Skip to comments.Ten Objections to Christianity and How to Respond
Posted on 01/02/2005 9:06:26 PM PST by freedom44
Recently someone approached me with the following problem: "Nobody can talk me out of being a Christian, but I can't talk anyone else into it. Can you help me?"
Perhaps she thought she was the only one struggling with this, but I've been asked this question hundreds of times. You see, I was once an atheist who set out to prove Christianity was untrue. But during my investigation, I discovered overwhelming evidence that demonstrates the validity of Christianity. And because of a dedicated Christian who was prepared to answer my questions, my heart was reached.
Are you prepared to answer the spiritual seekers in your world? Are you wondering if Christianity's really true? Here's a look at ten objections skeptics pose toward Christianityand how to respond.
1. Christians are hypocrites.
A hypocrite is an actor, a person who pretends to be something she isn't. Jesus' harshest words were reserved for hypocrites.
The reality is, there always have been and always will be some hypocrites in the Church. But Jesus doesn't ask us to follow others; he asks us to follow him.
Although Christians can represent Jesus either poorly or well, the real question isn't whether there are hypocrites in the Church, but whether Jesus is a hypocrite. If someone can prove that Jesus was a hypocrite, then the whole structure of Christianity falls into ruin. The Bible, God's Word, presents Jesus as nothing less than perfect. Jesus' disciples testified that Jesus was without sin (1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5). Even Jesus himself challenged others to prove that he'd ever sinned (John 8:46).
2. What about the atrocities Christians have committed?
Some blame Christianity for religious wars, the Crusades, burning witches, the Inquisition, slavery, even the Holocaust.
The issue of atrocities is simply an extension of the question of hypocrites. So-called believers who didn't practice true Christianity have perpetrated evil. In reality, these people were Christian in name only.
Focusing on their atrocities is a smoke screen to avoid the real issue. Christianity has far more positive achievements than negative influences. It's been instrumental in the formation of countless hospitals, schools, colleges, orphanages, relief agencies, and charity agencies. No other religion in history can compare.
3. Christianity is a crutch.
Karl Marx, author of The Communist Manifesto, said, "Religion is the opiate of the masses." Critics such as Marx have charged that religion is an invention designed for people incapable of coping with life's pressures. Some critics respond that they don't need this type of emotional comfort, as though that fact falsifies Christianity. Such individuals often claim to be "stronger" because they're brave enough to face life without a "crutch." To imply non-religious people don't need a crutch is misleading. Dependence on drugs, alcohol, tobacco, sex, money, power, other people, and material possessions demonstrates some people's need for a crutch. Atheismthe belief that there is no Godcan become a crutch for those addicted to a lifestyle contrary to God's standards of morality.
Rather than being weak, Christians are strongnot because they depend on themselves, but because they depend on Jesus.
Everyone needs assistance. The question is, what will you lean on? Christianity provides what atheism or other religions never can: spiritual fulfillment, peace, and forgiveness.
4. It's narrow-minded to think Jesus is the only way to God.
Jesus claimed he was the only way to God (John 14:6). Such a claim is either totally true or totally false. Some people claim to be Christians, yet ignore Jesus' claim to be the only Savior. Critics argue this view is exclusory.
But if Christianity is true, then we must accept Jesus' own teachings. If one believes Jesus' assertions to be true, then the issue is settled.
5. Being a good person is all that really matters.
Some argue that even if a person's religion is false, what really matters is that she's sincere about being a good person. This notion is based on the mistaken belief that God is pleased by "religion."
Sincerity doesn't determine truth, however. One can be sincerely convinced of the truthand be sincerely wrong. For example, many evil men such as Hitler were very sincere in their beliefs. God judges people based on truth, not opinionsand that truth is Jesus Christ.
6. What about those who've never heard about Jesus?
Such a question implies that God lacks compassion because he's imposed his plan of salvation on us. Often such inquirers seem to imply that they're more compassionate than God!
An important biblical principle to understand is that no one has ever remained lost who wanted to be found. Just as God sent the apostle Philip to the seeking Ethiopian (Acts 8:26-39), Jesus promises all who seek will find (Matthew 7:7-8).
7. The Bible is filled with errors.
Because the Bible is God's Word and God cannot lie (Isaiah 55:10-11; John 17:17; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 4:12), it's totally trustworthy, free from any error. God's Word is described as "the word of truth" (2 Corinthians 6:7; Colossians 1:5; 2 Timothy 2:15; James 1:18). Inerrancy isn't a theory about the Bible; it's the teaching of the Bible itself.
What most people claim as errors in the Bible aren't errors but difficulties. People think they've stumbled upon apparent inconsistencies when they haven't taken the time to find out all the facts, or made an in-depth study of the passage. Many Bible questions have been answered as new discoveries have been made in fields such as language, history, archeology, and other sciences.
Regardless of the kind of difficulty found, not a single irreconcilable error can be found in the Bible's pages.
8. If God is so good, why is there evil?
The thrust of this charge is that evil's presence disproves God's power. But is the presence of evil consistent with the God of the Bible? Consider:
God didn't create evil. Sin entered the world through Adam's disobedience (Genesis 3).
Evil is necessary for a free world. Freedom, or free will, gives humans the opportunity to make wrong choices.
God hesitates to stop evil for an important reason. Just as parents often allow their children to make mistakes and suffer the consequences, God acts in a parental fashion with his creation.
God has the solution for evil. Jesus accomplished the ultimate defeat of evil on the cross. But just as we don't yet have eternal bodies, evil has yet to be removed from the world.
9. Why is there suffering?
Many hold that pain is evidence against God's concern for humankind. However, pain can be used for good and bad purposes. Not all pain is bad. Pain is an essential mechanism for survival. Without pain, the body is stripped of vital protection. Pain is an important signal to warn of even greater danger.
Suffering is a signal. It also can be a spiritual signal that reminds us of the fragile balance of life and our mortality. In The Problem of Pain, Christian apologist C.S. Lewis writes, "God whispers to us in our pleasure, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pain; it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world."
Some suffering actually helps to bring greater good. This is best seen in Jesus' own suffering. Jesus traveled down the road of pain, loneliness, and deatha road that led to the cross. Jesus isn't just a Savior, he's our suffering Savior. The cross is the ultimate example of innocent suffering.
At the heart of this issue is the underlying challenge that God isn't fair. The problem is, society holds pleasure as its chief goal in life. This philosophy is known as hedonism, and those who live by this philosophy find any form of suffering offensive. To say God isn't fair is an extremely dangerous charge.
If God gave us what we deserve, we'd be in trouble. It would be foolish to ask God for justice; what we need is mercy. God's mercy and grace are so taken for granted that suffering and pain shock us.
10. If there's a hell, why would a loving God send people there?
God hates evil, and one day, evil will cease. While evil and suffering and pain are very real, they are also very temporary.
The day God deals with evil, he will deal with all evil. In the meantime, God strives for as many people as possible to accept Jesus' death and resurrection as payment for their sins, so they can live eternally with him. The sad fact is, many will make the decision not to be a part of God's heaven. God won't send them to hell; they'll send themselves.
For God to force people to go to heaven against their wishes wouldn't be heavenit would be hell. Atheist author Jean-Paul Sarte noted that the gates of hell are locked from the inside by the free choice of men and women.
This is a mouthful.
So every single person who was born into indigenous tribes around the world before the Europeans showed up wanted to go to Hell? That seems to be the implication here.
Excellent. Thank you.
What I was taught growing up was that those who have no way of receiving the Word will go to heaven.
Did you miss #6?
The souls of everyone will "know" the way to salvation after death. We will all have a final choice.
Christianity was spread by Jesus's remaining disciples and the Apostles as far east as India, and the Roman Empire. Even after the fall of Rome, Christian religion flourished in the Middle East, even traces were in the Mongolian Empire who in turn introduced it to the Chinese after they conquered them in the 13th Century. The spreading of the Word of God did not rely on the Europeans only.
Waiting for a saviour who will never return is like watching the water recede before one's very eyes and hoping that you will discover sunken treasure on the wet sand in front of you.
Pointless, dangerous, futile, stupid and sad.
THANKS. GREAT POST AND SERVICE.
re: 6. What about those who've never heard about Jesus?
Jesus made it a point to provide a parable about a ruler who was going away for an indeterminate length of time and left explicit instructions for who would be in charge while he was gone. During the ruler's absence new servants were hired but not told of the rules. When the ruler returned he punished severely the ones who knew of his instructions and failed to comply with them. But, Christ said, those who were ignorant of the ruler's commands were punished with "few stripes".
SAMUEL MORRIS and the MARCH OF FAITH.
Son of a chief in Africa who's tribe tended to lose chronically to a neighboring tribe. The utterly TRUE story is around the turn of the century 1900.
Yet again his tribe had lost. As a teen, he was yet again tied to a post and had been tortured for 3 days to encourage the payment of ransome by his tribe that had lost--a tradition for hundreds of years.
In the middle of that night, he heard a voice tell him to get up and run. He thought he was delerious and ignored it--it didn't make sense. He had no strength and was bound tightly to the torture post. Finally, the third, louder, more insistent time, he found he had strength to stand and that his bonds were loosed.
He quickly ran out of the clearing into the jungle. He found that in the jungle there was a strange light that led him to water and food and through the jungle for 2 weeks. Finally it led him to a walled compound. The voice told him that in the compound, 'Sammy" (as he became to be called) would "learn of me." Of course, it was a mission compound.
He would go on to speak to large gatherings throughout the Western world. In the largest of auditoriums, even though people had no way of knowing he had entered the back, side or other door--the moment he crossed the portal, masses of people in the audience would spontaneously RUN screaming confession and repentance to the front of the room.
He would tend to pray in a simple, child-like way with his eyes open and looking up. He had incredible faith and God confirmed it with miraculous signs following.
The Bible says:
HE THAT SEEKS ME [evidently earnestly from an sincere heart, persistently] SHALL FIND ME.
Sammy is an excellent example of that.
guess what . . .
GOD IS THE BOSS.
And you aren't God.
And you don't even BEGIN to be as big and powerful as HE IS.
Thankfully, you don't begin to be as Loving, either.
The Bible teaches in Romans chp 1 that mankind is without excuse.... all have been provided an opportunity to either accept or reject revelation as it is offered to them. Those who accept Christ will go to heaven... those who reject Christ and the revelation offered to them are on their way to the "other" place. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth & the life... no man comes to the Father except by me". This isn't my opinion... just what's stated in the Word of God.
I believe that's true for some--especially those who have earnestly sought God out of a sincere heart.
I don't believe that's so for all.
In any case, waiting until then is super hazardous.
We might say, eternally hazardous.
Particularly since The Bible doesn't clearly say such a thing is true.
Evidently you haven't had the experience in terms you'd recognize or accept.
It must, therefore, be rather easy for you to what . . . smugly knock it?
NOT WAITING EAGERLY
for The SAVIOR; THE CHRIST, THE MESSIAH
Who will CERTAINLY RETURN AND BY ALL EVIDENCE, IN OUR ERA
is more like deciding on a Saturday morning to go to the WalMart entrance about noon
unhinge one's skull and dump one's brains out just for the h*ll of it.
Given the abundance of evidence already--plus the enormous amount between now and His return--if you still have such a death grip on your addiction to a TYPE II error, you will deserve the destination you have thereby chosen.
Sorry, I didn't reference back far enough evidently.
I thought we were talking about Christianity.
Pointless, dangerous, futile, stupid and sad.
1. Anyone who's had an experience of Christ will tell you they've discovered sunken treasure on the wet sand in front of them already.
2. Pointless, dangerous, futile, stupid and sad for whom? For me? I appreciate your concern, but I'm not all that dangerous. Stupid? Certainly! Sad? Actually, I'm amazingly happy, but thanks for being sad for me. It's nice to know that someone, other than Christ and my wife, children, and grandchildren is concerned for my welfare....
P.S. The louder someone SHOUTS in a discussion usually is directly proportional to their level of defensiveness because they are wrong.
Hogwash is your major commodity?
Probably another Libertarian.
Carrying the analogy further, all of humankind is watching the water recede. Christians have simply been shown WHERE to watch on the beach AND they followed the seemingly "stupid" instructions. Lo and behold! There's the treasure sitting there for the taking.
2. Pointless, dangerous, futile, stupid and sad for whom? For me? I appreciate your concern, but I'm not all that dangerous. Stupid? Certainly! Sad? Actually, I'm amazingly happy...
You forgot to address "pointless". :-) The ultimate fact is that we will see the final "point" in Christianity when each of us dies. However, God gives us bread crumbs (manna, if you will) of hope along the way, and I think the rest of your post demonstrates that. :-)
Yeah, he and his demonic moon "god" have proven to be a hugely hideous problem for centuries.
God will deal with them and save many as He's giving many visions and dreams of The Risen Christ. Some learn He is God in their dreams or visions and then have to research to find out more about who HE IS--having NEVER HEARD OF Him before. 100's of such stories from around the world.
There are hypocrites in all walks of life, just look at Washington DC for instance. I think trying to answer these sorts of questions is an exercise of futility. Those who ask them are generally so anti God that only He could turn them around. Mostly they are making excuses for their own bad behavior.
If only more people read and understood that parable ...
My objection to muslims is, "they are out to kill all of us".
But I've never thought being of imprisoned in blind, stubborn rebellion as being all that liberating.
Actually, I want to invite him to my church so he can meet several hundred pointless, dangerous, futile, stupid and sad Christians.
But we do have some awesome bar-b-ques in the summer...!
She might object to eating animal flesh so make sure you have some veggies grilling but then even that might be hurtful since peas have souls too(funny, I used to think that peas have only pods). But seriously, it is completely unacceptable for her to call you by those epithets, not only because of forum rules and ethics but because of fairness too.
I am often surprised, though I suppose I shouldn't be, at how often the actual words of Jesus make so much more sense than the conclusions of theology.
"The fool says in his heart ""There is no God!"" They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good."
Psalm 14: 1
Your tag line says : Humanity has a poor track record of predicting its own future.
Depends on who the predictor is...
Isaiah, Jeremiah et.al. got glimpses of the divine jigsaw puzzle.
God has blessed me over and over. He's supplied me sourdough loafs of hope!
I believe in God. I certainly don't believe in the need to have an intermediary between me and God.
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