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40 Questions to Ask Christians
Asking Difficult Questions
When atheists engage in debates with Christians, the two sides invariably exchange insults before becoming even more militant than they previously were. Neither party intends to strengthen the resolve of the other, although both sides usually manage to sooth their egos as part of the process.
Asking a difficult question can achieve better results because it taps into the Christian's desire to share the wisdom they perceive themselves to have. Any reflex for angry disagreement is quashed and replaced by an obligation to think their answer through. Ultimately, thought is what an atheist should be trying to elicit. By asking the right questions, one can determine the direction that such thought takes.
40 Questions for Christians
Regarding World Religion:
If a hundred different religions have to be wrong for yours to be right, does this show that people from all over the world like to invent gods that don’t exist?
If your parents had belonged to a different religion, do you think you would belong to that religion too?
If people from the five major religions are told conflicting information by their respective gods, should any of them be believed?
Regarding Communication with God:
How can you tell the voice of God from a voice in your head?
How can you tell the voice of God from the voice of the Devil?
Would you find it easier to kill someone if you believed God supported you in the act?
If God told you to kill an atheist, would you?
When an atheist is kind and charitable out of the kindness of his heart, is his behavior more or less commendable than a religious man who does it because God instructed him to?
If you are against the Crusades and the Inquisition, would you have been burned alive as a heretic during those events?
If your interpretation of a holy book causes you to condemn your ancestors for having a different interpretation, will your descendants condemn you in the same way?
Rape wasn't always a crime in the Middle East two thousand years ago. Is that why `do not rape’ is not part of the Ten Commandments?
Do animals need `god-given' morality to understand how to care for their young, co-operate within a pack, or feel anguish at the loss of a companion? Why do we?
If an organized religion requires a civilization in which to spread, how could this civilization exist without first having a moral code to make it civil?
Regarding the Characteristics of God:
An all-knowing God can read your mind, so why does he require you to demonstrate your faith by worshiping him?
If God is all-knowing, why do holy books describe him as surprised or angered by the actions of humans? He should have known what was going to happen, right?
An all-knowing God knows who will ultimately reject him. Why does God create people who he knows will end up in hell?
If God is all-knowing, then why did he make humans, knowing that he’d eventually have to send Jesus to his death?
Why did a supposedly omnipotent God take six days to create the universe, and why did he require rest on the seventh day?
Is omnipotence necessary to create our universe when a larger, denser universe would have required more power?
Regarding the Bible:
Why are Churches filled with riches when Jesus asked his followers to give their wealth away?
While in the desert, Jesus rejected the temptations of the Devil. He didn't censor or kill the Devil, so why are Christians so in favor of censoring or condemning many Earthly temptations?
Given that the story of Noah’s Ark was copied almost word-for-word from the much older Sumerian Epic of Atrahasis, does this mean that our true ruler is the supreme sky god, Anu?
Regarding Religious Conversion:
If your desire is to convert atheists so that they become more like you, do you think that you’re currently better than them?
If religious people don’t respect their children’s right to pick their own religion, how can society expect religious people to respect anyone’s right to freedom of religion?
If missionaries from your religion should be sent to convert people in other countries, should missionaries from other religions be sent to your country for the same reason?
If children are likely to believe in Santa Claus and fairies, does this explain why religion has been taught to children for thousands of years?
When preachers and prophets claim to be special messengers of God, they often receive special benefits from their followers. Does this ever cause you to doubt their intentions?
When you declare a miracle, does this mean you understand everything that is possible in nature?
If a woman was cured of cancer by means unknown to us, and everyone declared it a miracle, would the chance of scientifically replicating this cure be more or less likely?
If humans declared fire to be a miracle thousands of years ago, would we still be huddling together in caves while we wait for God to throw another lightning bolt into the forest?
If God gave a man cancer, and the Devil cured him to subvert God’s plan, how would you know it wasn't a divine miracle? What if he was an unkind, atheist, homosexual?
Should an instruction to convert to your religion upon the threat of eternal torture in hell be met with anything other than hostility?
Can a mass murderer go to heaven for accepting your religion, while a kind doctor goes to hell for not?
Did the mass murdering Crusaders and Inquisitors make it into the Christian heaven?
How can we know what is right when we don’t know for sure who makes it into heaven and hell?
If aliens exist on several worlds that have never heard of your god, will they all be going to hell when they die?
The Promises of Religion:
If someone promised you eternal life, the protection of a loving super being, a feeling of moral righteousness, a purpose for living, answers to all the big questions, and a rule book for achieving the pinnacle of human potential, all in exchange for having faith in something that wasn't proven, would you be suspicious?
If someone promised to give you a billion dollars after ten years but only if you worshiped them until that time, would you believe them? If someone promised you eternal life upon death, but only if you spent your life worshiping a god, would you believe them?
Why does religion appeal more to poor, weak, vulnerable, young, ill, depressed, and ostracized people? Could religious promises be more of a temptation to these people?
© 2013 Thomas Swan