I am currently employed at an assisted living center. One of our residents, who is 100 has recently been asking me a lot of questions regarding the bible and God in general.
Let me first point out that none of the residents know that I am an atheist (they don't need to know). We usually have quite a few religious activities within a week (bible studies, sermons from local preachers, etc). I never denounce any of their messages or deride their faith (I could, but what good could be gained from arguing with elderly people?)
When certain topics are raised or asked, I usually give a scientific answer (if it involves science) and try my best to separate God from all other controversial questions by saying humans have free will (that is a different debate, altogether) hence, that is why there is evil in the world. Sometimes, I will say times have changed since they were younger and each generation will have a different set of values than the previous one.
Now, this resident knows the bible like the back of her hand. She knows the stories and the "accepted" interpretations of it. Lately, she has been asking a lot of questions and making some interesting statements. Statements and questions that include, "He allowed people to kill all sorts of men, women, and children. Just to make a point.", "How did Cain get a wife if there were only 4 people on the Earth?" "Why did God harden Pharoah's heart?", the list goes on.
I am asking for a little help on this. She still believes in God and I do not want to change that. She is a very nice lady who is very compassionate and loving to all she meets. Never once have I heard a judging remark or a word of anger. She usually asks these questions openly in a public setting, so I try to separate God of the Bible from the God she wants him to be. In other words, I say that the Bible was written by man, has been translated multiple times, revised, and books removed, so that the God in the Bible may not actually be the God she believes in. I say the message is important -- Be kind to one another and live in peace. This seems to suffice for most of the time, but lately she has become more incessant with the questions.
Now, I know not to decide what is best for a person and it seems she really wants to know, but I can not talk to her privately about it at the moment.
I am calling on you all to offer some advice to point me in the right direction. Any thoughts?