Questions from an Atheist

Recently, an atheist friend of a lady in our church saw that I was doing a Question and Answer session in our church and posted a number of questions of her own. I thought I would take some time to write one or more blog posts about the questions she posed.

There are three reasons for addressing these questions like this:

  1. I care for this woman. She has been broken in spirit by the churches she has known, and her passion for her newfound atheism clearly displays her antagonism to all matters of belief. Though she may never change her mind about God, she at least needs to know she is loved by someone who does believe.
  2. Her questions are important. She is not the first person to ask these questions. In fact, I myself have asked the same questions, and if people are asking these questions, we should be able to give some kind of an answer.
  3. She promised to come to church if I address her questions. She said, “Tackle every single one of them as honestly as you intellectually can, and I will come.” I am going to attempt to do just that.


The Questions

I scanned through every one of her posts to identify the questions she was asking, and I narrowed it down to these:

  1. If God is really true, why do we have all the child indoctrinating and the weekly meetings to rub in the truth? Do we have to have a weekly “gravity is real” club or “let us be thankful for photosynthesis” club? If he were as real as all that, why the endless Bible studies and services ad infinitum? Why are you necessary, Pastor?
  2. Why do Christians care about which bathroom a transgender person uses but they don’t care about corruption, war, poverty, environmental destruction and homelessness?
  3. Why, as my faith was dangling by a thread and I wanted help so badly, did these questions get me thrown out of church?
  4. If we were created in God’s image, and if we are the body of Christ, why, when we say we haven’t got a clue what the hell God or Jesus is up to, the answer is “He’s nothing like us!”?

However, she also expressed a number of frustrations and she linked to a number of videos and articles from other atheists. I have combed through her comments, videos and articles, and I have developed a list of additional questions:

  1. How can I believe in the God of the Bible when I am more moral than he is? (namely, brutality and violence in the Old Testament, irrationality of God holding us responsible for things he did to us, incompatibility of God being both judge and savior, and the incomprehensibility of Hell, Heaven, and who goes where)
  2. How can I accept the authority of the Bible when it is filled with scientific flaws and logical contradictions?
  3. How can I believe in any religious system in the face of a perfectly consistent alternate explanations for all religious experience? (e.g. cognitive bias, Julian Jaynes’ theory of consciousness, or the “God Helmet”)
  4. How can I believe anything as complex as religion when “there is no God” is a simpler hypothesis?

I am continuing to work through some of these articles, and I may update this post as I discover more questions, but I want to put this post out there now, so you can all know what I’m working on.

Stay Tuned

I will be posting articles here addressing each question as I work through them. Keep checking back or follow me on twitter to get updates when I post something.

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