Tuesday, 7 August 2012

21 Questions for Christians

Christianity is 'a broad church' you know.

In fact, I venture to suggest that it is so broad that you probably don't know two Christians who would answer these twenty questions in exactly the same way as each other.
  1. Can you (are you allowed to) contact God directly or do you need a priest to intercede for you?
  2. What is the correct method of baptism, and at what age is it appropriate to baptise?
  3. Is the future of the world predestined, or do you really have free will?  If so, how do you square this with your god's alleged omniscience?
  4. When people 'speak in tongues', is it the holy spirit that is talking, or do you suspect that they are possessed by a demon?
  5. What are your views regarding purgatory, an afterlife and personal resurrection?
  6. Is it enough to accept Jesus into your heart, or do good works count for anything?
  7. Is the bible literally true and infallible?  It is so ambiguous that it is hard to argue this, but many of you do attempt to.
  8. In your church, in what roles would it be acceptable for women to participate on an equal footing with men?
  9. At the Eucharist, does the bread and wine represent the body and blood, or does it literally become the body and blood?
  10. To what extent should Mary, the mother of Jesus, be venerated?
  11. Is it acceptable to worship other spirits (as many 'members' of African churches do)?
  12. What does your church teach about homosexuality?
  13. When will Jesus return for the second coming, and how do you explain your answer considering the original idea that he would return within the lifetime of some of the people living at the time?
  14. Should priests live a life of chastity?
  15. Does hell exist, so that merciful god can torture us for ever?
  16. What are your expectations about the end of the world (and do you take the endless stream of such prophecies seriously or casually dismiss them)?
  17. Will people of other faiths have any hope of salvation (even if they have never heard of Jesus)?
  18. How old is the world?
  19. If God created the universe just for us, why did he waste so much effort on the other stars and galaxies which we can never hope to reach?
  20. At what moment is the soul created?  (If at conception, please explain what happens to mono-zygotic twins.)
I haven't even mentioned the classic questions about suffering, the virgin birth and the resurrection of Jesus etc.  Nor did I mention much in the way of theology.  These are mainly about doctrine - the stuff that isn't specified in that bible that apparently contains all the answers.

It must be very confusing for anyone who is tempted to convert, when doctrine is so diverse.  If, as I strongly suspect, any two Christians are not able to agree with each other on these points, how can a convert possibly know which Christian cult to join? 

And now the 21st question emerges from my observation that Christians who find it hard to answer the difficult doctrinal questions often brush them off as being unimportant.  Meanwhile they often indulge in irrationally cuddly ecumenism and even reason that any religion is (in general terms) better than no religion.  To them, I would ask question 21:

If these things are not important to you, what does it actually mean to call yourself a practising Christian?

Update: See the related post, 21 Questions for Muslims on 18th August 2012


John Chapman said...

I'd like to ask question 22 - Which god does your god worship? If it's good enough for him/her shouldn't it be good enough for us?

Derrik Pates said...

A better question related to #20 - what happens to chimeric embryos? Does one soul disappear? Do the two souls become commingled somehow? Or what? I'd be very interested to know what religious people think about that one.

RosaRubicondior said...

Ancillary question to No.3. If God and the prophets were able to prophesy the future then the future must be fixed and unchangeable. How then can God influence anything and how can we have freewill when even God doesn't?

slrman said...

If you are opposed to abortions, how do you account for the fact that from 15 to 50% of all pregnancies are naturally aborted? That would make god the biggest abortionist of all.

Daniel Reyes said...

You are not ready for the truth! But keep on asking yourself, that means you are somehow intriged! God likes SMART people... Hahaha eventually God will touch your heart, when that happen, please let me know. Bye! Hahaha

Derby Sceptic said...

Daniel: You are suggesting, without evidence, that God is the truth and suggesting that smart people will find God.
Presumably you mean your God, not Ra, Thor or one of the thousands of others.
Why should this be truth when scientific evidence suggests otherwise?
I am sure that Plasma Engineer has been very thorough in thinking through their views and, given the nature of their employment, would certainly class as intelligent.

Plasma Engineer said...

Daniel's comment is just typical of the sort of things that Christians claim without any evidence. In fact I think I will add it to my series of Things Christians Say.