armed with a degree in theology, over the years i have come up with specific questions to ask of christians.
indeed i even attend "alpha courses" (introductory courses to becoming a christian) and put these questions to the hosts (usually under the guise of "well i'm thinking of becoming a christian but i have some questions...)
confrontation and causing offense gets you nowhere. also being impolite just reinforces their smug assertion that atheists are angry.
the question i have had most success with at putting people on the spot goes like this...
"a priest rapes a choirboy. the choirboy becomes depressed and traumatized, rejects jesus and the church (understandably), turns to drugs, dies young and spends an eternity in hell, unsaved and condemned by god.
the priest repents on his deathbed, embraces christ, is forgiven and spends forever in heaven.
by what measure can we consider this to be justice?"
i'm hoping that this question might one day become a meme, so that anyone who brings up the subject of christianity is immediately reminded of this question and has an answer demanded of them.
i have many other questions like this that cannot be simply swatted away with theology, mystery or dogma.
i'd be happy to share them with anyone who is interested.
thanks for reading, let me know if it has an impact on anyone you ask.
The test answer is garbage... I hear it a lot, that we are being tested. If God is omniscient, he knows how you'll fare in the test so why administer it? It's like giving someone a written test and telling them they have a B already. Why should they even waste time taking it?
"I cannot make bricks without straw"-- Holmes
Holmes can't do it -- that is, make a theory without sufficient facts. If atheists are going to indulge in making claims about the history of xian theology; then there are facts about the history even when there are no facts in the subject matter. Excellent raw material has been piling up for more than a hundred years generated by xian historians.
In the end, xian historians managed to destroy whatever semblance of "historicity" was still clinging to the Jesus of fable and to the Christ of hellenistic supernatural tales.
For hundreds of years, fideism stood proudly and obstinately alone. Early xians hated philosophy and philosophers. Believe, and do not dispute, is the way of salvation. Only in 220 CE did xian theolgian Origen put himself under a teacher of neoplatonic philosophy in an attempt to beat the philosophers at their own game.
Yet never has "reason" been claimed sufficient to understand the supposed mysteries captured by written creeds promulgated first by the council of Nicaea in 325 CE. Despite their disdain for Rome, neither Luther nor protestant fundie dared reject the core statements of faith cobbled together by "inspired" proto-catholic bishops gathered at a place now in Turkey.
As useful straw, consider two volumes one ancient, one modern:
Celsus. The true doctrine - against the xians. (trans/intro RJ Hoffman) Oxford
Translation of the greek original preserved by Origen, written perhaps at the request of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius about 175 CE. Presents many arguments against fideistic beliefs and ritual practices. A “pagan” intellectual’s condemnation of an illegitimate religion. One he considers “atheistic” and unpatriotic. Quite amusing in some places. And, from our xian-ridden cultural perspective highly ironic.
Wilken, R. The christians as the romans saw them. Yale.
Looks at Roman intellectual and governmental reaction to the rise and spread of an upstart “atheism". No error — the Romans thought that xians were atheists. Period from roughly 100-400 CE. Provocative concluding chapter on xianity as a "jewish heresy".
The only problem with this question is that they will say "If the young boy/man kept his belief in God he also would have been saved and had God and Christ in his life to be the saving powers"
It's always round about and indirect answers with Christians. Never straight forward and from the heart. Their blind faith leads them down a narrow path in life.
Easy. The boy chose to reject Christ - He rejected Christ for the wrong reason because Christ doesn't specifically encourage child rape by Priests.
The Priest in the end was forgiven for his sins.
Such a beautiful outcome. The boy is deserving of Hell, don't you see? The Priest is deserving of Heaven.
Ahhhh, I feel so gross even trying to use Christian Apologetics like this..
Yes, because it DOES NOT MATTER if the boy was raped because we are BORN in sin, and there is no cure for except Jesus Christus. It is always Justified to send a person to Hell because Hitler is no different than this boy - at least that's what the Pastor at the church I play piano for would say.
"Sin is Sin is Sin. The only matter is to what degree of Sin you participate in. Hitler sinned just as every one of you sinned. So there is no difference in Gods eyes because the distance between the perfection of God compared to even the holiest of any of you is so great that we are all practically equal in the amount of Sin we commit" ... on and on and on ... oh great sermon is over , time to play a hymn!
I love religious music. (not silly, syruppy christian rock,though) It is so often filled with passion, and what is music, but melody, rhythm, and passion? Bach organ masses? Amazing Grace?
Very interesting debate...what are some more questions?
If god made the universe, all the stars, the moon, the sun, the earth and all its animals, fish, birds, why would he then bother with
Don't cut your hair nor shave - Leviticus 19.27
or should one have tassels on four cornered cloth - Jewish rule,
Do not sow your field with two kinds of seed; nor put on a garment made of two different materials - Leviticus 19:19
People who have flat noses, or is blind or lame, cannot go to an altar of God - Leviticus 21:17-18
If you find out a city worships a different god, destroy the city and kill all of it's inhabitants... even the animals - Deuteronomy 13:12-15
Kill anyone with a different religion -Deuteronomy 17:2-7
So with the last one, if anyone comes to the door, or accosts you in the street, they should be killing you, or they risk defying god's rules.
He must be bored and has run of other stuff to do
I love this stuff too, however when the opposition is armed with the phrase "God works in mysterious ways" it becomes pointless. The unfortunate reality is exactly what the Mark Twain quote alludes to. Our only hope is the children of the world and focusing on science education.
I can't wait to ask my mother this.