
Thanks for sharing you thoughts and writing this list. I appreciate your attention to detail, humor, and objectivity as you write about these complex issues.
Hi Anonymous, and thank you very much.
I think the answers to both questions are basically the same: these ideas were evolving as time went on. In the first case, Jesus was expected to make an immediate return, and when he didn’t, the date had to be pushed back and the verses reinterpreted. In the second case, I think the character of Jesus was evolving over time (i.e. various ideas are explored, and what worked is what stuck). By the time we get to the gospel of John (the last gospel written), we see a more developed view of Christianity. But even today, the nature of Christ is still debated.
For your question, “Why were Jesus’ predictions of the second coming and end of times incorrect?” Throughout the gospels, Jesus clearly states that the second coming is at hand and would happen within his generation,
This was question was pondering me for very long time, unless I read the same passage in different times of the day and in different situations, the answer was very simple, you may not agree,
Jesus said, He is coming again to judge you and me and too in this generation itself, it is true, yes very true! Everyone who has faced death will mostly reconcile with GTF, or be against GTF fully, if at all they come back alive. what Jesus said taken literally, and we are waiting for his coming… What He meant was very straight forward, END OF TIMES… ASK THIS QUESTION, Whose End? IS IT OURS OR WORLDS, END!?
Why did we take it as worlds end? This can be answered by… who wanted to keep people relaxed and allow them to live as they want as they have not seen anyone suffering as fore told by all, but now can we understand why our children are suffering?
It was our End, in this world! Now with this perspective read the same lines again you will get the correct meaning…
Proof:-Luke 23:43,“Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.’
If we are waiting for worlds end, can Jesus assure him TODAY!?
No, there won’t be any disappointment of 1st century believers as each one them and even everyone of us will be experiencing the same, and not wait, Trillions of souls WILL BE WAITING, otherwise?
For your second question “Why does Jesus only explicitly claim to be divinely God in the book of John?
”Gospel According to John, the Fourth Gospel was finally completed around 1st century which was also written by many but was called as John. as it was initiated by him (Google please) Trinity was cropping up during that period?
(1) “Why does Jesus only explicitly claim to be divinely God in the book of John?”
You remember that Jesus also refused to be called “Good”? Jesus, is the Logos Trinity. That is, Jesus is the True Image of God and Man. Therefore He was Truly God, and Truly Man. So, in as much as he admitted to be divine, he also admitted to be truly human. That is why he more often called Himself “The Son of Man” To have claimed his own divinity while playing down his own humanity would have been a contradiction. And Jesus is not a contradiction but a Logos. which is Reason, of Logic. So, Jesus as the Son of God, and the Redeemer of Man, he had to be the least of men, so that that NONE would ever claims more lowly that he was. And he had to achieve the least-hood, without sin, so that he would be an example for ALL men, before God. But even when he admits his divinity in the book of John, He also explicitly states that he came to die. St. John emphasized the divinity of Jesus, specifically because he had a specific Reason. “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.. John 20:31 Every miracle in the book of John, s followed by a teaching about the divinity of Jesus. Other gospels, summarizes the ministry of Jesus, and since they were written to people who were assumed to already have accepted the divinity of Jesus, it was not necessary for the writers to emphasized this nature. (You do not preach to the converted) But John, wrote to everyone.
(2) “Why were Jesus’ predictions of the second coming and end of times incorrect?”
He was not incorrect. Remember what he told His disciples: “ I have more to say to you. More than you can bear now. But when He, the Sprit of Truth comes, he will lead you to complete Truth” John 16:12-13. So, there were things that the Disciples could not understand and they were to be revealed with time, by the Holy Spirit. Remember also in the book of Acts when they ask the Ridiculous question;
“ Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Here, the disciples still thought that Jesus was coming to restore the Kingdom of Israel. But what they did not know that at the Manifestation of the Christ, Christ now had become everything. He now, was Israel, he was the Kingdom, He was the New Earth, He was everything; Its as St Paul tried to explain to his followers; “There is only Christ: he is everything and he is in everything. As the chosen of God, then, the holy people whom he loves, you are to be clothed in heartfelt compassion, in generosity and humility, gentleness and patience. Colossian 3: 9-12
The Second Coming is paradoxical. Its personal and also corrective, because the Christ is in everything. If you accept the Christ, the Christ has already come for you, believe he is in you, take your cross and follow Him, and he will raise you up, on the last day. The Collective Second Coming of the Christ, is the End of The World as we know it. And No one knows when this will happen, because it depends on the Father of the Christ, who is Man. When the Christ says “Only the Father knows” Its not God the Father, but His Image, the Human Spirit, who is also the Father of the Christ. So, Man, must individually decide to accept the Christ. Its only the world who knows when the end will come because the end will come for those who have not accepted the Christ. But for those who have already accepted the Christ, it will not be an end, but a a Sudden Transformation. Its as St. Paul states; “I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed 1Corrinthians 15:51-52 I hope this one helps.
Thank you for this very informative and interesting blog. Here, I can at least read the thoughts of similar minded people. Many of the questions on here are questions that I have asked myself. I have tried to talk to my family, relatives, and friends about my search for answers to questions on religion, soul, mind, afterlife, etc… but everyone (so far) looked at me as if am sort of an idiot or mentally disturbed to ask these questions and not believe what they all believe. But I don’t want to just believe what the writers of scriptures have to say. I want to see for myself whats actually real! Are we, or our personality, just the stream of thoughts that come and go – or are we a permanent entity (say, a soul) that never changes? Why can’t I see or experience this soul? These are just examples of questions that never seem to have satisfactory answers in the scriptures, or maybe I don’t see what everyone around me see so clearly! Anyway, I will continue to read the posts on here and maybe I will be able to contribute something soon. Thanks again and keep up the good work.
Hey Tim, you’re welcome, and thanks for reading it!
It’s amazing how pervasive and ubiquitous the idea of the spirit/soul is. So much so that it’s taken for granted that it actually exists. But we know from neuroscience that what we are (our thoughts, memories, and feelings) all seem to be tied up in the brain, and when we suffer diseases or injuries to the brain, the memories and affections disappear along with it. But I guess we can still take comfort in the fact that if there is no soul, once we’re dead, we won’t know we’re dead, just like we didn’t know we weren’t alive all those years before we were born.
If we think about it, none of us can even remember our very own births – perhaps our brains lacked memory/experiences to respond to the occasion, or whatever (like a computer without data). I am also attracted to the idea that there is only one life, the physiological (material) life and that the psychological (or spiritual) life is just a figment of our rich imagination. Of course, I can’t provide proof for these things, they too are just thoughts.
This being an index thread, I will stop here for now and will perhaps comment in the other specific threads you have created. It’s great to be here!
Yes, you are right that neuroscience state that all emotions and cognitive ability is tied up to the brain. However, it is exactly what the Scripture say (not the church teaching as there is a big difference between those teachings) and there are numerous verses on that subject confirming that no immortal soul exists. One good thing is that nibody ever experience what it is to be dead. We all experience dying but never what it is to be dead. For more information please visit our website:
i am so glad that i found your blog. It’s just like finding an oasis in the desert.. i have wasted my life because of my belief in god. But now i am keen on finding out the meaning of my life and the reason for my existence..
Thanks, I hope you find what gives your own life meaning.
I am glad that i found out your unique site because i am having a question inside me which says that “Why do some people see or listen something and believe it to exist or be true even if it is extremely unusual or unexpected?”. Hope you will answer my desperate question!
I think there are many different reasons, the chief one being that it’s human nature to want to feel safe, to defeat death, and to find meaning. But for a more complete answer, I’d recommend reading Michael Shermer’s book, “Why People Believe Weird Things.”
I have a one more question that why people around the globe have different beliefs. Hope you reply me and please give me a brief answer for it because i am doing a research on it and i can’t find the answer of it anywhere.
Probably because we all want to know where we came from… originally. In the absence of an obvious answer we invent our own.
People have different believes because of their cultural history and human experiences, plus of course, convenience. Cultural History, as affected by the environment and human interpretation of the causes of his experiences. Convenience which enables the individuals to excuse their irrationality. Lastly Curiosity
I have a question that “Why do belief system affect a country’s political system and culture?”
Political systems, and Religious believes are two sides of the same coin. Political Systems are based of certain believes, and so do religious systems. Its like asking, “Why do wild cocks crow?” Coz, I guess they are cocks. We are talking about people. People believe, because they have a tendency to believe in something. Its inherent, even for Atheists, who believe (!) there is not God. That too, is a believe which they are entitles to, and it affects their politics too.
Dear 500 Questions,
My appreciation of your thorough research and tactful posts can only be equaled by my gratitude for the open-minded and non-condescending fashion in which you do so.
Hats off to yah’!
In the event you do choose to take requests, please kindly consider the following:
1) Hermaphrodites. (Nuff’ said here- I have no doubt you know the implications)
2) The fairness/irony of Jesus coming to inspire mankind to write a doctrine of “faith” to believe in him when the people who are writing it didn’t need “faith” at all? They (hypothetically) got to see someone walk on water, raise the dead, be resurrected himself, turn water into wine, cure sickness and malady, etc….. ( As a side note: A little easier (read: unfair) for his disciples to get a crack at entering Heaven since they didn’t need “faith”, wouldn’t you think?)
“Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Yeah- yet Jesus’ disciples got a “get out of faith” free card on that one. I guess the Bible doesn’t apply to some of the very people writing it?
3) Genesis 6:7 vs. Proverbs 30:5 and the implications of God showing “regret.”
(Exodus 32:14 also comes into play here…)
I touch on the implications of this in your post #45 in a response of mine but not in the depth that this sort of question really warrants. https://500questions.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/45-is-the-bible-inerrant-does-it-matter/
Thank you for your consideration!
1) I like the hermaphrodite question, especially how it relates to God’s commands on homosexuality. How can we say that same-sex relationships are unnatural when God himself creates unnatural sexes?
2) “Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'” Apparently those who did not see Jesus get a bigger pool in heaven, or some other perk, just to make it fair.
What I thought you were going to ask was, “Why didn’t God write his own gospel?” That too would be an interesting question. Surely Jesus knew the gospels would be written and then heavily debated, seems like he could’ve saved us a lot of trouble by writing everything down that he wanted to share with all of us. I guess God is willing to write commandments, but not an auto-biography.
3) I love Genesis 6:7. Why DID God create mankind if he knew he was going to regret it? It would be interesting to see if a viable explanation exists for this one.
I believe God is as Curious as Man. So is He is curious, well, he must be knowing. And if he knows, then it must be that there are something He Did not know, and which, after knowing them just like everyone He regretted. Its a Curious World.
1) Thank you for the prompt and succinct reply! As for your response to #2 and the “blessed are those who have not seen” you are correct and I apologize for my brevity in not fully developing the heart of the matter. Point blank: It would have been better for me to add “Sure, the disciples who saw may not get the full reward of “heaven” like the rest, but they STILL get to go to heaven for little more than seeing Jesus.” (In effect, they didn’t really have much to believe- they could just “see.”)
Imagine asking Christians TODAY if they would accept a reduced version of Heaven with the only “catch” being 1) guaranteed entry (read: avoid eternal torture and torment in hell) AND 2) getting to see Jesus in real life. Some catch, eh’?
Sorry, but if some game-show host says “Jesus, if he exists, will definitively be behind curtain #1” and if I only “believe in him” I can avoid eternal torture but won’t ever get to know “for sure” like others got to know before me OR I can look behind the curtain, talk to him, watch him perform physics-defying miracles, etc. and STILL GET INTO A REDUCED VERSION OF HEAVEN…
Well Sir, I’d say “THE PRICE IS RIGHT!”
(Not making slight at other’s views here)
2) As for your remark of “God writing his own gospel”: A thought provoking point which I believe would tie directly into Hitler. Not at all trying to be sensationalist here but Hitler is quoted as saying ““If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” I genuinely have nothing against anyone’s views and I wish peace for all, however couldn’t the Bible LITERALLY have been the extent of a handful of tweets?
Jesus says “Write down these 10 Commandments” +
Jesus says “Live well with peace following my father’s words and wishes. I am your Lord God and Savior from another entity that wishes to bring you eternal pain. When you die your soul shall either come to a place of eternal bliss with me or go to a wicked place and suffer forever. To get into this place of bliss I call “Heaven”, simply believe and trust in me as your God. Know that the ruler of the wicked place -the Devil- doesn’t want you to come with me so he will try and deceive you. So guess what? In addition to the miracles I am about to perform for you to prove that I am God, bear witness to me dying in your stead and going to this place of eternal torment. I do this out of love and I don’t want you to suffer this place I call “sheol” forever. You may pray to me until I see you again in heaven when things aren’t going so well and I will assist you if I so choose bringing you both love and life-lessons in the process. I am God and I deem this as fair. You do not need to know the rest because you cannot possibly understand my power and wisdom and all will be revealed in Heaven if you choose to follow me. I love you all so very much! Live well. Peace be with you all.” +
Jesus performs physics-bending miracles to back up what he’s saying in several places around the world while repeating the same speech and it is verified throughout history before finally ascending back into heaven.
(If that had happened, the only thing for us to debate here over the last 2000 years would be that only one last group of witnesses would have seen him ascend into heaven and AT WORST we’d argue over whether he actually ascended due to only one group having seen it. No “Jews”. No “Muslims”. No [Enter Religion Here]. Just “Christians” who instead of arguments, wars, religious intolerance, inquisition, witch burning etc. we would be dealing AT MOST with those of us who have “I saw Elvis!” like stories and those who say “No, someone said he went back to heaven.” Big deal, right?)
SO, while I understand my aforementioned “Bible” is blunt for display purposes and yes the OT “prophecy” may have been important to a God in order to help him establish validity in addition to his later miracles, ultimately this, much like my point, would be that the Bible is superfluous.
Verified history has shown 1) the power of big lies and 2) why they need to be “big” in order to be believable. Tie this into history also showing us through Milgram’s experiments that 3) people will do “horrible things if an authority figure tells them to” and I respectfully contend to you that when adding up this 3 part formula you will find an indistinguishable difference between how Hitler did what he did and [ENTER NAME OF RELIGION YOU DON’T BELIEVE IN HERE].
An all perfect God can command a language to convey his purpose with a level of succinctness that would require nothing more than my earlier “Bible equation.” In fact, I KNOW for certain he (or she) would have said it better than I just did! Not to mention perform miracles to top the whole she-bang off.
No offense to anyone but I’m inclined to believe Occam’s razor doesn’t grow dull. If my parent’s had spoke to me about the most important formative events in my life in the form of riddles, cryptic prose and convoluted-at-best speech only to back it up with the completely opposite style of a straight forward “BUT ULTIMATELY DON’T QUESTION WHAT I SAY. OBEY FOR YOU CANNOT KNOW MY WISDOM”…. the state of my mental health would have been in life-threatening conditions.
The mere thought of my child growing up with a parent like that just made me perk up in my seat and go into full-on “protection mode” for a split second.
Great posts 500 and keep up the good work!
Great point cromagnostic….If I want my kids to understand something really important, I make sure I explain it in really clear and certain terms, not with prose and parables. Especially things as important as life and death…… For eternity!
I guess that, God wants to figure it out for yourself. Even if you do not get it right here you will eventually get it right somewhere else-at a cost.
Sir 500 Questions, my apologies…
No offense, what was the inspiration for making Jesus as God?
but faith is from different level and perspective, it was prevalent from OT, Abraham which is class apart,
Yes I agree with some wordings from the Bible with which we can be misled, As I have already posted this directly, but as it is very similar to your questions but not your level,
so pasting again, sorry,
GTF(God Thee Father) is God, read the ten commandments again, that too the first one itself,
Exodus 20:- 2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 “You shall have no other gods before Me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
GTF is perfectly merciful and perfectly just! but for different people, at different time, Very merciful when you deserve it, but very very just, for others who needs judgment!
As we will be punished if we sin, that’s the bottom line, and we are seeing this every day, punished for generations! as told in the first commandment.
Points to ponder:-
1. Jesus, is not only the son of God, so are we.
2. He was conceived by power of the Holy Spirit, only to show, Our GTF’s miraculous power. So he is not son, then who is mother God? (Human thinking)Everyone’s birth is a miracle, only! (ask every mom)
3. He did lot of miracles, but it all based on the faith of the healer, sometimes, He could not do in many occasions as they lacked faith.
4. He was also tested like us, which he passed and we usually fail.
5. He died on cross, as a normal human death.
6…If the disciples really saw him alive again, do you think they would have ever continued to hide? Or Would they come in open to proclaim? still waiting for Holy spirit, you will claim? As resurrected God was with us them now, why would they fear humans who can kill only the body and not the soul!
7. The belief is, He was sacrificed for our sins? Read it again, for our sins! Was it for people who lived before him or after him? What is the validity? As it is now 2014 year after his death! Will this lie continue? Are we given a card to swipe whenever we like? and Jesus will pay my bill?
8. If so, to whom was he sacrificed? As proclaimed till now, Was it, for our GTF (God Thee Father)? Why would GTF accept Jesus as ransom? What a lie!
How they have down graded our Creator! Now Hitlers dialogue “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” (for the past 2000 years!)
Which father on earth itself, will accept his son as a sacrifice to forgive someone else sins forever? Is it not a lie, told for centuries? And we are still believing this naked lie!
9. Jesus ascended into heaven is recorded in Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:36-53, Acts 1:6-12, and 1 Timothy 3:16, then, how and where was he sacrificial lamb? Is it the way he was killed? Then John the Baptist wins, as his head was cut! Which is more severe? Nailing or cutting the throat?
10. The whole world saw him crucified, but after resurrection he was seen only by his close disciples? How/why?
11. After his death and resurrection, He was with his body as recorded, (when he came to meet Thomas the doubt) then… What would have happened to his body in Heaven where we will be his body among the spirits/souls? Which assumption is wrong?
12. He is coming again, to judge the living and the dead? Is story to keep us in good conduct? Then from his death till now, where are all dead body souls waiting?
13. We are seeing that those who have as sinned suffering or their children suffering for what their parents did, as told in the first commandments.
We know to blame God when we see children in the world suffer, but never take the blame on ourselves as parents,who brought this misery to our children?
Original New true concept_retold
Now most important question, how was the world saved or is being saved by Jesus? We are having same death, misery, suffering all in a better package, then what was before Jesus came, then what is the contribution of Jesus?
Correct me, Trinity concept was introduced,as confusion had started and Nicene-Constantinopolitan wanted to save his kingdom, so each of the protesters can worship as per their belief, but wanted play a safe card, as a King He will be intact?
At least now… can we go back to our GTF (God Thee Father) accepting/adoring Him as our only God!?
There is a question that’s always popping in my head that is IS RELIGION THE PRIMARY REASON FOR CONFLICTS AROUND THE WORLD? because if you see China or Russia which are non – religious countries still they have such a high crime rates. Hope you answer my question!
Hi Yash Agarwal,
I would say most conflicts (e.g. wars) are motivated by various combinations of ego, ignorance, greed, inequality, lack of resources, and religion. Religion is to blame in SOME cases, but not all. Religion isn’t the only thing that motivates us.
While religion unites those of like faith, it can also divide us, and gives one more excuse to attack others.
Obstinate ideology is the primary reason- whether religion has or hasn’t fit that bill from time to time isn’t for me to say.
On a completely unrelated note:
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. ”
Keep calm and carry on!
Sir was right, Take from Cain and Able, it was each persons EGO, which was the trigger, today same ego is the basic reason for our miseries,
While religion, is used as scape goat most of the times, as none of us can defend our defend our religion as we don’t know it fully, only people who are gifted to read between the lines take others for ride till…others fall as easy prey!
I was very happy and content when I was with my bike, Yezdi, but when my neighbor brought a new car, I was forced to buy one, which was not my cup at that point of time! but i had to…
My thought, all conflicts start from one person, when his ego is touched, later he transforms them into religion, language, region, state, country as per his convenience, and his regions acceptance criteria,
Now to your question on crime rates, it depends on individual, lifestyle and the way they are brought up as no normal person would like commit a sin, unless…that too if religion is followed religiously…
Jesus would not have prayed”Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth… we will be living in heaven if we have our Father as center in everything we do!
Ego is the primary reason.
Is it me or the more we read, hear and see. Adult christians begin to sound childlike when defending the bible and Christianity. It’s almost like a child who believes in santa clause. The Bible is truly full of nonsense and fables. However, there are some text that should be looked as a guide on how we can be better people. But think about, believers of religions prior to the abrahamic. Thought their god(s) were true. I think we are at a crossroads or apex where these religions have run their course and now a new faith based movement will emerge.
Hold on to your statement! “Bible is truly full of nonsense and fables”
Do you know how your faith can change the world you are living in?
Just because people create idols and worship them, will God change or get scared?
You and I, in fact we, all humans, animals, all non living things put together is just an atom in front of My God, GTF.
New faith based system are emerging from the time of old testament, it doesn’t make any sense! to anyone?
For instance, so called Christians are supposed to follow at least Christ teaching? but…
are they able to show the other cheek when they get hit?
Are they forgiving and forgetting the trespasses of others? Before asking God, to forgive their trespasses?
Nothing has changed after you made Jesus as your God! forgetting His/Our Creator? Why?
GTF is silent, for now not forever, but you have AIDS, Cancer, heart attack…so many to add, which reduces your life time. But in the Old Testament time, people were living for more than 100 years.
I have been thought in my Church, that Jesus is coming again, why? Was the first attempt a failure? He was supposed to be dead for our sins? 2014 year back, so I and you are authorised to sin? Whom are we cheating?
God is always God,(GTF) He does not change, we are suffering for the sins we did/doing and our parents did which was against the first commandment, then please don’t believe people who say, “Jesus forgives you, even on your death bed”. But God forgives only if you really repent and the ask for forgiveness not from lips as many are doing, now-a-days.
Repenting and going back to our God is what God wants, that is real baptism, leaving behind all your old life, and having No regrets or no changes thereafter! that too, When we are able to “Control our senses we are thee Children of God!”
Hello, congratulations on your highly interesting articles again! Do you have in mind to write about Jesus ‘s disciples and what supposedly happened to them…?
I might. I know that there are a lot of conflicting legends about how some of them lived and died, and that Christians often list their willingness to die as evidence for the resurrection, but I don’t know how much proof there is for each of these accounts (it’s hard enough to find third-party accounts relating to Jesus!). Still, it might be worth a look.
Thanks again! Similar is the case with the first “triumphant” church… According to Acts 06.07 many lay people together with a large number of priests converted… Josephus is cited for a “proof” of Jesus ‘s existence, yet neither he nor anybody else seems to noticed this phenomenal shift… I think you could use this if you ever decide to write about Jesus ‘s / first church ‘s / disciples’ historicity… An article about alternatives on the origins of christianity would be very-very interesting.to me as well.. What do you say?
Looking forward to more and more of your thorough articles!
Sounds interesting. I’ll add it to my personal list and look into it later. If there’s anything there that can help to further prove or disprove the case for Christ, I may write about it. Thanks!
Hi I have a question, I had a scan of the list and don’t think it was one you had looked at:
‘Jesus prayed in John 17:21 that believers would be one as a witness to the world – how is this reconciled to the disunity between Christians in theology, denominations, practice and fellowship’?
The lack of unity certainly doesn’t help their case any, but “unity” is a pretty subjective term. The believer could argue that even though there are different denominations, they are all united in their belief in Jesus. Or they could also argue that Jesus prayed for other things he was not granted (Luke 22:42), or that it might be a violation of freewill to force this unity.
Still, we might ask, “If the Father was in Jesus (John 17:21) and Jesus in the Father, if the two are of one mind, then why was Jesus praying for things he already knows can’t be granted? Why pray for things that are clearly NOT the will of the Father?”
Reading through many of these topics, the Obama analogy keeps popping up. I noticed that people always fall for these illogical analogies because they sound smart. I very rarely find analogies that make logical sense, especially when it comes to religion.
More on Obama: People say you can’t convince someone Obama exists by demanding he proves it by meeting them in person and shaking their hand, because there is a set of rules you need to abide by to get to meet him and to shake his hand. Same with God, you must follow his rules to find him. The problem here is: 1)Obama couldn’t care less if you believed in him. 2)Obama does not have the supernatural powers to be in many places at once nor to even know you want proof of his existence. 3)Obama does not claim to reward you for knowing about him, nor does he threaten to torture you if you don’t believe he exist.
Sorry, that was my little rant, cause I’m just tired of these stupid comparisons.
Hello fine sir! Long time reader, first time poster (I feel like the “caller” from the Mr. Obvious skit on the Bob and Tom radio show). Hahaha.
At first I was not going to state my beliefs, but after finishing this I don’t see a reason not to. I’m probably right where 500Q is. I feel nearly certain that God is made up, however there is that sliver of hope that I can find some kind of evidence for what I’m currently letting go.
That being said, I’d like to say and possibly discuss some things on my mind that seem to come up a lot in the comments of most posts. I wish I was as articulate as some of your frequent posters…they can be truly inspiring. I mostly bring these up because the arguments presented here by 500q are hugely in favor of atheism. (They win most arguments). However, I think it is partly in the reason that the Christian arguments and posters are so unscripturaly sound that their argument couldn’t hold up to a freshman HS evolution debater with maybe 1 class under his belt. The knowledge of mainstream Christians is quite ridiculous. Age of accountability is actually really common where I’m from and to be quite honest, if that was true, Id go home and punch my parents right in the face for letting me live past that time. How dare them!
Anyways, here goes. (I usually do lists, not sure why?)
1. Free will. Almost every Christian who posts on here uses free will as some form of argument to defend their beliefs. However, does the Bible teach free will? If so, is it true free will or simply an illusion? Or, does our nature by which “God” created us allow us to choose Good?
In my mind there are a couple logical points that need to be made even before getting into scripture verses. Firstly, christians will state that God is omniscient. He knows all things. Past, present, and future. So if a future is known, with certainty, and that knowledge can not be wrong, then the future must be predetermined. Examples: if I come to a crossroads. I can go left or right. If a being knows for certain which way I will go, and he can’t be wrong, then do I have free will? If God knows I will go left, and he can’t be wrong, then how can I go right?
Secondly, most, if not all, common Christians believe that God knows when and how they will die. So again saying God can’t be wrong, let’s say he knows I will die at the age of 73 to cancer. Then how can I die of a car wreck at the age of 45? Or a stabbing at 37? Someone might try to argue that “well, God stayed their hands at the times it was needed to keep u alive”. But how can one thing be controlled and not all things? If God is omniscient then he knows where I will be at every point in time in my life. Let’s say he knows that I will be in England in 2037 on vacation. Then does not everything prior to that event have to happen in that exact order to get me to that point? I must have the money? I have to meet the people I’m going with? The plane can’t be late? It can’t crash on the way?
The only other logical argument against this is simply that God doesn’t know. And if he doesn’t know then prophecy is out the window. The belief in prophecy in itself proves that all things happen in the exact order, and in the exact time and place as they were predetermined. Even the story of Jesus Christ himself. If he was sent to die on the cross, then there is zero chance that he could have been killed along the way in any other way. He had to meet everyone he met in the exact way that it happened in order to lead him to that point. He had to be betrayed etc. Etc. He even predicted that betrayal, so did Peter have a choice? If one thing was left up to chance then that would throw the whole thing in total chaos. Another example. Adam and Eve. When he made Adam, do you really think he didn’t know what was going to happen? In good ole 500q format and fun I can imagine the convo:
God: well Jesus, we got a problem.
God: the devil tricked Eve into eating the fruit and she gave it to Adam. Now they are sinful.
Jesus: oh man, u didnt see that one coming, huh? What are u gonna do?
God: no I didn’t, but I guess it was possible. I mean I did put the tree RIGHT THERE in the garden. But I thought they would surely listen to me! Oh well, I guess i have to redeem them now. And someone has to die in there place. And he has to be sinless.
Jesus: well I don’t know any sinless beings on earth or in heaven except for …….me….. Wait a minute, u don’t….
God: sorry bro, just didn’t see this one coming! I swear it’s not a knee jerk reaction!
So the question is obvious! Did Adam and Eve really have a choice? They had the conscious illusion of choice, but either God is ignorant of his creation, or they are doing everything exactly as he had “planned” for them to do. You can’t have it both ways.
That being said, a lot of scripture starts to make a bit more sense.
Isaiah 46:10King James Version (KJV)
10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
Now, all that being said, suddenly Grace starts to look a little more like Grace. It is something freely given, not accepted or rejected by the “will” of man. For if a man “accepts” Jesus, it is not have his own free will, it must be because God sent him the holy spirit. That he drew him to him. And why would God draw anyone that would reject? Surely he knew that rejection? Why waste his time? Its obvious that all will reject and its his holy spirit that even gives them the ability to believe. Furthermore scripture says
Romans 3: 11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
Wait what? No man of his own free will seeketh after God? Jew or gentile?
Christians believe that Jesus died so that it’s possible that every human could be saved. Yet, logic, and scripture simply do not support that. Does God know every single person that will be with him in heaven at the end times? Does he know exactly who and how many? If so, how can that number change? Will anyone go against what he already knew and accept him? God must be frustrated thinking: “dang! Didn’t see that coming either!! I gotta build another mansion on lot #482638. No, wait, Jack just rejected me so Frank can have his. Jesus, quick, change Jack to Frank on the mailbox!”
So now some other questions may arise. But I think we must first state that in this situation what is actually occurring.
1. God made man knowing he would fall. He had to intend it.
2. He also knew he would not save all, as it is by his Grace freely given to his people chosen before he foundation of the world.
3. However, all people deserve “hell” as they all fall short and none seeketh after God.
4. But why? How is that fair? Why should anyone go? How can they be blamed for what their creator made them to be?
Good question and while I don’t have an answer, I have heard a good “theory”. And since most unscientific people think theories aren’t true, then this one probably isn’t either. Ha-ha
Ask yourself what is more perfect.
A man, without a law, made perfect and made where he would always love and worship God. (A robot so to speak)
Or, a man, who is perfect, because there was a law and he did not transgress against it. And evidently, the only way to do that without making man incapable of breaking the law, is to send someone to carry those transgressions on himself. For Jesus does not say ” these are John’s sins, and these are Gary’s sins and I will pay for them “. Rather he says “all of these sins are my sins, and I’m paying the price for them.
So now you have a man, who is more perfect, than had he been made that way to begin with.
And if u think about it, this would be a pretty good way for God to spread his ” goodness”. To make others like him. For there to be people who are perfect against a law, it is necessary for others to be on the other side of the law (the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction). Not that he takes any pleasure in his childrens suffering, but yet it is necessary.
I’m sure there are a hundred of holes in this theory but it does seem to me, on the surface, to explain some things.
Why would god repent that he made man? Because enduring his children (everyone) having to suffer, deeply grieved him in his heart. Paul says that he endures with much long-suffering.
So anyways, before I write another book. I will end it on another note that I hope maybe someone like 500q can expand upon or research for a question….maybe about free will.
2. Some scientific studies show that our decisions are made before our consciousness is aware of it. Therefore even scientifically, free will is an illusion. I only read one article, and I have no idea how true the studies were. But maybe someone else can do more research?
So if logically (an all knowing being), scripturally (it says all things are predestined), and scientifically, (studies of reactions .3 seconds before we are aware) show that while our brain and conscious thought experiences free will, it is an illusion…..then why must modern day Christians focus so much on free will as their argument for God?
One last question…. If man has a choice in accepting or rejecting Jesus Christ. And it is solely on his own free will…then who really is saving him? If it’s up to you to make the choice, then you are saving yourself, which right there alone is completely opposite of the definition of Grace. Sounds like a pretty self gratifying doctrine. “Yay for me, I was smart enough to make the right choice! And sucks for you, non believers!”.
With much love to all of humanity and in hope of the truth,
Just another thought to add. I think the idea of thought I gave would also readily explain the God of the old testament. Why were so many slaughtered? Because it was their purpose. And God did not love doing it. But his love for his children is so great that he has to suffer through their “choice” to turn away from him and his laws. This is how it can be said that “all things work together for good for those that love God”. All ” evils ” exist for a greater “Good” which would be to effectively deliver his children to him in Heaven.
Even Christians struggle with ideas about free will and predestination, and some denominations are split over it. Honestly, I think that’s because you can find verses to support either conclusion. As a Christian, I might have said that God knows the future, but doesn’t control it, and he calls everyone, but not everyone answers (but there are certainly Bible verses that one could use to contest that).
As a skeptic, I see it as a problem of a God and religion that are evolving over time, where each new evolution creates new problems.
We start off with a God who doesn’t know anything about the future or hell. He creates man not knowing how man will respond, and eventually ends up regretting his decision.
Later, Hebrews decide their God should be so powerful that he knows the future (just as other false gods could predict the future). But this conflicts with earlier ideas, because if God knew the future, he never would’ve created something he knew he would come to regret.
Eventually, romanticized ideas about the grave (shoel) merge with Roman ideas about Hades and become hell, which gives Jesus something to “save” us from. But again, this creates new problems with the original God, who has now created man KNOWING FULL WELL he will be sending most of them to eternal damnation.
And now it’s up to apologists and theologians to debate how all of this is logical.
But even if there are no gods, the question of whether or not we have free will still exists.
Christian ideas about free will have definitely worked their way into our justice system, which tends to see people as having the free will to make good or bad decisions, but our decisions may be deterministic in nature, and we may have far less control over them than we actually think.
For example, the majority of all registered sex offenders are male. If they were born female, would they still have committed these crimes? And if not, then their bodies are to blame. Additionally, many sex offenders were sexually abused themselves. If they would not have committed their crimes had they NOT been abused, then their past experiences may be to blame.
Recent findings have also shown that the brains of some killers are physically different, causing them to lack empathy (through no fault of their own). This has been traced to a couple of different genes. Had these killers not been born with these genes, we could argue they never would’ve committed their crimes. Again, they may be the victims of their own bodies.
If it’s true that our bodies and experiences lead us to do evil, then we shouldn’t necessarily see people as “good” or “evil”, but rather victims of circumstances beyond their control, and we should pity them, as we pity those born with a genetic mutation. And perhaps we shouldn’t punish them for their “free will” crimes, but rather treat and try to correct the errors that led up to their crimes.
Ever since I read your comment, and stumbled upon Bart Ehrman, I have to say I haven’t done anything, but think about this. I did not realize, nor do probably 99.9% of Christians, that we did not have any original texts. We don’t even have the first copies. And now knowing how many errors were made in the copies and translations…..as one person on one of his his videos stated…”it’s embarrassing”.
It clearly shows how the view of God was very unclear and how it has evolved over time. Which is kind of funny because the argument I’ve heard used many times against science is that it continually evolves as new information becomes available, so therefore it cannot be trusted. This same logic obviously would apply to Christianity. So I would have to ask, why would God be so unclear? Even for the ones you “inspired”. You would think that at least all of them would have been given a non conflicting message.
Furthermore, as I have thought about what I wrote, a major questions came to me. Let’s say everything I wrote was true. That God had foreknowledge of his children and everything happens for them and the rest are vessels of destruction. Why would so many have to fall into the category of non elect? I mean shouldn’t it have at least been 50/50? I would think that would be worst case scenario! Furthermore, if the more perfect theory were to be true…wouldn’t it only take 1 soul in ” hell” to pay the price for everyone else? Now wouldn’t THAT be the ultimate sacrifice? lol. The glaring holes…..hmmm…
Anyways, I would like to say though that my original post was meant to say this: When debating both sides to these questions you ask, it’s a disservice to either side to not have a good understanding of one, the other, or both. 500q, you have done an amazing job and your writing is superb. However, some of the people who comment in defense if ID seem to do so with very little to any knowledge of what scripture actually says. Furthermore, when u take the stance of common unlearned christian views as its defense, it would stand no chance anyways. Common Christian views that I see among the population I’m exposed to are so illogical and ignorant, that to use them as the defense is just “not fair”. I’m a huge fan of your work 500q, and it’s wonderful finding like minded people out there (since there aren’t many around me physically). I look forward to all of your new questions.
One last thing. Many people ask about what it means for atheists to believe they just die? I spent the last 15 years of my life in utmost fear of death. So so scared if dying. And I have friends, my mother even, who is terrified of dying. And since becoming an unbeliever, I have finally found peace. Why be afraid of eternal sleep? I’m sure I will be really tired by then. At least that’s my goal…. 😉
Any idea when there might be updates? 😀
Why do most Christians have same attitudes compared with non-Christians?
Where are the good Christians?
Is Holy Spirit only myth?
Is it real?
Does it really change Christians’ heart?
67. Why is God so inefficient and extremely slow at His work?
68. Why could we not hear voice of God audibly anymore?
Considering the discoveries and evidence science has been delivering in the last 100 years, and the ability to publish instantly new discoveries in physics, biology, paleontology, archeology, dna sequencing and Gene science, etc… how long before religion loses ability to convince people and evaporates? 100 years? 2 or 3 more generations? Will 1900s be historically considered the starting age of enlightenment from religious darkness?
Things are alot different since 1980, even more different than 1950, and from the old timers I knew night and day from 1930.
Ironic that truth seems to always have to be discovered, tested, and proven. Simple child like faith got us centuries of religious abuse and darkness.
Maybe freedom from the tinicals of the dark ages really didn’t start until now.
All that said, what a weird world it will be without God. Just sayin.
One day we may look back at Christianity like we look back at Greek and Roman mythology.
Question #499 – Why does God like to test people?
Question #500 – What is the purpose of Jesus’ miraculous healings? Is it ONLY to prove that He is the Jewish Messiah & His divinity, nothing more? Only to show off? If He is sincere to all mankind, especially to the believers in modern times, why are the modern miraculous healings so rare?
Is this still running? I would like to see the rest of the 500…
Hey George, I’m still around, just on a bit of a hiatus. But still reading and answering questions in the comments.
500, Would you ever consider letting another person submit a question and entry? This of course would require your reading and approving. I think this might be something I would enjoy doing is why I ask.
Hmmm. I would encourage you to do it, and I’d love to read it, but I don’t know if I’m ready to include materials by others. But thanks!
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