Sunday, March 8, 2009

10 Questions to Ask Your Pastor

Ebonmuse over at Daylight Atheism commented on a tract given to students listing ten questions to ask your biology teacher about evolution. In response, he posted a list of 10 questions he'd like to see Sunday School students ask their pastors:

1. Why is your god called loving or merciful when, in the Old Testament's stories of the Israelite conquest, it specifically orders its chosen people to massacre their enemies, showing no mercy to men, women, even children and animals?

2. Does it make sense to claim, as the Bible does, that wrongdoing can be forgiven by magically transferring the blame from a guilty person to an innocent one, then punishing the innocent person?

3. Why does the Bible routinely depict its god as manifesting itself in dramatic, unmistakable ways and performing obvious miracles even before the eyes of nonbelievers, when no such thing happens in the world today?

4. Why do vast numbers of Christians still believe in the imminent end of the world when the New Testament states clearly that the apocalypse was supposed to happen 2,000 years ago, during the lifetime of Jesus' contemporaries?

5. Why do Christians believe in the soul when neurology has found clear evidence that the sense of identity and personality can be altered by physical changes to the brain?

6. If it was always the god's plan to provide salvation through Jesus, why didn't it send Jesus from the very beginning, instead of confusing and misleading generations of people by setting up a religion called Judaism which it knew in advance would prove to be inadequate?

7. Since the Bible states that its god does not desire that anyone perish, but also states that the majority of humankind is going to hell, doesn't this show that the god's plan of salvation is a failure even by its own standard? If this outcome is a success, what would count as a failure?

8. Why didn't the god create human beings such that they freely desire to do good, thus removing the need to create a hell at all? (If you believe this is impossible, isn't this the state that will exist in heaven?)

9. Is it fair or rational for the god to hide itself so that it can only be known by faith, then insist that every single human being find it by picking the right one out of thousands of conflicting and incompatible religions?

10. If you had the power to help all people who are suffering or in need, at no cost or effort to yourself, would you do it? If so, why hasn't the god done this already?

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