What If Attacks on Christianity don’t really stand up to close inspection?

Posted: April 6, 2011 by Nathan in What If...
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This blog is longer than my usual blogs so please bear with me. It comes in response to a PowerPoint that some of you may have seen called Why Won’t God Heal Amputees? In it a very patronising case is put forward using 10 questions that they want intelligent Christians to answer. The assumption being that if an intelligent Christian used their brains in answering these questions the only conclusion that they could come to is that there is no God. Otherwise we were just deluded and fabricating huge excuses for God. So, as a not too intelligent Christian I thought I’d have a go at answering the questions and leave it up to you to decide if I’m just fabricating huge excuses on behalf of this imaginary God of mine or whether with an open mind there is real truth if you scratch below the surface.

 

Why won’t God heal amputees?

 

I hated this question as soon as I read it. Not because it challenged my faith or anything of the sort but because it implied that amputees are somehow lacking because they have an arm or a legging removed. Am I less of a person because I can’t run fast or draw or do ballet? I comes, not from a position of caring for amputees but from a position of wanting to use them to try and prove a point. Anyway that said…

 

A useful phrase that I believe contains a lot of truth when thinking about questions like this is… “God allows in His wisdom that which he could prevent by His power.” or in this case “God does not do because of His wisdom that which He could do through His power.” It is very easy to try and reduce God or a concept of God to human thinking. If God exist it stands to reason that we will not understand His ways. God says in the Bible that

 

my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts
.”

 

I believe the question shows a misunderstanding of who God is and what he does. It takes the line that if God exist He will act in the very way that we want him to or would expect him to. You may as well ask the question “Why won’t God make the sun shine for 67 hours at a time and not the 12 or so that it does now?” God chose to create the world in this way and for very good reasons. It really isn’t our place to question it. God chooses not to heal amputees as He chooses not to intervene in many other areas of life. God chooses not to prevent all earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, murders, diseases, accidents and disasters. Just because he chooses to not intervene does not to any extent prove that he does not exist. As a father I choose not to intervene in the lives of my children all the time. I choose which battle to get involved with. I choose when to help them to their feet and when to allow them to get up themselves. All this does not mean I do not exist. It doesn’t show either that I am uncaring. It just shows that in my wisdom (even if it is flawed) I chose not to be constantly intervening.

 

Another other aspect to this question is that God is not so concerned with our physical being than our spiritual welfare. Can an amputee still lead a full and fulfilled life? Of course they can. Can they still love, learn, smile, laugh, give, receive, work, play, read, write, paint, talk, be friends, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers etc. etc. etc.? Of course they can!! Can and do amputees believe in God? Again the answer is yes and that is what God is most concerned with.

 

I finish this question with a thought… just because I don’t know of any cases where God has healed an amputee doesn’t mean that God hasn’t done it!

 

 

Why are there so many starving people in the world?

 

This is always a dangerous question to ask of God. Why? Because He can ask exactly the same question of us. There are so many starving people in the world because so many people in the world are greedy, selfish, uncaring, self-absorbed and have no conscience. We know very well that there is more than enough food to go round. God did not create us as robots – He gave us freewill and we have chosen not to respond to a mass of starving people. So, why are there so many starving people in the world, not because God doesn’t exist, but because we have chosen, as the rich and fully-fed of this world, not to share the resources God has given us.

 

 

Why does God demand the death of so many innocent people in the Bible?

 

Verses cited…

Exodus 35:2 – those who work on the Sabbath

Deuteronomy 21 – disobedient teenagers

Leviticus 20:13 – homosexuals

Deuteronomy 22 – promiscuous women who marry

 

Here we have a loaded question that condemns God without inquiry. The questioner goes on to ask why God demands the death of these innocents for such trivial matters. Here you have to ask who are innocent? Who deems them to be so? Who says which matters are trivial and which are not? As this question is asked by an atheist you have to ask where do they get their moral code from to judge some as innocent and some as not?

 

So let’s have a look at these, so called, “trivial” matters that Gods demands the death of some for. At it’s simplest God’s desire for humankind consisted of them living in family units. This is what humans were designed for. We weren’t made to live alone, we were made to reproduce and live in families. Men and women were to marry, have children and bring them up to lead Godly lives. This would then repeat and the cycle would continue. This was God’s blueprint for life. God knew that humans would be at their best living this way. Three out of the four cases above challenge that way of living. It is, perhaps, hard to see in a society where disobedience, homosexuality and promiscuity are so common why God would be so against it. However, let’s face it we live in societies where God has been pushed out of the picture. His desires for us are no longer adhered to. I wonder though if they were how different society would be. We, even Christians, see the demanding of the death of someone very harsh. However, does it not show the value God places on things. The value he puts on the family unit. On keeping ourselves separate for Him for at least one day a week. God does not make laws for His own enjoyment but for our benefit as individuals and as a society.

 

 

 

Why does the Bible contain so much anti-scientific nonsense?

 

Let me start by stating that the Bible, however you look at it, is not a science book. If you are looking for a scientific analysis of how God created, resurrected, caused things to happen then you will not find it in the Bible, nor are you meant to. Therefore, if you treat it as such you will always draw a blank – the Bible must be treated as the Word of God – to treat it in any other way will give you false results. If you treat a novel as a history book or a science book as a dictionary they will make no sense and so it is with the Bible.

 

If you look at these passages with the firm view that God does not exist then they will make no sense. However if you take an open view that God may exist and that if he is as the Bible describes Him then nothing is impossible with Him and much more sense can be made of them. Just as it would be ridiculous of me to read a book about mathematics and argue that none of it made sense because mathematicians can’t even prove that one equals one.

 

Case cited…

God did not create the world in 6 days – 6000 years ago like the Bible says

Firstly the question would have to be asked – “Show me where the Bible states that the world was created 6000 years ago?” Some Christians believe that the world is only thousands of years old while some scientists believe that the world is millions of years old. These two views may seem totally opposing. How can you fit the two together? Either one is true and the other wrong or vica-verca. However I believe that both could be right, let me try and explain why. As a Christian I believe that God created the world. I also believe that God created man-kind. God created Adam. He created him as an adult, not as a baby or an embryo. God created Adam with an age. It therefore stands to reason that God could have create the world with an age. So the world may have only been created thousands of years ago but has an age far far greater than that. I guess in simplified terms a table made out of wood, when made, would be brand new but in fact the wood could be hundreds of years old. The table in effect has two very different ages.

 

Case cited…

There was never a world-wide flood that covered Mount Everest like the Bible says

 

A quick look around the web shows that in fact there is a lot of evidence to suggest that there was a world-wide flood. In the late 60s and early 70s “Two American oceanographic vessels pulled from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico several long, slender cores of sediment. Included in them were the shells of tiny one-celled planktonic organisms called foraminifera. While living on the surface, these organisms lock into their shells a chemical record of the temperature and salinity of the water. When they reproduce, the shells are discarded and drop to the bottom. A cross-section of that bottom … carries a record of climates that may go back more than 100 million years. Every inch of core may represent as much as 1000 years of the earth’s past. The cores were analyzed in two separate investigations, by Cesare Emiliani of the University of Miami, and James Kennett of the University of Rhode Island and Nicholas Shackleton of Cambridge University. Both analyses indicated a dramatic change in salinity, providing compelling evidence of a vast flood of fresh water into the Gulf of Mexico. Using radiocarbon, geochemist Jerry Stripp of the University of Miami dated the flood at about 11,600 years ago. To Emiliani, all the questions and arguments are minor beside the single fact that a vast amount of fresh melt water poured into the Gulf of Mexico. ‘We know this,’ he says, ‘because the oxygen isotope ratios of the foraminifera shells show a marked temporary decrease in the salinity of the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It clearly shows that there was a major period of flooding from 12,000 to 10,000 years ago…There was no question that there was a flood and there is no question that it was a universal flood.” Taken from http://www.earthage.org where much more scientific evidence is put forward.

 

 

Case cited…

 

God did not create Adam from a handful of dust like the Bible says

 

Another bizarre question for two main reasons. Firstly again it is using a misquotation. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that God created man from a handful of dust. You would have thought if they were really wanting to attack the bible of scientific fact they would get their facts right!! Secondly I find it bizarre that they seem accepting that God created the world out of nothing, that God created Eve from the rib of Adam but creating Adam from dust they have a problem with?

When applying science to the Bible you will find far more evidence that things written about in the Bible concur with modern scientific explanations than discrepancies. After all, and here I’m guessing, if you examined an ancient science book it would be full of scientific nonsense and likewise today’s science FACT will be seen as nonsense in years to come. Here are a few Biblical things which have centuries later been proven to be scientifically correct.

 

The Earth floats in space

The Earth is round

Pathways or currents in the oceans

Radio-waves

Entropy

The cycle of water

The first law of Thermodynamics

Ideal ship dimensions

Meteorological laws

Air mass

Rotation of the Earth

Springs in the oceans

Properties of light

Hygiene laws

Correlation of mind and body

Immune system

Bacteria

Quarantine

Ray Comfort – Scientific facts in the Bible

 

Why is God such a huge proponent of slavery in the Bible?

 

Verses cited…

 

Exodus 21: 20 -21

Colossians 3: 22-24

Ephesians 6: 5

1 Peter 2: 18

 

Slavery as talked about in the Bible is a very different thing than that that we see slavery as today. The Bible verse that they don’t tell you about is…Exodus 21: 16

 

“He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death.

 

Selling someone into slavery was seen as a despicable thing punishable by death. Now that doesn’t sound like God is a great proponent of slavery. No where in the Bible does it say that God supports slavery. However, God does support slaves and that is a very different thing. In Old testament times there was no welfare. If you could not support yourself or your family there was no fall back or safety net to provide for you. Many people sold themselves into slavery in order to have food and shelter in return for doing work. The Bible supports these people and urges that they are treated well.

 

 

Why do bad things happen to good people?

 

I suppose my answer here has to begin with “Find me a good person and I’ll show you that bad things don’t happen to them!!” Who is to say who is good and who is bad? The question also implies that bad things don;t happen to bad people which is of course nonsense. The truth is things happen!! The rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous. Would you really want to believe in a God who only protected and blessed those who believe in him. We all sin and are therefore not good and as a result of that sin bad things happen to everyone.

 

 

Why didn’t any of Jesus’ miracles in the Bible leave behind any evidence?

 

This is again a bit of a bizarre question which doesn’t seem particularly well thought out. One of the purposes of Jesus’ miracles was not to leave evidence. However, the miracles were recorded in the New testament books which weren’t challenged by others around at the time – is this not evidence? If Jesus heals a crippled man what more evidence do you require than a once crippled man walking around? If the question means that there is no evidence remaining today I would ask what possible miracle could he have performed that would have resulted in such evidence? And furthermore what would the point of this be?

 

 

How do we explain the fact that Jesus has never appeared to you?

 

This is one of the strangest of the questions. Unless I’m misunderstanding it. Surely you could just as easily say – well Barrack Obama has never appeared to me therefore he doesn’t exist? NO, it’s just not on his agenda to meet with me. In fact Jesus makes it quite clear that he has gone to prepare a place for us and then and only then will he return once and for all. Having spoken to friends and they agree, I’m not sure I would want to meet Jesus face to face – I do not feel worthy.

 

 

Why would Jesus want you to eat his body and drink his blood?

 

Again this questions seems to be poorly thought out and comes form a poor or inadequate understanding of the text. Jesus does not want us to literally drink his blood and eat his flesh. He is drawing on Old Testament metaphor from the life of David to say that people must benefit from the death he has suffered. Jesus’ death has brought life to people who believe but people must believe in order to benefit. Whoever aligns themselves with Christ will benefit – those who do not will not.

 

 

Why do Christians get divorced at the same rate as non Christians?

 

This is a difficult question to answer without a lot more information about the statistics. The simple answer is that Christians get divorced as a reasonably high rate because they are human, because society no longer frowns at divorce and because the bible actually doesn’t condemn it either. As regards to the statistics you would need to ask how they define Christian, do Christians stay together longer even though it ends in divorce, are these statistics just from America or from other countries as well. One reason for the equality is probably down to the fact that non-Christians tend to live together first – marriage only then takes place once they know how they get on in a full-time environment. It stands to reason that these marriages are more likely to last.

 

Having done just a little digging into marriage statistics in the US I have found that the average divorce rate amongst non-believers is 50%. For Born-again Christians it falls to 42% and when you take a better definition of Christian (their definition of Born-again Christian is having ever made a commitment to Christ and believe they will go to heaven) as those who actually regularly attend a church then the figure falls further to 38%. So perhaps a little more work is needed on the background for this question.

 

 

In Conclusion

 

It is easy to read or read an attack on the Christian faith and find it fairly convincing. However, the Christian faith is far more defensible than many would have you believe. I’m no scholar, theologian or intellectual but I hope that even I have shown that there are credible answers to many of these attacks. These answers may not have totally convinced you and if not I urge you to question them, ask me, ask others for there are those out there with a far better grip on the bible and the wonders of Christianity than I am. I am convince having heard both sides of the argument that Christianity is true. I urge you to seek and question and explore it for yourself. I leave you with ten questions that I would like to ask an Atheist.

 

 

Ten questions intelligent Atheists should ask themselves?

 

  • With all our scientific knowledge and exploration why is the theory of Evolution still no more than a theory hundreds of years after it was first proposed?

 

  • If you were walking along a beach and found a machine with flashing lights and moving parts that was self powered and capable or reproducing itself would you come to the conclusion that it was created or just came into existence through some sort of reaction or evolution

 

  • If we evolved how do you explain the human eye?

 

  • Where is evidence of the missing link?

 

  • What is the point of life? If there is no point what is the point of continuing when things are tough? If there is a point where do you get that point from?

 

  • Name one thing contained in the Bible, when read as a holy book and not a science book, that has been proved beyond reasonable doubt to be wrong?

 

  • If the universe started with a big bang, what exploded and where did it come from.

 

  • British theoretical physicist named Paul Davies has calculated the odds of the initial conditions of the origins of the universe being suitable for star formation, which the existence of life depends on, as being One; followed by a thousand, billion, billion Zero’s to One, at least. There would also need to be around fifty of these constants all in place at the same time, in order to permit life. Do they sound like good odds to you?

 

  • If we all came from primeval slime or whatever you want to call it, how did we reproduce before male and female came around?

 

  • How do you discount or explain away all the things found in the Bible which were then proven centuries later such as the roundness of the earth, the earth revolving, the correct day for circumcision, ocean currents, hygiene laws etc. etc.?

Would love to hear your comments?

 

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Comments
  1. M. Smith says:

    Great post. I actually feel sorry for atheists. If there is no God…no spiritual being…no grander scheme than the junk we see on earth then what is the purpose of living? If the things we see and hear are all there is too it, then stop the earth and let me off now!

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