Thursday, November 30, 2006

my God questions tougher than your God question

Update: Unfortunately, due to spam, I am having to close this blog post. I am planning a panel to discuss each question once the New Year has been properly celebrated.

So what is the toughest God question you’ve ever been asked. A mate and I started discussing this today. Not the nice, easy, switch and bait Alpha questions, but the real tough ones ..

Why do kids suffer?
Why did God invent cancer?
What about Buhddists, they seem ok to me?
Why do you priests fiddle with kids?
Does God have an ego problem?
Why do Christians fight each other?
Would God forgive Hitler?
What about all the killing in the Old Testament

Update:
In the same sense that a heroin addict only has an illusion of choice over taking some heroin that is in front of him, does a child born to Fundamentalist Muslims in Saudi Arabia ever really have a choice to follow Jesus?
If we really have free will, how come it’s impossible for us to choose to not sin at all tomorrow?
If a devout Christian gets true amnesia and forgets who they are and stop being a Christian, then was he ever saved? And which begs the question of, if our soul is clearly not attached to memory, for memory is an aspect of the brain, what knowledge will we take to Heaven?
Does a Christian still go to heaven if he/she commits suicide?
If a Christian converts to another religion, are they still saved?
What happened to people before Jesus? Did they all go to hell? If not, where did they go?
Did God create life in the universe outside of earth (i.e. aliens)?
Who made God?
Why does God chose to condem some people to hell?
When Jesus died for your sins, so that your sins were removed, when you backslid away from God, did Jesus “undie” for you sins?

Comment away … just for fun, I’ll give a book prize to the question I deem the toughest.

Update: Hey folks, these are great questions. Keep them coming. A few comments have drifted into answer mode. I think the questions are too good to try and answer quickly.

What I would like to propose is
a) That we hold fire on answering the questions.
b) That I delete the comments of those of you who have provided answers, in order to keep this blogpost focused on questions. Deleting should in no way be seen as my thinking the comments are not helpful. Quite the contrary, I will be saving the coments for …
c) Doing separate blogposts for each question- inviting 2-3 panelists to provide an answer.
b) This should help ensure good discussion occurs for every question and thus each question would get the reflection it deserves.

How does that sound? Drop me a line at steve at emergentkiwi dot org dot nz if you want to be a “panelist.”

Posted by steve at 10:23 PM

33 Comments

  1. In the same sense that a heroin addict only has an illusion of choice over taking some heroin that is in front of him, does a child born to Fundamentalist Muslims in Saudi Arabia ever really have a choice to follow Jesus?

    If we really have free will, how come it’s impossible for us to choose to not sin at all tomorrow?

    Comment by andrew brown — December 1, 2006 @ 12:38 am

  2. If a devout Christian gets true amnesia and forgets who they are and stop being a Christian, then was he ever saved? And which begs the question of, if our soul is clearly not attached to memory, for memory is an aspect of the brain, what knowledge will we take to Heaven?

    Comment by andrew brown — December 1, 2006 @ 12:43 am

  3. how much wood would a wood cutter cut if a wood cutter could cut wood?
    sorry the other two questions are far too serious for a Friday…

    Comment by Michael — December 1, 2006 @ 7:48 am

  4. Does a Christian still go to heaven if he/she commits suicide?

    If a Christian converts to another religion, are they still saved?

    What happened to people before Jesus? Did they all go to hell? If not, where did they go?

    And of course, did God create life in the universe outside of earth (i.e. aliens)?

    There’s a couple for you.

    Comment by Scott — December 1, 2006 @ 8:40 am

  5. “If we really have free will, how come it’s impossible for us to choose to not sin at all tomorrow?”

    That’s like the best question, ever!

    Comment by A.J.Chesswas — December 1, 2006 @ 9:20 am

  6. Who made God? I got asked this by a 5 year old, in a loud voice, standing in a crowded queue at McDonalds one day. He turned to me and said, my mother said this is the hardest question, “who made God?”

    The whole crowd turned and looked at me, and waited …

    Comment by steve — December 1, 2006 @ 11:22 am

  7. I think this is great “If we really have free will, how come it’s impossible for us to choose to not sin at all tomorrow?”

    Then the next logical question is, if I don’t have free will, then why did God choise me, instead of someone else? Or to word it another way, why does God choise to condem some people to hell?

    Comment by Davod — December 1, 2006 @ 1:01 pm

  8. Hey folks. these are great questions. keep em coming. the last few comments have moved into answer mode and i think that answers are a step further down the track.

    i think the questions are too good to try and answer quickly. what i would like to do is
    a) write to those who have provided answers thanking them, but asking them to hold fire, to “sleep on their answer”
    b) delete the comments of those of you who have provided answers, in order to keep this blogpost focused on questions
    c) over a number of weeks/months do a separate blogpost for each question- inviting 2-3 panelists to provide an answer; and then let the discussion continue in comments.

    my hope would be that thus each question would get the reflection it deserves. How does that sound?

    Comment by steve — December 1, 2006 @ 2:05 pm

  9. I find the:
    Why don’t we see miracles so prevalently today?/Why do I not get healed when I pray?/How important is faith in praying for healing etc questions difficult in certain contexts.

    Good people, who endure enormous pain and cry out to God with no apparent answer. Scares the poop out of me to be honest because I know I’m not ready to endure what they have.

    One of Bertrand Russell’s questions still gnaws at me too – if God is real how come it doesn’t seem to make that much of a difference to many of the people who claim to believe in Him? Perhaps because I feel that way about me sometimes…

    Comment by Randall — December 1, 2006 @ 2:16 pm

  10. Sorry one more – it’s long winded but here we go

    If you were pregnant with a child whom you knew would become a (insert vicious heinous crime spree here) doesn’t that make you guilty by association with that crime?

    So isn’t Omniscient God an accessory to our sin?

    Comment by Randall — December 1, 2006 @ 2:19 pm

  11. I agree steve, despite my overwhelming desire to try to answer all of these! Feel free to delete my answers..

    How many times did the rooster crow, 2 or 3 times?

    Comment by Andrew — December 1, 2006 @ 2:37 pm

  12. Our young son asked, “Did animals die in the flood because they sinned?”

    Comment by Norm — December 2, 2006 @ 11:03 am

  13. Another one that bugs me:

    If God knows everything and the future, why did he create all thouse people just to wipe them out in the flood cause they were evil?

    Shorely he know that this was going to happen, so could have taken small steps at an ealier stage to alter history to change this outcome.

    Comment by david — December 2, 2006 @ 8:10 pm

  14. The question further down the blog is a beauty:

    2: Why cats? Why did God create cats?

    This can be extended to Why did God create —– animal or —— plant. It facinates me to grow a plant, or see a flower in the feild and think, now why did God create that particular species. I am convinces that we are missing so much becuase we have never taken the time to answer this.

    Comment by david — December 2, 2006 @ 8:19 pm

  15. One of the questions I get asked by people who have grown up around churches is (in various forms):

    “Do we have to believe that Genesis 1-22 (Creation, flood etc) is historically accurate”

    One of the questions I get asked most by people without a church background is (in various forms):

    “Why did God allow me/her/it to suffer/die/get ill”.

    Comment by Graham Doel — December 2, 2006 @ 8:38 pm

  16. why does christianity have to keep re-interpreting itself to remain coherent and rational?

    Comment by Keith — December 2, 2006 @ 9:08 pm

  17. Why did God create?

    Comment by Frank — December 2, 2006 @ 11:17 pm

  18. We run Q & A sessions on Christianity with 14-16 year olds in local schools so we face many of these questions fairly regularly. Here’s a couple of recent ones that don’t seem to have been covered yet..

    When Adam sinned, why didn’t God forgive him straight away? Why wait thousands of years before sending Jesus?

    If God made certain things sinful, isn’t he a bit twisted to also make us so that we want them?

    Comment by Tim Abbott — December 3, 2006 @ 3:33 am

  19. We run Q & A sessions on Christianity with 14-16 year olds in local schools so we face many of these questions fairly regularly. Here’s a couple of recent ones that don’t seem to have been covered yet..

    When Adam sinned, why didn’t God forgive him straight away? Why wait thousands of years before sending Jesus?

    If God made certain things sinful, isn’t he a bit twisted to also make us so that we want them?

    Comment by Tim Abbott — December 3, 2006 @ 3:33 am

  20. I have not read all the comments so forgive me if these have already been asked.
    Are there any sins so bad they can’t be forgiven?, the Bible talks of the unforgiveable sin what is your understanding of that? These have always worried me.

    Do pets really go to heaven?

    Comment by Paula Weir — December 3, 2006 @ 9:58 am

  21. appreciate all these questions. when i get back from australia later in the week i’ll have a think about how we set up a decent conversation around each question. we could be here for a while :)

    Comment by steve — December 3, 2006 @ 6:34 pm

  22. If Christianity is supposed to have the truth – why, of all the world’s religions, is it the most divided on what to believe?
    If Christianity is supposed to bring fullness of life (including, at least in some sense, on this side of the grave) why is being part of a Christian community, often and for so many, more depleting than not being part of such a community? Why do we often find more love, acceptance, tolerance, understanding, compassion, etc. outside the Christian community than in it?
    Why do Christians so often major on what is seriously minor?

    Comment by Bosco Peters — December 3, 2006 @ 8:51 pm

  23. As a christian who God has transformed howcome like I feel like I’m getting worse not better

    Comment by Finder — December 3, 2006 @ 10:11 pm

  24. I know you should forgive the wrong others do to you, but what if that person continues to sin especially if the sin is serious and is harming children and other innocent people, if I just keep forgiving and stop confronting that person am I not allowing them to get away with their sin and by condoning it am I not equally guilty of the sin?.
    Should I excuse someones sinning because they are fragile and allow them to get away with it when others are just as fragile and are suffering, but are more responsible and honest?
    What if I am in a position of power or of responsibility and I keep allowing someone to sin and in some cases keep encouraging them knowing the evidence flies in the face of reality does that make me more guilty of serious sin?

    Comment by Paula Weir — December 4, 2006 @ 8:49 am

  25. from a 5-year-old, raised in an atheist family: “What is Church?”; “Who is God?”. How do you describe the Almighty for a kid’s brain?

    Comment by robert p — December 4, 2006 @ 5:24 pm

  26. Further to Finder’s question:

    How come it’s taken the best part of 2 decades for me to feel like I know You?

    Why couldn’t my “conversion” have been more glorious?
    Why did I have to wrestle so many demons?
    Why did you let me feel so alone?

    How did the apostles love you so much that they turned the world upside down in their lives (and deaths)? How can I know this love?

    Comment by robert p — December 4, 2006 @ 5:31 pm

  27. How does God guide us – how much is left for wise choice

    Comment by Jo Wall — December 5, 2006 @ 10:00 pm

  28. How about this one:

    How can finite beings be judged infinitely for committing finite acts against an infinite being?

    -jeremy

    Comment by Jeremy Bouma — December 6, 2006 @ 5:50 pm

  29. Why did God have to kill Himself (in Jesus) to save us from Himself?

    Comment by Digger — December 6, 2006 @ 6:41 pm

  30. Why does God seem to pick on the same people so often?

    I’m doing a chaplaincy internship at a hospital in the U.S., and I just had to run multiple viewings for a grandmother who lost two grandchildren in a month. She was their primary caregiver. Now, she blames herself for their deaths, because she refused to die when she was a teenager.

    This example raises another question for me: Do we do a disservice to those who are affected by asking more abstract questions like “why do good people suffer?” rather than “why does Ms. S. (fictional initial) have to suffer like that?” (or alternatively: Why does God allow evil? vs. Why did God allow Hitler?)

    Comment by Darren McDonald — December 10, 2006 @ 5:51 pm

  31. How much credit should we give satan for the crap in our lives?

    Comment by lia — December 10, 2006 @ 6:46 pm

  32. What happens to those who are put off Christianity by Christians (perhaps saying or doing unhelpful things)?

    Who will actually go to heaven and hell? And what is the criteria for not being ‘allowed’ into heaven?

    Comment by karen — December 14, 2006 @ 1:17 am

  33. If God transcends – is outside-of – space and time; and union with God beyond death is outside space and time; and the universe – space and time – comes to an end; does God keep one bit of time going for ever just to have a hell? [Thomas Aquinas please help]

    Comment by Bosco Peters — December 14, 2006 @ 7:56 pm

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