The Christian Questionnaire

SF Church

The inevitable initial response that I get in any debate with a Christian is, “I’m not that kind of Christian.”  It can be said in any countless numbers of ways, but what it comes down to is, there are a million kinds of Christians and their views on topics range the wide spectrum.  But, to be a Christian is to be part of a group, a religion, and so, theoretically, there should be a consistent set of beliefs that bind them.

I am an atheist.  There is only one thing that binds me to the title atheist, and that is, put simply, a lack of belief in God (it is not, a belief that there is no God; to define an atheism that way assumes there is a God).  From there, you cannot extrapolate my beliefs on any topic.  I may be pro-life or pro-choice, I may be for Gay marriage or against it, I may be conservative or liberal, and so much more.  Now the same can be said of Christians, except that along with their belief in God is their belief in Jesus and the theology that comes with it.

Which is why I have created this questionnaire.  It is a tool for atheists (and like-minded skeptics) who find themselves in debates with numerous Christians and are inevitably stymied by the, “I’m not like other Christians” retort, making it impossible to distinguish what your combatant actually believes.  This questionnaire focuses on the theological questions at the root of the Christian belief, so there are no questions about homosexuality or abortion.  It’s meant to set a groundwork so a person can know what ‘kind’ of Christian they are debating.  A Christian should have no issue answering this questionnaire as the questions are open-ended and are not written to attack or judge their beliefs.  It starts with the basic questions and gets broader, but every Christian should have some answer for every question here.  If they have not thought about one of these questions, they aren’t thinking enough about their faith enough.

So, without further ado, I offer,

The Christian Questionnaire

  1. Is there a personal God (a God who is involved in the lives of individuals)?
  2. Is God omnipotent?  Omnipresent?  Omniscient?
  3. Is God perfect (infallible)?
  4. Was Jesus God?
  5. What did Jesus do (what was his purpose)?  What was the purpose of the crucifixion?  Was he resurrected?
  6. Is the Bible the inerrant Word of God?  Is it meant to be taken literally?  Is the New Testament?
  7. Is the Bible meant to be understood by anyone who reads it, or are there those who are better equipped to understand and teach it?
  8. Does the New Testament supersede the Old Testament?  Should we understand the OT as history and the NT as God’s will?
  9. Does God change his mind?  What does it mean in the Bible when it says God changed his mind (Genesis 6:6, Exodus 32:14, etc.)?
  10. Is there a heaven?  A hell?  Does Satan exist?  Are there angels and demons?
  11. Are there sinners?  Is there Original Sin?   Do we need salvation?
  12. Is prayer a way of speaking directly to God?  Does it work?  If God can answer prayer with ‘Yes’, ‘No’, or ‘Later’, doesn’t that mean God will do what he wants and your prayers do not affect his decision?
  13. Does God perform miracles?  Has he ever?  If he did in the past but not now (or not to the same degree), why?
  14. Did God create the universe?  Do you believe in the literal 6,000-10,000 year interpretation of the Bible, or do you accept the scientific evidence for evolution?  Was evolution by Natural Selection his method?
  15. If you believe in Young Earth Creation, what do you make of the overwhelming scientific evidence and consensus in favor of a universe that is billions and billions of years old?
  16. Is faith good?  Why does God require we interact with him entirely on faith?
  17. Does God provide proof for his existence?  What is it?  Can that proof be interpreted in more ways than the way you interpret it?
  18. Are other religions and faiths wrong?  Can Christianity coincide with other religions?
  19. If there is only one true faith, how do you know it is Christianity?
  20. If all faiths are equal, why follow any religion?
  21. Can a person be happy without God?  If not, why are there happy atheists/agnostics?  If a Christian is unhappy or depressed, does that mean they are not truly Christian?
  22. Since there are happy and successful non-Christians and unhappy and unsuccessful Christians, what is the purpose of Christianity?
  23. Is there such thing as a ‘real’ Christian and a ‘false’ Christian?  How do you determine the difference?
  24. Is your version of Christianity the only true one?  How do you know?  If there are multiple versions of Christianity that can be considered ‘true’, what is the one basic tenet that makes a person a Christian?
  25. If you had to sum up Jesus’ teachings into one or two sentences, what would it be?
  26. Should the teachings of Jesus hold more importance than those of Paul or the other New Testament writers?
  27. If you listen to or read the teachings of modern Christian writers, how do you decide which ones you like and which ones you dismiss?  How do you know you aren’t just seeking out teachers who tell you what you already believe?

Finally:

Why did God create such a complicated system with the possibility of human manipulation and error all in order to bring ‘salvation’ to a creation he loves when he could have saved everyone the trouble and just created us happy and perfect and put us in a Garden of Eden with no forbidden fruit?  If his love for us is unconditional, couldn’t he have created that kind of love in us for him?

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Feel free to disseminate it as you wish.

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63 thoughts on “The Christian Questionnaire

  1. “… there are a million kinds of Christians and their views on topics range the wide spectrum.”

    That’s the problem I have, being a Christian, with other Christians. Its quite simple, and why God gave us the Bible, so there would be no “spectrum”, but a pretty obvious black and white answer for the basis of our beliefs. In my years as a Christian I find that those that say “I’m not that type of Christian” really are not Bible believing Christians. They take a part here or a part there that they like, and ignore or change the rest to fit there own desires.

    But without further ado, here are my thoughts on the questions that I thought were a bit in need of answers. I will give a few scriptures here and there, if more are needed, just ask:

    1.Is there a personal God (a God who is involved in the lives of individuals)?
    –Yes

    2.Is God omnipotent? Omnipresent? Omniscient?
    –According to the Bible, yes.

    3.Is God perfect (infallible)?
    –See #2

    4.Was Jesus God?
    –I would say No, because it should state “Is Jesus God”. The question with “was” implies past tense at a particular time in history.

    5.What did Jesus do (what was his purpose)? What was the purpose of the crucifixion? Was he resurrected?
    –The Bible says His purpose was to save mankind from their sins through His death and crucifixion. Yes, resurrected (physically, which is why no body).

    6.Is the Bible the inerrant Word of God? Is it meant to be taken literally? Is the New Testament?
    –Yes. Yes. Yes. All 3 are stated as such in the Bible. For example 2 Peter 1:20-21 states this.

    7.Is the Bible meant to be understood by anyone who reads it, or are there those who are better equipped to understand and teach it?
    –Anyone. Bible states that the it was for the whole world. There are areas of study in theology and history, etc, that go really deep obviously, but to read it and understand its basic message of sin and salvation is for anyone as it states.

    8.Does the New Testament supersede the Old Testament? Should we understand the OT as history and the NT as God’s will?
    –New Testament does supersede old. Hebrews chapter 9 and 10 states that. Which is why Christians today are not required to live under the Old Testament Law, such as sacrificing animals when you sin. The OT is important to understand the history of the world, mankind, sin, prophecies and the Savior to come.

    9.Does God change his mind? What does it mean in the Bible when it says God changed his mind (Genesis 6:6, Exodus 32:14, etc.)?
    –This is the 1 of 150 or so supposed contradictions people use to discredit the Bible. A good site by Mike Bumbulis is great: http://www.philvaz.com/apologetics/bible.htm

    10.Is there a heaven? A hell? Does Satan exist? Are there angels and demons?
    –Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Bible states so, many verses could be listed.

    11.Are there sinners? Is there Original Sin? Do we need salvation?
    –Yes, Romans 6:23. Original Sin? If you mean Adam and Eve, or Lucifer falling from Heaven, yes. Yes, Romans 6:23 again.

    12.Is prayer a way of speaking directly to God? Does it work? If God can answer prayer with ‘Yes’, ‘No’, or ‘Later’, doesn’t that mean God will do what he wants and your prayers do not affect his decision?
    –Yes. Yes, many examples from own experience can share. Not what he wants, what He was going to do anyway since He already knew what you were going to pray. Bible does state that we are to pray to not only ask Him, but to hear Him speak to us. Its not just a time of “wish listing”. Many scriptures to post for this too if need.

    13.Does God perform miracles? Has he ever? If he did in the past but not now (or not to the same degree), why?
    –Yes. Yes. Miracles happen today as well. Many personal examples can be given. Perhaps the “higher degree” ones are the ones you are talking about with those who saw Jesus do them, such as walk on water, raise people from the dead, but God still performs miracles in our lives today. Why? To prove to those that saw Him that he was God in the flesh, God the Son, since noone else could do them.

    14.Did God create the universe? Do you believe in the literal 6,000-10,000 year interpretation of the Bible, or do you accept the scientific evidence for evolution? Was evolution by Natural Selection his method?
    –Yes. Yes. Assumption is that evolution has scientific evidence. I do not reject science, I reject evolution, there’s a clear distinction. We would have to define what is meant by evolution. There are 6 types:
    1.Cosmic evolution: the origin of time, space, and matter from nothing in the “big bang”
    2.Chemical evolution: all elements “evolved” from hydrogen
    3.Stellar evolution: stars and planets formed from gas clouds
    4.Organic evolution: life begins from inanimate matter
    5.Macro-evolution: animals and plants change from one type into another
    6.Micro-evolution: variations form within the “kind”
    Only #6 is scientific, by definition: something that can be observed, tested, and known. All others are not.

    15.If you believe in Young Earth Creation, what do you make of the overwhelming scientific evidence and consensus in favor of a universe that is billions and billions of years old?
    –Question assumes consensus. There is more evidence to support young earth than old. Thats an entire different topic and would take weeks to discuss, although maybe necessary. Side note, my favorite topic, so would not mind. The key is the interpretation of the data. Two scientists, one Christian, one not. One looks at the Grand Canyon and says “look at what the colorado river did for millions and millions of years”. The Bible believing Christian looks at the same canyon and says “wow, look at what the flood did in a few days”. One says little water, lots of time, the other says lots of water, little time. Look up information about Mount St. Helens and the “Little Grand Canyon”. Its scientific, we observed it happen, it formed in a matter of days, 1/10th the size of Grand Canyon.

    16.Is faith good? Why does God require we interact with him entirely on faith?
    –Yes. To acknowledge Him as God of our lives. Scriptures to support can be given if needed.

    17.Does God provide proof for his existence? What is it? Can that proof be interpreted in more ways than the way you interpret it?
    –Yes, Romans chapter 1 explains this, but sum it up: our conscience, our heart, and Creation itself. Just as we see a painting, we know there was a painter without ever meeting him, so when we see a creation, we know there was a Creator without ever meeting Him.

    18.Are other religions and faiths wrong? Can Christianity coincide with other religions?
    –Jesus stated this in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life, noone comes to the Father except through Me”. He just eliminated all other religions and religious leaders. No, see above verse.

    19.If there is only one true faith, how do you know it is Christianity?
    –Muhammed died…still dead, Confucious died….still dead, etc. Jesus died…NOT still dead. So chose to follow Him who not only said he had the keys to eternal life, but proved it by conquering death.

    20.If all faiths are equal, why follow any religion?
    –See #18

    21.Can a person be happy without God? If not, why are there happy atheists/agnostics? If a Christian is unhappy or depressed, does that mean they are not truly Christian?
    –Bible says that we are only truly happy when we please God. People can have earthly joy sure: meeting someone, new job, etc. But eternal joy and peace can only come from God. It doesn’t mean they are not a Christian, it means they are human and error. Bible says there are times to mourn, but to also remain steadfast in the faith, remembering that all things are according to God’s Will. (All of Ecclesiastes and Romans 8)

    22.Since there are happy and successful non-Christians and unhappy and unsuccessful Christians, what is the purpose of Christianity?
    –The purpose is for salvation, not for obtaining success and fame. Its a heavenly purpose, not earthly in purpose.

    23.Is there such thing as a ‘real’ Christian and a ‘false’ Christian? How do you determine the difference?
    –2 Timothy 4 talks about this, Jesus also talks about how to identify them. Pretty basic, they do not believe in Jesus, according to God’s Word (the Bible).

    24.Is your version of Christianity the only true one? How do you know? If there are multiple versions of Christianity that can be considered ‘true’, what is the one basic tenet that makes a person a Christian?
    –Question assumes I have a version. My “version” is the Bible as should all Christianity be based on, which is the purpose of the Bible, to guide Christians. Christian means a “follower of Christ”, how do I follow Christ?, well, according to Christ’s (God’s) Word (the Bible).

    25.If you had to sum up Jesus’ teachings into one or two sentences, what would it be?
    –That believing in him was the only way for salvation to heaven since we are sinful. John 3:16

    26.Should the teachings of Jesus hold more importance than those of Paul or the other New Testament writers?
    –No. Bible states in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
    17That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

    27.If you listen to or read the teachings of modern Christian writers, how do you decide which ones you like and which ones you dismiss? How do you know you aren’t just seeking out teachers who tell you what you already believe?
    –See #23. Jesus said we are to be careful and always watch to ensure that we are not listening to teachers of anything other than His Word.

    Finally:
    Why did God create such a complicated system with the possibility of human manipulation and error all in order to bring ‘salvation’ to a creation he loves when he could have saved everyone the trouble and just created us happy and perfect and put us in a Garden of Eden with no forbidden fruit? If his love for us is unconditional, couldn’t he have created that kind of love in us for him?
    –Basicly, why didn’t God just “get us out of this mess instantly”. He did give us a perfect world and a choice to either server Him, or Satan in the garden of Eden. He gave us a choice because he loves us, and if you love something, you do not force it to love you, you give it the choice. We messed up, sin and death entered the world (read Genesis 1-4), and when God sent His Son to bail us out of the mess of our sins we crucified His Son. The world rejects God, but God still loves us anyway and he is always giving us a chance for salvation (2 Peter 3:9).

    Thanks for the questions, I hope they help you in your understanding.

    Jonathon

    • Thanks for responding Jonathan. Before I delve into your responses, I want to make some larger points.

      First, I did not create these questions to better ‘understand’ Christianity, as it were. Though I am an atheist, I was raised in a very Bible-based version of Christianity, though one that also was an over the top fundamentalists version. I created the questionnaire for each individual Christian to answer to save me the trouble of being accused of unfairly grouping every Christian into one lump. Like it or not, the spectrum of Christian belief exists.

      Naturally, you believe that your version of Christianity is the true one. So much so that you don’t think it’s a “version” at all, but the only true one. Which is why I asked that question. No Christian ever thinks there are ‘versions’ of Christianity, only the truth and then false Christians. Yet every Christian believes they are a true Christian. You imply that it’s as simple as reading the Bible and that the Bible is clear to anyone who reads it, but then there are always caveats and footnotes when explaining passages of the Bible (the Contradictions link you submitted is a good example of the kind of additional knowledge one must bring to the Bible to make it make any sense; but I will talk more about that in a moment).

      Having said all of that, I will say that I do appreciate your version of Christianity (I do not mean that to be an insult; saying ‘version’ is just easy shorthand, I am not trying to disparage you). It is internally consistent as far as what you presented me, which is not always the case when talking with Christians (or people of other beliefs).

      For that reason, I am not going to go point by point through all of your responses. Most of them are reliant on the assumption that Christianity is true, and that’s a much broader question than I’m prepared to jump into right now.

      Instead, I want to focus on some main areas:
      Your Contradictions Link
      Evolution vs. Creationism
      Your proof of Christianity’s veracity.

      First, the link you provided. I don’t find the contradictions in the Bible to be all that remarkable an argument against Christianity, and your link is the reason why. It’s not because I think the link makes strong arguments. I actually think most of them are appallingly feeble in their attempts to consolidate contradictions. For the most part, they seem to fall into this type of explanation: 75 – There was two blind men/there was one blind man. The explanation given is fairly unconvincing as it is based on assumptions (how can the author say, “Luke probably was acquainted with him”? Based on what information does he say that, and why is it ‘probably’ so?) and a weak analogy (talking selectively about hanging out with friends is not the same as writing an account about an important event and leaving a person completely out of the accounting).

      I chose that example pretty much at random but I think it’s fairly representative of the answers provided on that site. I’m not claiming to have read them all, not by any means, but based on the writer’s introduction and my perusal of 15 to 20 of the given examples, it’s clear that this is the technique the writer uses regularly. The writer also says we cannot “violate the context of belief.” This is really just a way of stating that we have to accept, a priori, that Christianity is true. I’m sorry, but that is not going to happen. Science never asks you to accept a conclusion for the premises to make sense.

      That said, I would say that all of the explanations I read could be true in the ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ sort of way. This is why the contradictions issue has never been a game changer for me. I was a Christian, I am well aware of the logical gymnastics necessary to make a lot of the beliefs make sense, and I find them unconvincing (as any atheist would), but I accept that they are at least vaguely plausible answers.

      Now, as far as Evolution vs. Creatonism.

      This is where you’re in the most trouble. First, let’s start with your definition of scientific: “something that can be observed, tested, and known.” This is a lousy definition of science, and I blame our education system for it.
      Here is a better definition of science: an enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the natural world.
      By your definition of science, gravity wouldn’t be a valid theory of science.
      Science isn’t just about what we can observe right now, in front of us. Science is about the observable world, agreed, but where we can’t observe something directly, we can observe its effects (that’s how we observe gravity) and make predictions based on those observations. In Richard Dawkin’s book “The Greatest Show On Earth”, he compares it to being a CSI, coming onto the scene of a crime and piecing together the facts after the fact. In this example, the evidence stacked in evolution’s favor is insurmountable.

      (As an aside, biologists don’t really make a distinction between micro and macro-evolution. They are the same thing, macro adaption just being a long chain of micro adaptions.)

      You say “Question assumes consensus. There is more evidence to support young earth than old.”

      I say, bring it. Where is the evidence? Your “Little Grand Canyon” example tellingly only brings up Creationist sites when I searched for it. Talk about ‘assuming consensus.’ The scientific community is in consensus. Where are the peer reviewed articles in support of 6,000-10,000 year earth?

      There is only one biologists that I can think of that argues in favor of Intelligent Design (not Young Earth I.D., mind you), and that’s Michael Behe, a man who has been discredited and is now largely ignored by his peers.

      When discussing science, it is important that we come to agreement on one requirement: All claims have to have been vetted by the Peer Review process. This means, linking to AIG isn’t proof of anything, because they aren’t a scientific community and they don’t offer up their claims for review.

      Also, being a scientist doesn’t mean you’re an expert on all sciences. Someone may be a very intelligent and successful chemist, that doesn’t mean their opinions on biology are as valid as an actual biologist (I have a degree in English, that doesn’t mean I’m also an expert in Spanish).

      Before we do jump into this debate (if we’re going to), may I suggest 1 of 3 books: The aforementioned Dawkins book, or “Why Evolution is True?” by Jerry Coyne (both books attempt to explain evolution as simply as possible by presenting mounds of evidence for it, and impressively, they manage to do so with almost completely different lists of evidence; that’s just how much evidence does support evolution by natural selection), or “Only a Theory” by Ken Miller. All of these books present overwhelming evidence that not only is Evolution accepted as fact by the scientific community, but that Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection is the best explanation of how life evolved on this planet.

      Finally, as concerns your claim to Christianity’s sole stance on top of the mount of truth. You say Muhammad and Confucius are dead (Confucius not being the founder of a religion, that seems an odd choice, but whatever) and Jesus is alive. And you know this how? A lot of your statements about Christianity are based on the classic circular argument: The Bible is the Word of God because it says it’s the word of God.
      Jesus is alive because the Bible says so.
      But the Quran claims Muhammad was God’s last true prophet. How do we know which Holy Book to trust?

      Faith statements have no place in a rational debate. If you are willing to say, “I accept my religion on faith and have no wish to try to logically support it” then I’ll say fine. That’s at least consistent.
      If, however, you try to claim a rational basis for Christianity, but then fall back on faith as your foundation, your arguments hold no weight.

      I do appreciate you taking the time to thoughtfully answer my questions, and if you are interested in having a debate about Evolution, I’m more than game.

      I hope I have not come off as insulting in my reply. I will attempt to be respectful in my answers (as I hope you will, too), but I will not indulge poor logic.

      P.S. I could have written paragraphs of responses to all of your answers, but for the sake of trying to stay focused, I did not. Hopefully this conversation, if it persists, will not get too unwieldy.

      • Lyttleton, your argument of truth – “Jesus is alive because the Bible says so.
        But the Quran claims Muhammad was God’s last true prophet. How do we know which Holy Book to trust?”
        Well, I’m not a very strong Christian, but yet I trust Jesus more than Muhammad. Why, as in the history of both, you can see there’s tons of difference in spirituality and goodness. In Jesus, you can see his ability to perform his duties as a loving God is amazing. Able to preach at the young age of 12, help the fishermen to catch lots of fishes when they have tried earlier and caught almost none, walk to the ship on the waters, save the blind to see, and coming back to life after being crucified and died to prove he is God.
        And what’s so special about Muhammad? He never did any miracles but yet only forced people to believe that he is the last prophet. He said he believed in the first 5 books of the Bible, meaning it’s copied and yet most of it he changed to glorify his own Ishmael side, removing whatever to say the Bible is written falsely, like saying that Ishmael was the one Abraham sacrificed to God when it’s written in the Bible it’s Isaac. Why did God have to PROMISE to Abraham to have a son – because the wife was already about 80 to 90 years old! Totally barren! Would God have PROMISED for young Hagar to have the son? Why should God promise when you know very well a young woman can have the child, no need promises. It will be like stealing the rights that God have promised to Abraham. So that’s why I believe in the Bible and in Jesus more than Muhammad.

      • So, you believe in the bible because its claims are more preposterous?

        It all comes back to, the Bible is true because the Bible says it’s true.

        Not really a convincing argument.

  2. lyttleton-It has been my experience that Atheists such as yourself really have no real desire to understand Christianity in order to seek it’s validation, but you simply want to prove how much smarter you are than Christians. It is also my belief that if you were presented with any evidence that proves the existence of God you would still reject him. I think you just want to engage in an endless debate so you can say “I stumped the stupid Christian.” Although there is a ton of evidence (as Jonathon pointed out)there is a measure of faith needed to believe Christianity. Just like you have faith that the next time you inhale oxygen will fill your lungs. Some of your faith you can see some you just trust that it is there.

    • Interesting. So, instead of engaging the post for what it is, you just fall back on an a priori assumption that, because I am an atheist, I could not possibly want to hear what Christians have to say. You accuse me of being someone who merely wants to prove my mental superiority without any interest in what Christians have to say, yet you ignore everything I’m saying.

      Well, here is my background: I was a Christian for the first 20ish years of my life. I actively read the Bible, I read books to support both my faith and my intellectual pursuit of Christianity. But, in time, I realized that there wasn’t good evidence in support of my faith and, more importantly, I wasn’t experiencing God at all, despite extreme loyal devotion (that included fasting, hours in intercessory prayer and much, much more).

      What evidence did Jonathan provide? He mentioned one example, the so-called “Little Grand Canyon”, which is a mere fraction of the size of the real Grand Canyon. Comparing the two is like comparing an ice cube and a glacier and claiming you could create a glacier in your freezer. It’s not remotely the same. Young Earth Creationists (like Jonathan, and presumably yourself) come at science with your result already decided and ignore the mountains of evidence against it. What is the ‘ton of evidence’ you have, and may I ask, how many actual scientific books have you read? Reading posts off of Answers In Genesis doesn’t count.

      You say it’s faith to believe my next breath will bring in oxygen, clearly showing that you don’t even understand what faith is, by its Biblical definition: “Faith is evidence of what we have not seen…” I have decades of evidence that every time I breathe in, there is oxygen. While that does not prove my next breath will bring in oxygen, it provides a considerable amount of evidence to support that theory. This is what YEC (and IDists) always misunderstand about science. You think that science can only make claims about what we observe directly or it’s faith, and yet you provide your own proof (in your oxygen example) that deducting from past experience and scientific research can provide for accurate, testable theories (a scientific theory is not just a guess, it’s the best possible explanation for all evidence). What evidence is there for God? You claim to have tons, I’d be interested in what it is.

      I don’t care about proving “how much smarter” I am, I just want to have a real, intellectual debate, which is why I created the questionnaire. Yet, instead of even trying, you just jump to the conclusion that I’m the Big Bad Atheist attacking Christians. You know nothing about me, so put aside your ‘experience’ and provide your evidence. But first, answer the questionnaire so I know what type of Christian I’m debating.

  3. Here’s the irony with many so called ‘atheists.’ They spend their time and energy to debate, to debunk, to basically prove the non-existence of something, all the while giving that non-existant something validity by spending the time to do so.
    You see, I do not believe in aliens. Therefore, I do not waste my time debating those that do. I find it pointless to blog about or even argue that something does not exist with one that believes otherwise. By my spending time to prove aliens do not exist, I’ve now created them in my own timeframe and they have now become a very real part of my life at that moment in time.
    You see, I think your soul knows there is a God, and whether you admit to it or not, I know you lie in your bed at night wondering what can fill that emptiness within. And there is nothing to fill it but God himself. So with your every second spent debating the non-existance of God, your soul is crying out. Otherwise, if you truely believed whole-heartedly that there is no God, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    • BTW, love the website and this concept of 10-10. I wish I had the guts to do something like it! Very cool.

      • Well, with all due respect (and with appreciation for the compliment), what you’ve written is pretty ignorant. First off, no, I don’t sit up all night worrying about my soul (don’t have one, neither do you) or whether there is a god or not. If belief in aliens led to the suppression of people, the systematic rape of children (and the cover-ups) or the large scale abuse of power & money that belief in God leads to, you bet your ass I’d debate it. If religion were nothing more than just an innocuous thing that people left to themselves and didn’t force onto others (either through public policy or proselytizing), then I wouldn’t care. But that isn’t the world we live in, so atheists like me seek to be a voice of reason to the irrationality which is religious belief.
        And, by your logic, you taking the time to write a comment to contest my atheism would mean that you must secretly be an atheist.
        That’s irony.

  4. Well, debating about whether or not God exsists obviously isn’t going to change either of our minds. But having read your testimony about how you came to be an atheist, one thing popped out at me. Again, you may say otherwise, but this is the perception that you’ve given…your bout with Christianity seems to be about you. You mention many times that you didn’t feel God…that you didn’t experience Him…that you spent countless hours praying, fasting, reading, and you got nothing out of it. But I say to you, serving God is about God and what we give Him, not what He gives us. The one thing that He promises us…the only thing that He promises us…is that after this life we will be rewarded in the next. He doesn’t promise that He will answer us, that He will show Himself to us, or any of the things you were hoping to experience.
    Now, you can tell me what your perspective is on this idea, but IF He created life, then only He gets to define how it looks. We cannot define what it looks like to serve Him, although I know you will say that plenty of people do…and you’re right. Many people recreate what sefving God is for their own gain and those are the ones we should be educating.
    Let me finish by saying this, which I’m sure you have heard before. If you are right…there is no God, then I’ve lost nothing. I’ve loved my wife and kids, I’ve steered clear of drugs and alcohol which ruin lives, I’ve not gotten into trouble with STD’s or the likes, and I’ve fully enjoyed my life. In the end I lose nothing. But if I’m right and there is a God…well in that case you’ve lost everything.
    Now, all seriousness aside, I didn’t see any foreign cities on your list. Why not? I think soemthing like London, or Madrid would be quite the experience.

    • It’s rather interesting that you would assert that God makes no earthly promises to Christians and the only thing we can count on is heaven. First off, you are wrong. The Bible is filled with promises to his followers that are meant to be for the here and now.
      The Beatitudes are just the most obvious (and well-known) example of these promises. I was mourning, and God didn’t comfort me. I hungered and thirst for righteousness (what would you call praying and fasting for hours?), but I was not filled. You can try to claim that these are promises that will be fulfilled in heaven, but the very last beatitude claims that “great is your reward in heaven,” implying that that is a different blessing from the other blessings already mentioned.
      I don’t think it would take long to find a long list of earthly promises that God/Jesus makes to his followers. Your claim that God expects Christians to blindly follow him without any sense of comfort or acknowledgment here on earth is plainly false and contradicted over and over again in the Bible.
      But let’s, for the sake of argument, assume you were right. As a Christian, I had no right to expect anything from my prayers and petitions. When I was depressed and lonely and needed God, I shouldn’t have expected comfort because my one and only reward for faithfulness was heaven. That is a sad and pathetic way to look at life. And it basically admits that you have no reason to believe in God, you just do it because you assume heaven waits for you. That’s the most childish and unfulfilling way to look at life I can imagine.
      You say only HE gets to define how ‘life’ looks, yet you’re the one defining it for me, without Biblical support (assuming the Bible is even worth quoting, which it is not). And, of course, like all Christians, you assert that every other Christian who doesn’t agree with the way you think (at the moment) is wrong, and only your way of looking at the world is right. So those millions and millions (probably billions) of Christians out there who believe God is faithful to us on earth and wants to be in relationship with us, they are all wrong, and you are right. Pretty convenient for you (and your argument).
      And then you finish your comment with the classic Pascal’s Wager. Christian debating 101. I’m not going to pretend I believe in God just for the fear that I might go to hell. If God exists, he’s gonna know I’m insincere, so what’s the point? And the fact that you’ve steered away from drugs and alcohol and STDs is fine, but I don’t see how that correlates with a better life due to God. There are plenty of non-Christians who don’t do drugs or alcohol or have sex. Faith in God has nothing to do with those decisions. As an atheist, I drink heavily but do drugs rarely and have never had an STD despite multiple partners. I am far happier now as an atheist living this way than I was as a repressed and lonely Christian. The enjoyment of life has very little to do with faith (I know plenty of miserable Christians).
      I agree, we aren’t going to debate each other out of our respective views. But I would just point out that your arguments don’t make a life of Christianity sound very fulfilling or rewarding, and I’m sure as hell not going to devote myself to an invisible, untouchable God who won’t reveal Himself until after I die. That sounds horrible.

      As far as cities go, I will do London and Madrid at some point, just not for this project. Please read my FAQ link up in the About section for a more thorough answer.

    • It is disappointing that in this day and age, there are still Christians out there who think this is a worthwhile question to ask an atheist.
      Good and Evil as spiritual concepts do not exist, but there is such a thing as good and evil actions. Good is that which benefits the individual, the society and the species. Evil is that which harms the individual, the society, and the species. That is a simple answer, but if you really want a more complex and thoroughly articulated answer to your Atheism Debate Question 101, there are plenty of options available to you. Heck, you can even read my post “Good Without God” from a few years back to give yourself a better idea.
      Undoubtedly, you want to argue that Good and Evil are only concepts that can exist if there is a higher moral power. And then you’ll assert that the God of the Bible is that authority. And then I’ll point out that the God of the Bible not only allowed but condoned child murder and rape. The morality of the Bible isn’t just questionable or gray, it is downright reprehensible. And, no, the 10 Commandments aren’t the greatest moral laws ever created. Here are a set of better ones.
      So, put simply, there is such a thing as good and evil. Please assume that I am a well-read and educated Atheist and you are not going to trip me up on questions that have been answered for longer than Christianity has been around.

  5. I’m not trying to trip you up on anything. Like I said, a debate is pointless because human words will not change either of our minds. But if you are so against religion and fight to beat it, are you also fighting just as hard against politics, authorities, and governments? I mean, plenty of politicians in the name of politics commit atrosities, as do governments. Do you fight to defend those that are exploited in places such as China or India or Sudan?
    And according to your idealogy, wouldn’t Hitler be a heroe of yours? He fought to better his society and rid the Earth of the Jewish religion that has so corrupted this place. What about Pol Pot. He would fit into your example of bettering the society.

    • Hitler was nominally a Christian, so let’s not confuse the issue. He hated the Jews, but not for religious reasons. He was just a racist. But that’s beside the point, because I never said anything about trying to eradicate religion or fighting “to beat it.” I have no idea where you got this impression that I am on a crusade to destroy the religious.
      My only goal is to get the religious-minded to use reason and be logically consistent. Of course, once I do that, then religion probably will be eradicated. (To quote House, “Rational arguments don’t usually work on religious people. Otherwise there would be no religious people.”)
      My problem with religion (and politicians and authority figures and celebrities and regular folk) is when they take their faith – something that by definition is without reason – and try to use it as a justification for reprehensible or bigoted policies. I got in a big debate about this whole Penn State child rape thing because there were people for whom Football is a religion and they were actually defending the cover-up in the name of their pigskin god. It isn’t just Christianity I pick on, or religion. It is logical inconsistency. I see a great deal of it in Christians, though, because they love to bring it out whenever they want to deny rights to homosexuals or preach about being pro-life (while supporting the death penalty) or claim that, as you have, some Christians know the truth and some don’t. That is why I created this questionnaire, so I could force Christians to sit down and actually give me answers to these questions before I bothered debating them. If I don’t do that, I might as well be trying to grab a greased pig, because Christians will jump to whatever ledge they need to stay in a debate, even if it contradicts what they said earlier.
      By the way, I was a child in pain and I needed comfort from God. It never came. You claim that I had no right to expect that comfort, that my only reward as a Christian was heaven, and that the Bible makes no claims. My Christian friends helpfully provided some verses in refutation of that point, but this one is probably the most clear and concise (and it’s Jesus, so you can’t argue it away): “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” That sounds like a promise to me. An unfulfilled promise.
      Oh, and I am interested in helping the exploited throughout the world. I send support to secular charities (like Oxfam) who help those who are oppressed in places like Sudan. And I do not support so-called Free Trade policies that actually cripple developing nations so that First World Nations can have bigger lattes and SUVs.

  6. “Rest for your souls” where? On Earth? Then why does Jesus also say that “In this world you will have troubles”?
    But that aside, your definition of good and evil is naive, if not ignorant. Someone has to decide what’s good and what’s evil. The Chinese government has decided that “good” means only two children per household, therefore countless female babies are left for dead. Why is it good? Beacause there are already too many mouths to feed in the country. Ask an American, and that same policy is evil. What do you think? Is the killing of babies good to save an already too large society, or is it evil? Who decides? You?
    What’s good for one is not good for another.

    • So many problems with this comment, the only way to address it is sentence by sentence.
      “Rest for your souls” where? On Earth? Then why does Jesus also say that “In this world you will have troubles”?
      These aren’t contradictions. I’m not sure why Jesus saying you will have troubles (do you have a Bible verse for this quote?) necessarily means that he doesn’t also want to comfort his followers. In fact, I’m pretty sure the suggestion is that while Christians will be persecuted and abused for their faith, God will give them strength and comfort.
      Are you really suggesting that when Jesus said he would provide rest for the soul and comfort for the weary, he meant, “When you’re dead.” Isn’t that a bit like saying I’ll give you aspirin once your headache goes away. I’ve got to say, you believe in a very bleak and hopeless version of Christianity. I doubt you actually think this is true, I just think you made a stupid comment about my experiences and now you have to hold on tight. I’ve never once heard from any teacher, preacher or believer that Jesus offers no comfort or healing for those on earth. You are way off the range there, and it’s pretty silly how hard you’re clinging to that idea (which is clearly in contradiction to the vast majority of the Bible).

      But that aside, your definition of good and evil is naive, if not ignorant. Someone has to decide what’s good and what’s evil.
      Really, why? That’s making an a priori assumption that there has to be a larger authority. Maybe no one individual gets to decide what is good or evil. That doesn’t mean that morality is relative, only that it isn’t so simple. It’s pretty easy for us to agree that we shouldn’t kill children. Most everyone (in the West for sure) can agree on this. But, then comes the question of abortion. Less people agree that it is wrong, and not because they think killing children is fine, but because they disagree that a fetus counts as an independent life. Whatever your stance on the topic (and I’m pretty sure I can guess it), you have to admit that for humans in general, it isn’t an easy moral question.
      Chinese government has decided that “good” means only two children per household, therefore countless female babies are left for dead. Why is it good? Beacause there are already too many mouths to feed in the country. Ask an American, and that same policy is evil. What do you think? Is the killing of babies good to save an already too large society, or is it evil? Who decides? You?
      This example is really off the topic. What their government is doing isn’t a moral decision, it’s (in their view) an economic/social decision. But, the funny thing is that your example undermines your point. There is a moral reason to do what they are doing: Saving those who are already alive by reducing the numbers of new births. We as Americans find the policy reprehensible, but if the policy is intended to save lives in the long run (by preventing overpopulation and starvation), it becomes a lot harder to flatly call ‘evil.’ It is undesirable and, in my opinion, should be stopped, by I don’t have a solution for their problems. Either millions of fetuses are killed each year, or millions of already-born humans die of starvation. Which is worse? I don’t have an answer for that.
      All your argument proves is that morality isn’t so simple. You might find it appealing to believe that there is somebody up above who always has the absolute right answer, but that doesn’t make it true.
      Besides, which version of God is it that provides the morality? You Christians sure love to talk about the innocent babies and how they are so precious in God’s sight. How do you reconcile that with the God who allows the slaughtering of babies in the old Testament? How do you reconcile your absolute morality with the fact that slavery was allowed in the Bible, even by Jesus (who spoke of it, yet never condemned it)? Even if you claim that Jesus’s crucifixion brought a new covenant and changed the law, that doesn’t change the fact that at one point your moral God allowed rape and murder of innocent people. He even encouraged stoning death for sins like stealing and ‘breaking the Sabbath.’ This is what you call absolute morality?
      Or, would you rather say that there is no such thing as absolute morality? Maybe God changes morals as he pleases. If that is the case, your morality is completely arbitrary and subject to the whim of a clearly capricious God.
      No thank you. I’ll take my morality from common sense and evolved understanding. No, it might not give us easy ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ answers to every question, but it also doesn’t handicap us to outdated and ignorant rules that grew out of fear and prejudice.

      Let me ask you: Do you believe in Justice? Do you believe that Christians should have the right to worship as they please and be free to express their beliefs? Would you vote for such rights? Would you try to help and protect your fellow Christians who were living in parts of the world that persecute or even kill Christians?

  7. Not fetuses…I’m not asking you about abortion. I’m talking already born Chinese female babies left for dead, or to orphanages, which happens by the millions. So a female child left to die in hopes of a male child is what the issue is (and yes it is happening daily.) Is that evil or good? Who decides?

    • Um, I already answered this question. In fact, I wrote a whole lot more of a response, and you seem rather laser-focused on a pretty narrow point.
      Who decides?
      No one decides. There is no Decider. I already explained that I think it’s terrible. I think the systematic murdering of children is evil, and I base that decision on the fact that life is our most precious resource and the propagation of it is our basest need and function. However, the Chinese example is not so cut and dry, because as you’ve already explained, there is (at least, in the official version) a reason for their policy, an attempt to cut down on overpopulation which is leading to other terrible ills in their country (including more deaths). That said, I still think their policy is wrong, it is woefully misguided and horrifically sexist. There are far better ways of finding a solution for their overpopulation problems (including abortion), and I think they absolutely must stop what they are doing.
      Your almost childlike need to have me label something ‘good’ or ‘evil’ seems to be an attempt to sidestep the challenges I’ve thrown at you. You haven’t offered a rebuttal to the fact that Biblical claims to morality are completely bankrupt.
      There are few things in this world that I would label ‘evil.’ What Hitler and the Nazis did to the Jews, Gypsies, Handicap and Homosexuals (among others) was evil. Osama’s attack on 9/11 was evil. The systematic cover-up of child rape by the Catholic church is evil. These are the sorts of things that have no benefit, no upside, they are just selfish, horrific actions taken to further or preserve individual non-vital interests.
      On the other hand, the human rights violations in China are absolutely terrible and must be stopped, but I don’t feel the need to label them ‘evil.’ Cheap labor is helping China’s economy boom and has put it on the world stage, which in turn has lifted many Chinese out of poverty, out of starvation and death. I do not believe the ends justify the means, and I believe China must be forced to end those policies. But I do not think it recognizes the complexity of the issue to call those policies ‘evil.’
      Seeing the world in shades of black and white is a narrow and ultimately fruitless way of approaching life. It might be nice to sit back and never have to think about issues beyond a surface level, to base all opinions on kneejerk reactions, but that kind of thinking is what creates gridlock in debates.
      *Back to the question of who decides.
      Well, society decides, kind of. And as history has told us, morality changes because of that. I’m sure you think slavery is ‘evil’, but if we were having this debate 300 years ago, slavery would have been perfectly ‘good’ in your mindset. We know morals change, we know there is no set standard by which we all live. You would be naive to believe that your morals are based on God’s will and not just a product of the time and place you live in.
      Why don’t you answer that question, because I’ve put it to you a few times now and you never give your opinion (this is the reason I created this questionnaire, because Christian’s are slippery about actually stating what they believe on specific issues): Who decides? Do you believe God dictates morality? Is it absolute? If it is, doesn’t that mean morality exists beyond God, that God himself is subject to it? If it isn’t absolute, doesn’t that just make his dictates arbitrary rules that he can bend and change as he likes (which, as the Bible shows us, he has). Is the Bible how we know God’s will and morality?

  8. What about ghosts? Do you believe in ghosts? There are plenty of eyewitnesses and claims to prove them.

    • Excuse my language, but, what the fuck?
      No. Eyewitness accounts don’t ‘prove’ anything. Just ask anyone who has worked in law enforcement for a few years. Also, I’m not a child.
      If this is your version of the Atheist Questionnaire, let me save you some time: I don’t believe in anything spiritual, I don’t believe in aliens visiting and anally probing, and I don’t believe in Santa Claus. How about you answer some questions now? Or go away if this inanity is all you want to continue with.

  9. Okay, so I’ve been caught. I’ve just been throwing carrots down the rabbit hole to see how many you’d chase. Yes, quite immature I’ll admit, but I must say that it has been amusing. I’ve chuckled a time or two at your rebuttles to these non-scensical questions and comments. I apologize if you are offended.
    In all seriousness let me say that I truly admire your project and I will stay posted as you continue on (God willing of course)
    Look, I am a Bible believing Christian, raised in the Baptist church. I’ve not answered your questions for a few reasons. Number one and foremost, God doesn’t need me to defend him. My debating with you doesn’t prove anything about Him. I know that and you know that. Secondly, I’ve not answered because you probably already know my answers to most of your questions (if you didn’t you wouldn’t call yourself an atheist. You’d just be an “I don’t know and I don’t care kind of person with nothing to debate.) Finally, I’ve not answered, nor will I, because that’s not what I’m called to do. I’m called to give testimony about Jesus Christ and what He did for us on the cross. If you do not believe it, well that’s between you and God, and I can do nothing more than pray for you. Although, I already know your rebuttle to this statement, so don’t bother.
    I would like to leave you with one serious challenge though. No more rabbit holes here (and no, I’m not going to spell it out for you. You can do your own homework on the topic, although I doubt you will, or more likely, you think you already know the answer to it so you’ll just spat off something without really reasearching)
    Here it is: Plenty of people accuse the Bible of having contradictions, therefore it cannot be true. But, what about the various fields of science? There are contradictions between math and biology as to the process of evolution. Physics says one thing is possible while chemistry says it’s impossible. Probability declares a certain truth while astronomy declares the opposite. There are plenty of contradictions that we could talk about, but again, I’ll let you do the research on that.
    Here’s a good read for you. It is not written to prove anything about the exsistance of God. It is a simple scientific book that points out the issues. It’s title is Probability’s Nature and Nature’s Probability by Dr. Donald E. Johnson. If what I assume about you is correct, I think you would enjoy this one, although you being an English and Literature guy may get a bit bored with the math of it all. I don’t know.
    Let me finish with one last thing and I’ll be on my way. You have to admit that you are indeed a guy of faith. Not faith in God, but in evolution. It takes just as much faith to believe in evolution as it does in God. Sure, there is plenty of evidence to point to evolution, the Big Bang, all of that. But, any ‘real’ scientist will tell you that even stacking all of the evidence together still leaves gaps and that in the end it is all still theory. While you can argue that evidence points to evolution, well it is still only pointing if you want to call it that. It does not prove anything beyond a shadow of a doubt. So, we both live by faith…me in God, and you in science.
    Hey, once again dude, sorry for messing with you arlier. I really do admire what your doing with the project. God bless (or science bless, although that doesn’t really roll off the tongue as well 🙂 )

    • The irony of your rabbit holes is that they show just how weak your beliefs are. Belief in Ghosts, belief in UFOs, belief in Santa Claus, they have just as much reason behind them as your belief in God.
      You spend all this time baiting me and asking inane questions, never once answering any of my questions, and your reason is because you don’t believe it will change my mind? Excuse me for saying, but that is cowardice on your part, not prudence. And it also reveals how poorly informed on the subject you must be (the science stuff you bring up does, too, but I’ll get to that). 1 Peter 3:15 says “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” I’ve asked for your reasons, you haven’t given any. Perhaps you do not have them. I haven’t asked you to defend God, I’ve asked you to answer what you believe on certain subjects that are foundational to your beliefs, and you have shied away. I get that you don’t necessarily want to waste hours trying to convince someone of your beliefs (it wouldn’t work), but you came here to my blog challenging me, without the intellectual integrity to participate tit for tat. All the ‘God bless you’s in the world won’t make up for that bad act of faith.
      The contradictions in the Bible serve to prove that it was written by man, not by God. Scientific theories and concepts are ideas that are explained by man, as well. If there is a contradiction in a finding, it proves that either the science was done incorrectly or the original theory was wrong. Science actually thrives on contradictions because they test out the preconceptions and theories. On the other hand, a religion that claims God and the Bible represent absolute truth cannot have contradictions. That is the difference.
      As for these so-called contradictions and your suggested reading, may I suggest books like “Why Evolution is True?” and “The Greatest Show On Earth” which actually deal with the proof for evolution’s validity by pulling confirming evidence from many different fields, not just biology. These are books written by respected members of the scientific community. A doctorate doesn’t automatically make you an expert on anything. Why is it that you IDers always insist on putting ‘Dr’ in front of anybody that agrees with you? I don’t have to list Richard Dawkins’ or Carl Sagan’s educational bonafides every time I mention them because their work speaks for itself. Has Dr. Johnson’s book been vetted and peer reviewed? I can tell you it hasn’t, and I know this because the publisher of his book, Booksurge, is a self-publishing wing of Amazon. If this man’s ideas are valid and this man’s credentials are so great (he is a doctor after all), why hasn’t he taken his work to the scientific community so they can weigh in, instead of putting it out for the uninformed public to soak up? A doctorate in Chemistry doesn’t make you an expert in biology, physics or paleontology. It doesn’t even make you an expert in chemistry.
      Now, of course, you can fall back on that ol’ ID partyline that the scientific community is biased and is in a conspiracy against anything that isn’t Evolution, but that claim holds no merit. Bad science done by bad scientists is never going to get respect, and that’s just how it will always be. The idea that the scientific community rejects out of hand all theories that challenge the existing paradigm is complete bullocks. Just look at what is happening with the faster-than-light neutrino research. If true, it completely undermines the last 80 years of physics, but you don’t see the scientific community ignoring the finding. They are testing it and challenging it, like all good science does.)
      Reading the (all positive) reviews of the book, I notice the readers talking about long-debunked ideas like the irreducible complexity of the flagellum. If the rest of the book is filled with that sort of poor scientific insight, it isn’t worth anyone’s time to read. (It’s telling that the only google results for the good doctor all lead back to his own website or the popular ID blogs. He has not foothold in the real scientific community or publishing world.)
      Equating the acceptance of scientific fact with faith is dead wrong. There are things I have to take on faith because they are far more advanced then I could ever know or I just can’t test it myself (I can’t go to the sun and measure if it really is 27 million degrees), but evolution is not trusted on faith. Scientists use evolution to make thousands upon thousands of predictions about our biological world, and time and time again those predictions are affirmed (everything from modern germ theory to genetic science is both predicted by evolution science and validates it). You claim we take science on faith, but I bet you a million dollars when you get cancer, you’ll go to a doctor who will use science to help cure you, not prayers.
      If Christians could make even one consistent prediction about their God and his abilities, it would be a true miracle.
      I don’t know what ‘real’ scientists you mean (I’m guessing IDers and people who have to put Dr. in front of their name to be taken seriously), but no, most scientists will not say there are gaps in our understanding. There are certainly questions that we haven’t answered and problems that we haven’t solved, but those are no more gaps in modern scientific theories than saying the second half of a basketball game represents a ‘gap’ in the first half. Incomplete knowledge doesn’t mean the knowledge we do have is faulty.
      May I ask you, how many actual science books have you read? Not just the ones recommended to you by your ID ideologues, but peer-reviewed and properly vetted books published by legitimate publishers? The one book that even remotely fits that bill that you IDers all come back to is Behe’s “Darwin’s Black Box,” a book whose peer review process was shown to be basically non-existent and has been widely discredited by fellow scientists over the years.
      (I realize you never once mentioned ID, but that was where this was going, and I can tell by your reference that you are a believer in that poor excuse for a scientific theory.)
      I appreciate the well wishes on my project, and I do hope you keep an interest in the blog, even if I write things you disagree with. I like a good intellectual debate and wish you had been more willing to participate in this one (not to convince me or you, but just because debate is good for the mind). But I don’t seek prayers or blessings. That time would be better spent off your knees and helping out your fellow man.
      Cheers.

  10. 1. Is there a personal God (a God who is involved in the lives of individuals)?
    Yes, there is a God who is involved in the lives of individuals, peoples, infants, animals, trees, rocks, molecules, etc. I believe in a Super-personal God.
    2. Is God omnipotent? Omnipresent? Omniscient?
    God is omnipotent, which would infer omnipresent and omniscient, in a similar way as a writer is in complete control of his/her created world. Nothing happens in the story that the author is unaware of. The metaphor has its limitations, but effectually, I see no reason to suspect that God is limited in his power or even his creativity.
    3. Is God perfect (infallible)?
    God can do no wrong, if that’s what you’re asking. For two reasons, if God said, “The sky is green”, the sky would be defaulted to green. But also, there is no malice or envy or greed or even need in God, so all of his motivations are good, all of his actions are benevolent, and all of this choices are wise.
    4. Was Jesus God?
    Yes, Jesus was, remains now, and will be forever God.
    5. What did Jesus do (what was his purpose)? What was the purpose of the crucifixion? Was he resurrected?
    Jesus purpose is not limit in scope, so any summary of his purpose would in some way reflect personal reflections. One stated purpose of Jesus’ limited life on Earth was to proclaim the reality of God’s Kingdom, release of the oppressed, healing for the sick, good news to the poor. His crucifixion likewise will have a variety of purposes, and different purposes of depending on whose perspective you are getting. To the Romans, the crucifixion happened to keep the peace and put to death someone who had been accused of plotting against the Empire. For his disciples, it meant that Jesus was not the messiah they were waiting for. Which is why the resurrection, which I do believe in, was so important for them. It meant that he not only might be, but truly was, the messiah and that his work and message about the Kingdom of Heaven was validated.
    6. Is the Bible the inerrant Word of God? Is it meant to be taken literally? Is the New Testament?
    The Bible is a collection of divinely inspired writings, spanning thousands of years in authorship and taking on dozens of literary forms and devices. The word literally is often misunderstood as well. Odysseus ‘literally’ seduced by the Sirens, but Sirens don’t ‘literally’ exist. So my understanding of the Bible is that it is inerrant in its message, within the scope of its purpose, in the context of its literary form, in its original form. There may be numbers which have been irrecoverably altered from its original form, or there may be numbers which have metaphorical significance. The Psalms say that the Cattle on 1000 hills belongs to the Lord. This doesn’t mean we need to investigate as to which ones are his and then mark them so as to not trespass on them. The number 1000 in the bible often symbolizes infinity or everything. It’s also important to understand who is speaking and who is receiving the message when deciding on the meaning of a text. One psalmist remarks that he would enjoy seeing the children of his enemies’ heads being smashed on rocks. This doesn’t mean that his view is proper or ethical. Job remarks that “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away.” But we are not told that Job is a prophet, or even that he is a historical figure. In fact, in context, he is wrong. It’s the devil who is taking away his family, servants, and livestock. The extent to which we are to take literally things written in the bible can very often be contextually determined. Job appears out of nowhere. He is a Godly man, but he has no genealogy, there is no indication that he is Jewish, no one after him is supposed to have descended from him. The story reads very much like a myth of some other people group than the Hebrews. It’s likely that it was adopted from some other culture and altered slightly. With all that said, it’s a really significant story which teaches a lot about early Jewish conceptions of God, the Devil, natural disasters, etc. I see no reason why it wouldn’t be based on some true event that had happened, but it’s purpose for having been written is not to present historical facts in the way that I&II Kings, Chronicles, and the Gospels are. As for the new testament, it is obviously intended to be read as historic (though Jesus had a tendency to speak in poetic, hyperbolic, and metaphorical ways), the letters were mostly doctrinal, and the prophetic literature takes on the Apocalyptic form which had been around for hundreds of years already.
    7. Is the Bible meant to be understood by anyone who reads it, or are there those who are better equipped to understand and teach it?
    Being able to read makes one better equipped to read the bible. Of course there are novices as well as scholars when it comes to biblical understanding. There are also other factors. The bible claims that foolish men cannot tolerate instruction or discipline. If this is true, it would mean that being wise would make someone better equipped to understand the text. Some people are more naturally talented teachers, some people have degrees of education in teaching, so yes some people are better at teaching than others. Lastly, there is a huge gap in between the ability for someone who is being indwelled by the Holy Spirit to read the bible and someone who is either empty or filled with other spirits. In the same way, someone who drank a gallon of water and someone who drank a gallon of moonshine are differently equipped to operate a car. Or to put it another way, someone walking into a bright flashlight sees things very differently than someone who holds and operates the flashlight. One person is blinded by it, the other is made to see by it. The last difference is one of experience with the material related in the text. Two examples: first, a poor man living in the slums of Calcutta and a rich man living in a gated community in Gross Pointe, MI have different experiences for which to understand the call of the Gospel to give up all you know and have to follow Jesus. Second, a person who has experienced the forgiveness of God given through the blood of Christ can understand the words, “I once was blind but now I see,” or “Blessed is he who brings good news,” than someone who has not and has little personal context to understand the words. With all that said, I’ll contend that there is a plainness to much of the text of the bible for which some level of understanding could be ascertained by anyone: children, mobsters, bakers, and presidents.
    8. Does the New Testament supersede the Old Testament? Should we understand the OT as history and the NT as God’s will?
    The New Testament and Old Testament are both witness of the same God. They work as a team more than anything. There is a falsehood that the Old Testament is all about Judgment and the New Testament is all about grace. There is plenty of grace in the Old Testament and plenty of Judgment in the New. However, that is not to say that they are to be read, understood, or followed in the same way. Each book within the testaments had its own historical context in which it was written. The story of Abraham’s near sacrifice of his son Isaac took place in a time and culture when human sacrifices to gods were common, the ancient Sumerians of the early 3rd millennium BC. The killing of Jesus, likewise, took place in a time and place when crucifixion was common for an enemy of the Roman Empire. It was God’s will to change the belief of the early Hebrew people from one where people need to sacrifice their children to the gods to one where, “The Lord Provides.” We are still to know and believe that the Lord does in fact provide. Now, as far as moral instruction goes. The advent of Jesus was a fulfilling of an old set of rules and the necessary commencement of a new moral paradigm. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth was and is a great rule to live by. Repay only the necessary amount of evil to resolve an issue and no more. The summary of that sort of rule might look like, “Don’t do anything to another person that you wouldn’t want done to you,” which is a great rule to live by. However, Jesus moral message improved the old moral code. So now instead of taking an eye as payment for an eye taken, we are to repay good for evil. This is a higher form of morality that does not replace the old law like switching from drinking coffee to drinking tea. It simply overshadows the old law in a way that doesn’t leave much room for the old to have any practical function. Parts of the Old Law as well were merely rules for the Jewish people to follow to function as disguising characteristics for the Hebrew people. Clothing, diet, rituals, sacrifices, celebrations, observations, etc were improved as well for new distinguishing features for the global Israel which includes both Jews and Gentiles.
    9. Does God change his mind? What does it mean in the Bible when it says God changed his mind (Genesis 6:6, Exodus 32:14, etc.)?
    Yes God changes His mind. Often due to some form of interaction with one of his people. It would seem that God could have had the intended outcome in mind the whole time, but then there would exist a logical inconsistent paradox. There must be a way in which God allows people to influence his decisions. This would of course rely on God’s self-imposed flexibility. He needs no council and can gain nothing personally by foreign influence. It is by pure love for his creation that he allows them to sway his decisions.
    10. Is there a heaven? A hell? Does Satan exist? Are there angels and demons?
    Heaven exists, it is by definition the “space” in which God exists. So the existence of God necessitates the existence of heaven. Hell would be any other space or consciousness or existence in which God does not dwell or rule. If there is such a place, I can’t imagine it would be spatial or temporal. Whereas heaven would in the same way be super spatial and super temporal. The bible described this super existence as being “From everlasting to everlasting”, or in other words, filling up and extending well beyond all of time and space as we know it. I believe in evil, and I believe that evil actively opposes the will of God. This active opposition might as well have a name, and I’m not totally opposed to this named, active opposition to be intelligent and have its own determination and desires. This force has been called Satan, and is first and foremost not an equal/opposite enemy of God. Let’s get that idea out of the way right out. God has no equal, and Christianity is not a dualistic religion. I take pause at the idea that, should the devil have a consciousness, he would have any kind of consciousness like we know or like we believe God has. The bible describes him as a wandering lion, devouring anything that he can sink his teeth into. I take it in faith that he was once an angelic creature that turned from God and was expelled from heaven. It makes sense, since he could not share God’s eternal quality. I do not believe, however, that any creature that rejects God for any extended period of time could keep that divine quality which we call Human. The same idea goes for humans who reject God in the end. Their destination is hell. It’s eternal in the sense that there is no coming back from that state, but I don’t think it’s eternal in the sense of “lasting forever”. A person remains themselves in the sense that there is some form of continuity of identity from the previous Earthly state, but the person could be more described as an idea of the thing which imprisoned him than an actual person. Those who die by the sin of anger would become more and more angry until that person could be called a personification of anger itself. There is no person left, just an angry creature. On the other hand, a heavenly person would become more and more human and free until what you see in front of you is a Man with a capital M.
    11. Are there sinners? Is there Original Sin? Do we need salvation?
    Yes, there are sinners. If you’ve never met one, then I’d like to introduce myself to you at last. Original sin is a very difficult topic. What most Christians would agree on is that Adam and Eve were the original sinners and that Adam carried the bulk of the blame for their iniquity, while Eve carried the curse of death along with her husband. What I mean by this is that, whoever our biological prime ancestors were, they made a decision to reject God, and it has impacted all humans since, in our individual selves, in our personal relationships, and in our culture. This is to mean that we not only teach each other sinful ways, but if a person was born and grew up with solely with the aid of monkeys, that child would still be hardwired in a way to reject good and embrace evil. We need salvation on all of these levels. We need personal salvation, relationship salvation, and cultural salvation. C.S. Lewis put it like this. In order for a fleet of ships to sail across the Atlantic, each individual ship needs to be properly functioning or they will sink, there needs to be some coordination and rules for travel or they’ll run into each other and sink, and they need to have a clear idea of where to go and how to get there or they’ll wander aimlessly on the ocean until they run out of resources or hit some reef or iceberg and sink.
    12. Is prayer a way of speaking directly to God? Does it work? If God can answer prayer with ‘Yes’, ‘No’, or ‘Later’, doesn’t that mean God will do what he wants and your prayers do not affect his decision?
    Prayer is not a way to speak directly to God; prayer is speaking directly to God. Asking me if it works is a nonsensical question. God works, and we work, and communication works, but prayer itself is nothing. If however you mean, do the traditional ways in which we pray, humbling ourselves, finding quiet spaces, giving God due thanks and praise, work in opening better communication with God, then I would say yes. The second part of the question is even more nonsensical. Just because God can say yes or no to our requests doesn’t mean his choices are not impacted by our petitions. How nonsensical would it be if my son told me that his requests for a new bike must be useless because occasionally I reserve the right to deny him candy whenever he asks for it.
    13. Does God perform miracles? Has he ever? If he did in the past but not now (or not to the same degree), why?
    If by miracle you mean, does God sometimes personally influence the material universe, then I’d say yes. If you mean in the since Hume did, that miracles are a violation of the laws of nature, I’d disagree with that. I don’t know what you mean by asking less than he did in the past. I don’t suppose there was ever a time in which God consistently and rampantly performed miracles outside of the handful of prophets that he worked through and of course when he lived and preached in ancient Palestine Himself. I can’t say to what degree he does so now either. I can say however that I believe the reason he doesn’t personally influence the laws of nature all the time, here there and everywhere is that it would be improbable that we would come to believe in natural laws otherwise, and therefore we would be incapable of recognizing His work when it really is him doing it.
    14. Did God create the universe? Do you believe in the literal 6,000-10,000 year interpretation of the Bible, or do you accept the scientific evidence for evolution? Was evolution by Natural Selection his method?
    Yes God is the designer, creator, protector, and sustainer of this universe. I believe the universe is just north of 14 billion years old and that the Earth is somewhere more like 4 billion years old. I believe in natural history and the development of complex cells from less complex ones. I don’t believe in the myth of evolution though, by which I mean the story of the struggling aquatic animal that is forced out of the ocean due to lack of resources and develops lungs in order to process oxygen more effectively. I don’t believe in the giraffe, whose ancestor split up from the other horse like creatures and grew his neck longer over the course of many generations in order to compete. For those leaves on the upper canopy. And I certainly don’t believe in the struggling biped who developed logic, art, and morals to undercut his competition and find better ways of surviving with his unpredictable neighbors. These stories are in the truest sense, science fiction. They exist as a sort of “evolution of the gaps”, explaining the why because science hasn’t yet given us one. We may well one day discover that the development of single celled proteins to rational sentience is as natural as the development of an acorn into a tree. However, I don’t just believe that trees come from acorns, I also believe that acorns come from trees.
    15. If you believe in Young Earth Creation, what do you make of the overwhelming scientific evidence and consensus in favor of a universe that is billions and billions of years old?
    N/A
    16. Is faith good? Why does God require we interact with him entirely on faith?
    The question “is faith good” is as silly to me as if I asked you, “Do shoes taste sweet?” I don’t generally taste my shoes. I don’t assume that my shoes would taste the same to everyone, and I also don’t assume that there is only one type of shoe. I do believe that faith can be a legitimate form of knowledge. Knowledge is a justified, true, belief, and I think faith is as well. I don’t suppose that God requires us to interact with him entirely on faith, so I would not be the one to give an explanation as to why that is.
    17. Does God provide proof for his existence? What is it? Can that proof be interpreted in more ways than the way you interpret it?
    God provides proof for his existence. You are one of those proofs. You can interpret yourself anyway you choose. I interpret myself as well as yourself as proof of the existence of God.
    18. Are other religions and faiths wrong? Can Christianity coincide with other religions?
    A religion that denies that Jesus is the unique son of God and that he died and rose again would be wrong in that doctrine. Religions of the world however are overwhelmingly similar, and their similarities outweigh their differences substantially. They disagree on the points where you’d expect: Is there a world which is invisible to us, what does it look like, what sort of things happened before written history, and what will the future look like. Basically ways in which there is no real way of knowing other except for hints here and there. Even so, they are substantially similar in many ways even in these areas.
    19. If there is only one true faith, how do you know it is Christianity?
    I believe in Christianity primarily because I believe in certain historical, empirical facts that are uniquely believed by Christians. The life and death of Jesus, and by far the most important fact, that he died on the cross and physically rose from the dead. Other supplemental reasons mostly have to do with the fact that this resurrection and its implications best make sense of the world in which I find myself living.
    20. If all faiths are equal, why follow any religion?
    N/A
    21. Can a person be happy without God? If not, why are there happy atheists/agnostics? If a Christian is unhappy or depressed, does that mean they are not truly Christian?
    By far the happiest religion is self worship. I don’t see happiness as any determining factor in the authenticity of a belief. Otherwise I would believe that chocolate was the healthiest thing food in the world. That would make me happier. I believe Christianity to be true, and I would believe it for that reason even if it should make me very sad or angry or lethargic. However, knowledge of Jesus, and more importantly, to be known by him does happen to bring me much joy and contentment.
    22. Since there are happy and successful non-Christians and unhappy and unsuccessful Christians, what is the purpose of Christianity?
    Again, there seems to be a consistency in these questions that reveal a belief in the questioner that historical fact is not a significant reason for choosing a religion. If I must give a primary purpose for Christianity, it would be a living and transformative organism which exists to reverse the effects of sin and evil which have broken lives, relationships and entire societies.
    23. Is there such thing as a ‘real’ Christian and a ‘false’ Christian? How do you determine the difference?
    Anyone who believes in Christ as the living God is a Christian, I suppose there may be a difference in whether someone really or falsely believes this, but I don’t know what that would mean exactly. Instead of real and false Christians, I would use the terms Good and Bad Christians. Ones that are successfully transformed in mind and heart, and those who have difficulty or fail completely. Again, there may be some surface ways of seeing these qualities played out, but it will remain a mystery for us who is being transformed and who is not. The only person I need to worry about anyway would be myself. It’s up to me to be a Good Christian or a Bad Christian.
    24. Is your version of Christianity the only true one? How do you know? If there are multiple versions of Christianity that can be considered ‘true’, what is the one basic tenet that makes a person a Christian?
    Again, there is a basic belief in the resurrection of the son of God that makes a Christian a Christian. That’s not MY version of Christianity as much as it is the definition of Christianity. There seems to be some versions that come closer in some areas to the Apostles teachings about Jesus, but luckily there are no perfect churches. I believe in true, healthy, and orthodox teachings which Christians ought to believe, but God’s purpose in making Christians isn’t to make sure a bunch of people believe the same things. I’m not too concerned about discerning who is out and who is in. We all have to face the judgment for ourselves.
    25. If you had to sum up Jesus’ teachings into one or two sentences, what would it be?
    Believe in me. Follow me. Abide in me.
    26. Should the teachings of Jesus hold more importance than those of Paul or the other New Testament writers?
    Yes
    27. If you listen to or read the teachings of modern Christian writers, how do you decide which ones you like and which ones you dismiss? How do you know you aren’t just seeking out teachers who tell you what you already believe?
    When I first believed in Christ and understood his presence in my life, I felt a certain thing that no other substance or material or meditation could reproduce. It was a thin place between God and me, heaven and Earth. I’d call that presence, “Truth”. In all honesty, my life’s goal is to chase that feeling, or in other words, seek truth. Certain authors do it for me and some don’t. I’m not saying the ones that don’t are liars or ungodly, and I’m not saying that the ones that do are saints, but that’s the way it plays out, and many of the teachers that I’ve come to love and admire are heroes of Christianity.
    Finally:
    Why did God create such a complicated system with the possibility of human manipulation and error all in order to bring ‘salvation’ to a creation he loves when he could have saved everyone the trouble and just created us happy and perfect and put us in a Garden of Eden with no forbidden fruit? If his love for us is unconditional, couldn’t he have created that kind of love in us for him?
    I don’t make a habit of asking questions as to why God did something. I especially don’t ask why God didn’t do something else. With that said, I don’t see how you can have true loving, sentient creatures without giving them a legitimate choice to love or not to love. You can train a dog to love you as easy as giving it some bacon. You can’t create a creature which is free to love you or not, and yet take away any possibility for that person to choose against you.

    • I appreciate you taking the time to answer the questions thoroughly and with respect. I really don’t have much interest in debating any of your responses, as the point of the questionnaire is to facilitate an already in progress debate, not to a new one.

      That said, I will offer a couple thoughts. One, you use a lot of metaphors which is a very popular rhetorical device, but too many metaphors, and too many off-the-wall ones (“do shoes taste sweet”) obscure your meaning, they don’t clarify. I’d be aware that if you can’t express a point clearly on its own, reverting to metaphors to fill in the gaps is a problem. I think mostly you do a good enough job explaining your points so that you don’t need metaphors, but there are occasions when you seem to expect them to do the heavy lifting and your point is lost.

      Secondly, some of the questions that you call “nonsense” are clearly not nonsense. You are approaching them from an a priori assumption that everything you believe is the truth, but the point of this questionnaire is to establish what you believe. As you can see, many other Christians have commented on this thread and your answers don’t all agree, so no question, no matter how common sense it might seem, is without merit when you’re trying to nail down what a Christian believes.

      Finally, you talk about the ‘historical facts’ of Jesus but dismiss the evolution narratives as myth. This is a revealing (and confounding) stance. What are the historical facts that you refer to? I wasn’t aware any existed outside of the Bible (which is hardly a convincing artifact). It’s actually quite fitting that you use the giraffe as an example, because it represents one of the strongest arguments for evolution by natural selection. The ‘laryngeal nerve‘ of the giraffe, as illustrated in the video, is strong evidence of un-intelligent design, or rather, blind evolution.

      Obviously, by your answers, you are not going to be convinced out of your faith: “I don’t make a habit of asking questions as to why God did something. I especially don’t ask why God didn’t do something else.” Not questioning is precisely the problem I have with faith.

      But, again, I thank you for taking the time to answer the questions.

      • Thanks for the response. I just saw this post when looking for one of those “Agree/Disagree” questionnaires to discover what kind of Christian I am. I don’t know because I move a lot and I usually just go to a local place, whether or not I agree or disagree with the services and things like that. I’ve been a Christian now for almost nine years, and I think that it’s time to plant some roots. I’ve been leaning toward Eastern Orthodoxy, but something seems strange about an American who joins a church that is really just for people from a geographic region. I saw, “Christianity Questionnaire” and decided to give it a go. It took a couple hours, but reading over it I wish I had done more editing. I let my metaphors do the heavy lifting for the sake of brevity, and I see exactly what you mean about not really hitting my points. I love this sort of thinking a lot. I was a philosophy major in college, and it’s been a while since I’ve really written out my thoughts in this sort of form. It was fun, but I didn’t want to go on and on. I figured from your previous posts that you’ve heard a lot of the arguments already, and you could likely guess the rest of my line of thinking from the first couple of sentences.

        I should have clarified when something seemed like nonsense TO ME. As soon as I read the question “Is Faith Good?” All I could think was how strange of a question it is. My faith may be good for me. It may be occasionally good. It may seem good but be bad. It may only be contextually relevant, but ultimately useless. And others may have completely different experiences. The faith of the KKK cause lynchings. The faith of Hitler in God and in himself led to world war and mass graves. This kind of faith is best when it’s weakest. Anyway, the first thing I thought of was “Do shoes taste sweet.” I may have done better to leave that out.

        The word Blind or Random, like in the case of the Giraffe, is exactly my point, which leads me to believe I did a poor job explaining myself. I believe in a seemingly blind or random evolution. I don’t think that evolution has some consciousness of its own. That would seem to me to be a sort of pantheistic explanation. My point was that it is science fiction when the discovery channel says that this creature developed this or that trait due to limited resources or determination or competition. My unstated point, which I should have mentioned to be clear, is that I’m not convinced that random or blind necessarily means “in the absence of loving provision”. To take another example, I believe that God’s provision decides at conception who becomes a boy and who becomes a girl. I also believe science when it says that it’s a random lottery which happens almost instantaneously at conception. There is evidence emerging that the event that we thought was based on outstanding chance, the formation of the first simple, living proteins, was in one way blind and random, but in another way completely natural and likely to happen again. Almost as if life, or the emergence of it from non-living materials, is as natural and as random as the formation and collapse of gases and particles, and the fusion of atoms which make stars. There is no “natural” law that we know of that necessitates the formation of stars, galaxies, etc., but they are numerous and everywhere none-the-less.

        Lastly, and again thanks for the discussion, when I said I don’t make a habit of asking why God does anything. It doesn’t mean I don’t, and it doesn’t mean there wasn’t a major point in my life at the age of 21 when I felt the call of God, which I had to wrestle with for a long time before I finally gave in and admitted that He is who He is and nothing I do is going to change that. What I should have said is that I’ve learned that it’s best to let God be Himself and do what He believes is best.

        Peace.

      • Sorry for the long delayed response. I’d offer a reason why, but who cares.

        I’m going to ignore most of what you said because it’s religion and I don’t really care about it.

        Evolution is the only topic here that interests me. It’s the only one that isn’t a fairy tale.

        “I don’t think that evolution has some consciousness of its own.”

        This suggest to me that you don’t understand evolution. There isn’t a single evolutionary biologist that has ever suggested that evolution has a consciousness or a will. Natural selection is blind and indifferent to consequences. As you’ve already accepted, the earth has been around for billions of years, and life for hundreds of millions. That amount of time is pretty much incomprehensible from a human point of view, and it is exactly that enormity that allows the blind chance (with the selecting factor of survival) of evolution to form life. If you want hard science, I’d recommend not getting it from your television, but if you insist, when the Discovery Channel says “this creature developed this or that trait due to limited resources or determination or competition” it is not saying that some disembodied force picked a trait in order for it to survive. It’s saying that a thousand options were available, and the ones that were best suited to get past an obstacle made it through.

        This isn’t a great analogy (and I’ve already explained why I dislike them), but I’ll try one out:

        Imagine you have a colander. That’s a natural selective force (like, say, a lion). You pour your pot of noodles in the colander and what happens? The noodles stay and the water passes through. Then you eat the noodles, and goodbye noodles, but the water continues on because its form allows it to slip through. Noodles are great. Water is great. They both have their purposes, but in this particular case, one slips through and the other doesn’t.

        Well, that’s evolution. It isn’t that a slow, bulky animal doesn’t have its purpose and couldn’t be a very good animal in certain circumstances. But on the African tundra, it’s going to get eaten by the lion while the gazelle gets away.

        The thing about evolution is while some of it is counterintuitive, the aspect of it that most people seem to get hung up on is really common sense: If something is better adapted to its environment, it will survive longer and thus have a better chance to pass on its genes, no outside intelligence needed. I don’t know if you have a brother, but for instance, say you do, and you are the good looking one and he is the ugly one. That natural trait is going to give you a better chance of mating than him. That doesn’t mean he won’t mate, but spread over a million years, the percentage of times attractive males mate compared to unattractive ones is going to be considerably higher. That is natural selection in a nutshell.

        (That was such a simplistic and random analogy that I expect Richard Dawkins to walk in and slap me, but I think it conveys the idea).

        You are right that there is no natural law that necessitates the formation of stars. And as many stars as there are, there is a trillion (a gazillion?) times more empty space. The problem with Christians is that why they like to think their God is infinite, they always seem to think in terms that are so finite. Pure random chance in a universe so large will mean improbable things will happen, like stars, planets and even humans.

        (A astrophysicists would probably have a better response to your argument about the unlikely existence of stars, but that just isn’t on my resume.)

    • Indeed. And with that simple internet post, I have found salvation. Congratulations, doing the bare minimum has paid off, yet again.

    • “Logic and reasoning doesn’t happen there.” Yeah, that sounds about right.

      I’m not sure what the point of this is. Lots of people have ‘near death experiences.’ What’s interesting is that this one isn’t the same as other ones I’ve heard (I mean, they’re are superficial similarities, but it’s definitely different). So, does everyone have their own separate heaven? Or is this the definitive one, and that little boy who ‘died and went to heaven’ is just full of crap?

      Or, maybe, this coma patient had an intense dream because his neurons were going haywire, not that all different than a bad trip, and his brain pieced together images from a familiar mythology.

      There’s a reason videos like this aren’t convincing to anyone who isn’t already convinced.

  11. I came across your page here, and well, some interesting points if view from both sides. One thing that I’m stuck on though is your comment about halfway down the page regarding aliens. I don’t want to put words in your mouth and take your statement out of context so I’ll just ask. Do you believe in extraterrestrial life?

    • That depends what you mean. IF you mean, do I believe that we are visited by aliens here on Earth, that people are abducted or that aliens helped build the pyramids or any of that utter nonsense, then no.
      If you simply mean, do I believe in the possibility of life on other planets, then yes. Considering the size and diversity of the universe, I know it is not only possible but probable that life evolved on other planets, and somewhere there is probably intelligent life. Will it look like anything we would recognize as life? Maybe, maybe not. I certainly enjoy myself some Star Trek, but it is highly unlikely that we will ever come across another species that is ‘humanoid.’
      So, short answer, yes, I believe in extraterrestrial life, and no, I don’t think we’re likely to ever meet any (other than microbes).

  12. How can you believe in something that is impossible to prove? To just say that it is possible, well okay. But to say that you believe in it without any conceivable way to prove or disprove it, well that’s a bit crazy (I don’t mean to say you’re crazy, just the belief in the unprovable) Don’t you think?

    • It’s a nice attempt Jane, but you’re not really putting in the effort to make this a fun one.

      I never said I believe in Aliens. I said that the existence of extraterrestrial life is probable. It’s not a statement of faith, it’s a math conclusion.

      I’ll explain probability to you: If I roll a single die (one dice) 10 times, the odds are good that at least one of those times I’ll roll a number higher than a 3. Therefore, if I say before rolling the die, “I believe I will get a 4, 5 or 6 in the next 10 rolls,” I am not making a ‘faith’ statement, I am making a probability statement.

      We know that the universe is massive and filled with planets. We know that there are some planets capable of sustaining life (Mars, actually, to mention just one example close to home), some that even appear to be similar to Earth. When I say that extraterrestrial life is possible, therefore, I am merely pointing out that the cosmic die is set up with a good chance of rolling life.

      God is not only unprovable (and unfalsifiable; a sure sign of a bad theory), but the concept doesn’t even give itself to the parameters of probability because anyone can call anything they want God and that’s God. The very concept of God is a philosophical whack-a-mole, and for every version of it that reason knocks down, some other head pops up.

      Debating the existence of God can be amusing (as a mental exercise, I do it from time to time), but it’s rather pointless. Debating the tenets of Christianity is a little more feasible, but since every Christian has their own slightly (or extremely) tweaked version of the faith, it’s hard to know what particular beliefs one is debating. Hence the Christian Questionnaire.

  13. You bring up probability. What’s the probability that life happened here on Earth? Most scientists put it in the 1 in 10 to the 40th power if they’re on the conservative side. Many put it at even higher odds. So, what’s the probablility that it happened twice, or more than that, in the same universe? It’s not only next to impossible…according to modern math it is impossible. And yes, you did say you believe in extraterrestrial life. Re-read your post.

    • In my ‘short answer’ I said yes I believe in Extraterrestrial life, but as my ‘long answer’ laid out, I was talking of probability.

      But okay, let’s talk probability. Where do you get your numbers? An ID message board, methinks. Well, here’s a refutation of your numbers:

      http://www.evolutionfaq.com/articles/probability-life

      Also, you do realize how vast the universe is, right? We’re talking billions of stars, with the possibility of trillions of planets. So, no, according to ‘modern math’ (what is that, by the way?), it isn’t impossible.

      Great minds like Carl Sagan and Neil Degrasse Tyson, who know what they’re talking about, have said that life on other planets, somewhere, is not just possible, but probable. So whatever blogger or Discovery Institute link you might have pulled your numbers from may not be the most reputable of sources.

  14. Actually, my numbers come from the exact same website you have listed. That the probablility of life happening here on Earth is 1 in 10 to the 40th, minus all the amino acid speculation as to what the ocean contained 450 million years ago.
    Also, is the Universe really as big as it seems? Quantum physics would seem to suggest that it’s all just a hologram.

    • No, Quantum Physics doesn’t suggest that it is all a hologram. That one version of String Theory speculates about something known as the ‘holographic principle’ doesn’t mean that the observed universe isn’t there.

      Astrophysicists are largely in agreement that the universe contains billions of stars and trillions of planets.

      It’s funny that you mention Quantum Physics, because one prominent theory of QP is that we are part of a multi-verse in which every permeation of our universe exists, which greatly ups the odds of life forming. At least one version of this universe was bound to have life. Maybe even life in multiple areas.

      The IDists love to take one theory out of context, ignoring everything else. You use the scientists’ numbers of probability, but ignore “all the amino acid speculation.” So, if it doesn’t fit with your belief, you just toss it out because you don’t want to believe it. Where do you think those numbers for probability come from? They’re just “speculation” too. The existence of amino acids in the atmosphere fits with observed data and proposed theories. If by ‘speculation’ you mean ‘scientific theory,’ then, yeah, it’s just a speculation.

      The whole ‘hologram’ thing is, itself just a speculation, but you have no problem trotting that out. You’re inconsistent, no surprise. You pick and choose whatever scientific concept you poorly understand to hold up a belief in God, and then ignore anything (even aspects of the theory you’re suggesting) that would fly in the face of your preconceived notions. It’s bad science, and it’s bad debating.

  15. Re-read my posts. I’ve mentioned nothing of God or my beliefs. You are arguing against the unknown. I’ve not debated anything with you, just asked a couple questions and thrown out a theory. BTW, I wasn’t even talking about String Theory. So, without any notion of what you are debating against, you’re letting it fly and making all sorts of accusations. Interesting. Is that how you approach life? Assuming that all the world is against you? Here’s what I would speculate about you from you’re previous posts and life history…and I may be wrong…but I’m going to play your game for a minute.
    Something happened to you in your past that you are still hurt over, mad about, broken phycologically. You blame the church, or God, whatever you want to call it, for what happened to you. You then took to prove that because you were hurt there couldn’t possibly be any truth in what you once believed. From there alcohol, probably drugs, definitely porn, became your gods. Those are the things that make you feel alive now. The moving from city to city is your way of running from the past. Because you have done this for so long you’ve now convinced yourself to believe something new from what you once did.
    None of this may be right. But this is pretty much the way you have approached every above post I’ve read. So if you’re insulted, terribly sorry, but what’s good for the goose is good for the gander…or is it people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. IDK

    • Nice try, but your dime store attempt at psychoanalysis is filled with the same sort of bullshit cliches that Christians always assume about atheists, once again revealing that you are merely parroting the thoughts of people who have told you what to think. “None of this may be right” is the only smart thing you’ve written.

      You actually did mention God, in that your first post was a video about a man dying and going to heaven and seeing the Christian God. (You also claim that alcohol, drugs and porn are my ‘gods’ which proves you believe in god because an atheist/agnostic wouldn’t use that hackneyed phrase.) Your beliefs are irrelevant, though they’re pretty easy to guess based on your arguments. It’s a coward’s method of debate who won’t actually take a stand. This whole, “I was just asking questions” thing is stupid and dishonest and people who aren’t willing to come out from anonymity and engage are a waste of time. You can pretend you’re a modern day Socrates, but you’re a simpleton with no original ideas. I created the “Christian Questionnaire” in order to make these sorts of debates more transparent and beneficial to the dialogue, and here you are proving why it matters. You, “Jane,” are gutless.

      By the way:

      All of your arguments are a way of claiming that life couldn’t have come about my pure chance. Therefore, you must be arguing for a creative agent (“god”). Even if that isn’t “your belief” (but it clearly is), that’s what your arguments are asserting. If I aim to knock down that tentpole while also refuting your direct arguments, so be it.

      The notion that the universe is a hologram comes from a version of String Theory. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t type the words, that’s what you were referencing. Although it doesn’t surprise me that you don’t know that, you probably don’t even understand what you’re talking about. Once again, someone has clearly been feeding you your ‘counterarguments’ and you are just the dutiful parrot, spouting off ideas too big for you to grasp.

      I don’t like wasting my time ‘debating’ people without the intellectual integrity to take a stand and fight for what they actually believe. It’d be one thing if you were challenging me with new and original thoughts, but you’re just reheating old and older arguments that have been answered long before. Go take your hemlock, Socrates, and save the debating for people who have spines.

    • No, not a good idea to throw stones at people whose ideology we disagree with, it’s a lose lose situation. We’re all brief time travellers, ideas come and go, everything comes to pass, we all live on a tiny rock spinning in a cosmic soup. We do our best, it’s all we can do. Be nice to everyone, give them the benefit of the doubt, you never know when you need a friend, whether he’s a traditional farmer, a rational scientist, a feeling christian, a buddhist monk, a sufi mystic, a pagan, a sophisticated city person, or a jungle dweller with an std. Everything depends on where you live and how developed your co-operational skills and interests have been enlarged . We learn from each other, how to be, all the time. Love life, it’s grand, it’s terrible, wonderful and everything inbetween.

      • No, not an actual philosophy, just a bunch of bumper stickers strewn together. You’re not saying anything more than “live and let live.” Other than the fact that this questionnaire isn’t ‘throwing stones,’ it’s merely asking questions, it’s also ridiculous to say that we just let everyone do/believe whatever they want.

        Yes, it’s true, there are plenty of people of faith that just live their lives and don’t let their faith affect the world, but all over the world (and in America) that isn’t the case. People of faith prevent same sex marriage, block access to contraception, allow child abuse to go on unchecked, persecute women, persecute people of other faith. Those are just some of the more obvious ills that are allowed in the name of faith.

        Saying that we should all just let others do whatever they want is naive and, frankly, ignorant. I’ve written on moral relativism before (which is essentially what you’re espousing) and I could go on longer, but what it comes down to is your point of view is meaningless. “Be nice to everyone.” Seriously, that’s your viewpoint? That might work in kindergarten, but the rest of us live in the real world.

        A better philosophy is “Do no harm, and do not by your inaction allow harm to happen.”

  16. I am sorry, my post was a response to someone who said people in glass houses should not throw stones my words were not directed toward your views which in all humility I feel are valuable and contribute to the lessening of superstitious blind belief in the ideas of ancient people. The ancients of course have their place in history and we should not heap scorn on them, for from thence we came. Christian theology perplexes me no end I have no excuse for them, except … what? I don’t know.
    Bumper stickers are nice IMO, like ice cream and everything else that makes us feel happy and human. It bothers me that people remain so divided one against the other, I often fear it is just something profound in nature that propels life forward. Thank you for the opportunity to say something on your blog.

    • Fair enough, I see what you were responding to, now. That said, I do still stick by my original assessment: Everyone should be nice to each other is a fine sentiment, but it isn’t an honest answer to the world’s problems. We must go further, adopting the Humanist stance which says that we should strive to make all people equal, strive to end discrimination and unnecessary suffering, and generally “do no harm.” There is a place and time for pacifism, but just the same, there is a time to show strength and fight. Not all battles can be won with non-confrontational tactics.

      Yes, people should be united, not divided, but wishing something to be so won’t make it so. This is why we need more than bumper stickers and good intentions, we need honest, intellectual resolve and a willingness to “be the change.”

  17. Is there a personal God (a God who is involved in the lives of individuals)?
    Yes

    Is God omnipotent? Omnipresent? Omniscient?
    Yes

    Is God perfect (infallible)?
    Yes

    Was Jesus God?
    Yes

    What did Jesus do (what was his purpose)? What was the purpose of the crucifixion?
    Make propitiation/atonement for sin

    Was he resurrected?
    Yes

    Is the Bible the inerrant Word of God?
    Yes

    Is it meant to be taken literally?
    Not all of it, there are different genres in the Bible and one needs to learn to recognize when to take the Bible literally or figuratively

    Is the New Testament?
    See above answer

    Is the Bible meant to be understood by anyone who reads it, or are there those who are better equipped to understand and teach it?
    For the most part the basic issues of soteriology can be understood but there are things in there that are tougher for the Average Joe to understand at first glance

    Does the New Testament supersede the Old Testament?
    Speaking covenantally (Testament means covenant), Yes

    Should we understand the OT as history and the NT as God’s will?
    The OT was just as much of the God’s Historical Redemptive plan as the NT – the difference being that one is before the Cross and one is after the Cross.

    Does God change his mind?
    No

    What does it mean in the Bible when it says God changed his mind (Genesis 6:6, Exodus 32:14, etc.)?
    God is speaking anthropomorphically so my little finite pea brain can understand Him

    Is there a heaven?
    Yes

    A hell?
    Yes

    Does Satan exist?
    Yes

    Are there angels and demons?
    Yes

    Are there sinners?
    Yes

    Is there Original Sin?
    Yes

    Do we need salvation?
    Yes

    Is prayer a way of speaking directly to God?
    Yes

    Does it work?
    Yes

    If God can answer prayer with ‘Yes’, ‘No’, or ‘Later’, doesn’t that mean God will do what he wants and your prayers do not affect his decision?
    Prayer changes us not God or His decisions
    Daniel 4:35 all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
    and he does according to his will among the host of heaven
    and among the inhabitants of the earth;
    and none can stay his hand
    or say to him, “What have you done?”

    Does God perform miracles?
    Yes

    Has he ever?
    Yes

    If he did in the past but not now (or not to the same degree), why?
    Miracles are not given in order give one faith but to confirm faith as well as a “sign and seal” of approval, if you will, on a particular person within the stream of Historic Redemptive plan. Christ was the culmination of that plan – “It is finished” – so there is no need for miracles (in the biblical sense – parting the Red Sea, raising people from the dead, etc.) today. But I believe that God is still performing miracles in the lives of people today

    Did God create the universe?
    Yes

    Do you believe in the literal 6,000-10,000 year interpretation of the Bible, or do you accept the scientific evidence for evolution?
    For me the jury is out on that particular area of God’s general revelation. It could go either way and my faith would not be destroyed. However you might be interested in what is called the Framework Theory. Evolutionary theory or a literal six day creation are not the only alternatives out there in Christendom.

    By the way, when you speak of the “scientific evidence for evolution” what might that evidence be?

    Was evolution by Natural Selection his method?
    No

    If you believe in Young Earth Creation, what do you make of the overwhelming scientific evidence and consensus in favor of a universe that is billions and billions of years old?
    If I were a Young Earther I would say the consensus isn’t as set in stone as you might believe and that there are many theories and postulations out there in the scientific community many of which are at odds with each other. Also, I believe that one has to “believe in faith” the notion that the expansion of the universe has been linear all these lo many years to come up with some of the estimations made.

    Is faith good?
    Yes – But I’m speaking of biblical faith, the mode by which God imparts salvation as opposed to the worldly notion of faith that it is something that is inherent in man and one decides or not to exercise the faculty. Faith is a gift from God

    Why does God require we interact with him entirely on faith?
    He doesn’t

    Does God provide proof for his existence?
    Yes

    What is it?
    Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,

    Can that proof be interpreted in more ways than the way you interpret it?
    Yes, but it would be incorrect/

    Are other religions and faiths wrong?
    Yup.

    Can Christianity coincide with other religions?
    Nope.

    If there is only one true faith, how do you know it is Christianity?
    Because the Judeo-Christian worldview is the only one that doesn’t fall apart upon closer examination.

    If all faiths are equal, why follow any religion?
    They are not

    Can a person be happy without God?
    Sure, ignorance is bliss

    If not, why are there happy atheists/agnostics?
    Like I said, ignorance is bliss.

    If a Christian is unhappy or depressed, does that mean they are not truly Christian?
    No.

    Since there are happy and successful non-Christians and unhappy and unsuccessful Christians, what is the purpose of Christianity?
    Well the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Christianity is an integral part of how we do that but being a Christian does not make one perfect (in the temporal realm) and we still have a real hangover from “the Fall” so sometimes we endure pain, suffering, consequences for ours and others sins.

    Is there such thing as a ‘real’ Christian and a ‘false’ Christian?
    Yes

    How do you determine the difference?
    Examine the fruit. Let’s clear up a misconception – thou shalt not judge. We are not to judge others and the same rule that we use to judge will be applied to us. But we are not to judge those outside the church. We are called to judge those that claim the name of Christ. 1Corinthians 5:12 (the Apostle Paul Speaking) For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?

    Is your version of Christianity the only true one?
    There are many denominations within Christendom and there is a lot of room to move within orthodoxy that fall outside the essentials for salvation – believing in faith alone in the finished work of Christ on the Cross – so I can’t really answer that because it depends on how you define “my version of Christianity.

    How do you know?
    “For the Bible told me so” 🙂

    If there are multiple versions of Christianity that can be considered ‘true’, what is the one basic tenet that makes a person a Christian?
    Believing that Christ died for their sins.

    If you had to sum up Jesus’ teachings into one or two sentences, what would it be?
    Love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind and love your neighbor as yourself.

    Should the teachings of Jesus hold more importance than those of Paul or the other New Testament writers?
    The Canon is the inspired Word of God. Jesus is called the Word. Jesus is God. The Holy Spirit is God. The other authors of the Bible wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. you can connect the dots from there.

    If you listen to or read the teachings of modern Christian writers, how do you decide which ones you like and which ones you dismiss?
    By holding their teachings up to the light of Scripture. It is the responsibility of every Christian to equip themselves with the tools (such as exegetics, hermeneutics, etc.) to come to sound biblical conclusions with regard to the teachings of others.

    How do you know you aren’t just seeking out teachers who tell you what you already believe?

    Cause I’m freaking awesome! Wait, I mean, umm, see the answer to the question above. I wound not say that I am “unteachable”. I have views that have changed over the course of my pilgrimage and my desire is to have my thoughts and views fall in line with Scripture not try to shape and mold Scripture to my liking.

  18. 1. Is there a personal God (a God who is involved in the lives of individuals)?

    Yes in every way beyond our comprehension.

    2. Is God omnipotent? Omnipresent? Omniscient?

    Yes absolutely.

    3. Is God perfect (infallible)?

    Yes beyond our comprehension.

    4. Was Jesus God?

    Yes, He was God in the body of a man.

    5. What did Jesus do (what was his purpose)? What was the purpose of the crucifixion? Was he resurrected?

    Jesus taught the only accurate meaning, application, and Way of the Torah, He established the New Covenant, He offered Himself as the ultimate sacrifice for sin. The purpose of His crucifixion was the atonement for all of mankind’s sins. Being without sin and then being executed while innocent was part of the ultimate sacrifice. The sheer irony that everyone else in all of history deserves death because they were guilty of sin and then Jesus being God incarnate being executed while being perfectly innocent of sin caused a perfect sacrifice that had never before or since been accomplished. When anyone else dies, they deserve it, because they are guilty of sin, so when he died being undeserved of death because of his innocence of sin, this changed a foundational principle in reality which could be comparable to changing for example the law of gravity but was actually much much greater and important than gravity could ever be. His sacrifice defied the role of death because He was succumbed to it undeservedly so, and so death could not by any law whether it be a law of physics or a moral law (which are one in the same) contain Him, He therefore defeated death and can extend forgiveness of sins to those who ask for it. No longer can death claim a person if they have accepted the blood sacrifice of Jesus which defeats death. Yes.

    6. Is the Bible the inerrant Word of God? Is it meant to be taken literally? Is the New Testament?

    Yes, the spirit of God can be perceived by reading the Bible. Yes. Yes.

    7. Is the Bible meant to be understood by anyone who reads it, or are there those who are better equipped to understand and teach it?

    No, the Bible is meant to be understood by those who accept Christ as their Lord and savior. And yes there are depending on what point in their journey they are at with Christ or depending on what their purpose in life is.

    8. Does the New Testament supersede the Old Testament? Should we understand the OT as history and the NT as God’s will?

    Yes and no, the New Testament is like having a car to travel where the Old Testament is like walking to travel. You’ve still got to travel. No, Both the NT and the OT are God’s will.

    9. Does God change his mind? What does it mean in the Bible when it says God changed his mind (Genesis 6:6, Exodus 32:14, etc.)?

    Yes God does change His mind when He is overcome by His abundance of love and mercy. It means that He decided to do what He really wanted to do which was show love and mercy rather than punishing His unruly children.

    10. Is there a heaven? A hell? Does Satan exist? Are there angels and demons?

    Yes definitely. Yes sadly. Yes sadly. Yes absolutely.

    11. Are there sinners? Is there Original Sin? Do we need salvation?

    Yes sadly. Yes. Yes absolutely.

    12. Is prayer a way of speaking directly to God? Does it work? If God can answer prayer with ‘Yes’, ‘No’, or ‘Later’, doesn’t that mean God will do what he wants and your prayers do not affect his decision?

    Yes. Depends on if your heart is right with God. If it is right with God He will give you anything you ask for. Not at all, that question doesn’t make sense. God will do whatever He wants, and if He wants to tell you yes He will, if He wants to tell you no, He will.

    13. Does God perform miracles? Has he ever? If he did in the past but not now (or not to the same degree), why?

    Yes, every second and event in reality is a miracle. Yes always and forever. He still does perform miracles to the same degree which He used to. Miracles outside of the common moment by moment miracles of life which we call mundane normalities happen all the time, people even witness them, but they often say to themselves “that’s just a coincidence,” while others who are experiencing the miracle for what it really is know exactly whats going on. Furthermore, the miracles to which you are ascribing happened in the way that they did and were recorded in the manner that they were to communicate to humanity the messages of God.

    14. Did God create the universe? Do you believe in the literal 6,000-10,000 year interpretation of the Bible, or do you accept the scientific evidence for evolution? Was evolution by Natural Selection his method?

    Yes. Yes, the earth is relatively young although I’m not sure if we have the capacity to date it, it may be 6-10 thousand years old, it may be 11 thousand years old, it just depends on if the Bible provides the information of the age of the earth which I’m not sure if it does although it may and if it does than that is what I believe. I accept the scientific evidence for evolution but not for the creation of existence including the species of life. Once all of existence including species was created by God they then began to evolve, which evolution is just another word for life, because all life is is evolution. We as humans evolve in one way or another our entire lives from fertilized eggs into full grown human beings with specific individual personalities. No, God created all that is in existence, and then existence just lives(evolves). Life=evolution and vise versa. The entire scheme of evolution is just a play on words. Scientists think that just because they renamed life they could do away with God. Nonsense.

    15. If you believe in Young Earth Creation, what do you make of the overwhelming scientific evidence and consensus in favor of a universe that is billions and billions of years old?

    What I make of it is that there is more overwhelming consensus than there is scientific evidence. Its a proven fact that carbon dating can be embarrassingly wrong. Furthermore, if the entire chain of intermediates between apes and men has been completed, how many skeletons of each species were found? Were they found in substantial amounts which can show migration patterns? And at which point did apes begin to wear clothes? Why did they lose their fur in the first place? If evolution is true(which it isn’t) then I’m outraged at the loss of fur, it would save me tons on winter clothing.

    16. Is faith good? Why does God require we interact with him entirely on faith?

    Yes faith is of utmost importance. Faith is believing in something or someone. If you don’t believe that you are capable of riding a bicycle what so ever, would you ever accept trying it (without your parents forcing you to)? In the same sense, if we don’t believe that God is real, we won’t accept Him into our reality.

    17. Does God provide proof for his existence? What is it? Can that proof be interpreted in more ways than the way you interpret it?

    Yes. It is the entirety of reality, everything we experience, as well as His personal communications. Yes, all of us are unique, so on some level we interpret everything differently.

    18. Are other religions and faiths wrong? Can Christianity coincide with other religions?

    Yes everything besides Christianity is ultimately a road to death. It can in the sense that a Christian can accept a person of a different religion, but no, the truth of Christianity proves the falsehood of all other religions.

    19. If there is only one true faith, how do you know it is Christianity?

    Yes. A. because I have experienced it and B. because Christianity is the one and only faith that all of reality reacts to.

    20. If all faiths are equal, why follow any religion?

    All faiths aren’t equal, only Christianity is the truth, everything else in the world is a lie.

    21. Can a person be happy without God? If not, why are there happy atheists/agnostics? If a Christian is unhappy or depressed, does that mean they are not truly Christian?

    Yes of course, they can selfishly fulfill their own desires. There are happy atheists/agnostics because they selfishly consume all that they can to maintain their happiness. No, unless a Christian is continuously and fervently obedient to the Holy Spirit they should be unhappy and depressed. Christianity does away with happiness in the worldly sense and replaces it with the peace and joy of God.

    22. Since there are happy and successful non-Christians and unhappy and unsuccessful Christians, what is the purpose of Christianity?

    The purpose of Christianity has absolutely nothing to do with worldly happiness and success and everything to do with serving God and being in a loving relationship with Him happy or not.

    23. Is there such thing as a ‘real’ Christian and a ‘false’ Christian? How do you determine the difference?

    Yes, there are many false Christians. You determine the difference by surveying the fruit they produce. Its either good or bad, a law as real as any law of physics.

    24. Is your version of Christianity the only true one? How do you know?

    Not completely, only Jesus Christ’s version of Christianity is the only true one. The only way I can know how accurate I am living the Way of Christ is by comparing my life to the teachings of Christ.

    25. If there are multiple versions of Christianity that can be considered ‘true’, what is the one basic tenet that makes a person a Christian?

    No, there is only one version of Christianity which can be considered true and that is the one that Jesus taught. The basic tenet that makes a person a Christian is their belief in Christ. If it is true belief, than they will produce good fruit.

    26. If you had to sum up Jesus’ teachings into one or two sentences, what would it be?

    To love God the Most High with all of your heart, soul, and body, and to love your neighbor as you love yourself.

    27, Should the teachings of Jesus hold more importance than those of Paul or the other New Testament writers?

    Yes, His teachings can be likened to life as laws can be likened to physics. The other teachings of Paul or the other New Testament writers are more like just commentary on Jesus’ original teachings.

    28. If you listen to or read the teachings of modern Christian writers, how do you decide which ones you like and which ones you dismiss? How do you know you aren’t just seeking out teachers who tell you what you already believe?

    I decide which ones I like if I hear the voice of Jesus through their writings. I dismiss those who have sinful variances to the Truth of Jesus Christ. I do just seek out teachers who tell me what I already believe and teachers who may have a better understanding of things which are being delivered to me.

    Finally:

    Why did God create such a complicated system with the possibility of human manipulation and error all in order to bring ‘salvation’ to a creation he loves when he could have saved everyone the trouble and just created us happy and perfect and put us in a Garden of Eden with no forbidden fruit? If his love for us is unconditional, couldn’t he have created that kind of love in us for him?

    I can’t speak for God on that matter, and personally I think you understand the same answer as mine already, but my best understanding of this is likened to playing chess, cheating just removes the point.

  19. Hi there, I am a christian and I like your questionnaire. They are certainly the type of questions I would be asking as a Christian to understand who I was talking too if I met someone who said they were a Christian. So, I would say job pretty well done for your purposes. One question I had for you was to what extent do you consider naturalism underpins your atheism?

    • Hello, to answer your question, I would say that naturalism is important to my lack of faith in a deity in so much as it provides reliable, testable answers to most of the questions I could have about the planet, the universe and life. The other major reason for my atheism is that for all the questions that science/reason don’t (yet) provide answers for, religion/faith’s answers are unconvincing or, often, silly.

      Thanks for taking the time to read.

      • How do you reconcile the fact that the present implications of naturalism infer Atheism , yet the scientific community as a whole is not willing to own that as a definitive conclusion. So, for example, in simple terms : to be a scientist is not equivalent to being an atheist or a materialist. Does this lack of certainty concern you with your naturalistic foundation for your atheism. What doubts, if any, do you have with a naturalistic worldview and what do you consider to be its most significant weakness?

        Thanks for taking the time to reply.

      • I’m not sure what you mean by “the scientific community as a whole is not willing to own that as a definitive conclusion.” Do you mean not all scientists are atheists? Compared to the normal population, the percentage of atheists among the scientific community is much much higher, but no, not every scientist is an atheist. That’s no surprise, “Does God exist” is a complex, non-scientific question. If you mean that the Science Community hasn’t come out and made a big announcement in the vein of “We have determined that there is no god”, well of course not. Again, the question of a deity is by its very definition not a scientific question. It’s philosophical, at best.

        Naturalism isn’t a “foundation” for my atheism. Atheism, I must reiterate time and time again to people of faith, is not a belief system. It is a lack of belief in god. I was raised Christian, I was brought up reading the Bible, going to church and religious school and doing missionary work. It wasn’t naturalism, or atheists or sin that convinced me to leave the faith. It was the faith and its obvious lack of merit. Most atheists exist not because they are mad at God or at the church but because the church is so clearly dishonest or wrong on most everything it claims to know.

        A naturalistic worldview obviously has its limits. But those limits have shrunk considerably in the last 200 years, and they will continue to shrink. It is very well possible that at some point, the scientific process will discover a question it simply cannot answer no matter how hard it digs (the existence of God might be that), but in the absence of a definitive answer, I feel a lot better saying “I don’t know” then saying, “This guy made up a story about a talking snake and a God who killed his son so I’ll believe that.”

        In the trial for God’s existence, atheists aren’t the prosecution trying to prove that there is no God. Atheists are the defense, merely pointing out what we know exists (the physical world). It’s theists whose job it is to prove beyond of a shadow of a doubt that this thing we can not see, feel, taste, smell or hear truly exists. And so far, the case being made isn’t very compelling.

      • It was your understanding of Christianity that prompted me to reply as I found your answers coherent and logical.

        Ok, so now I understand. Naturalism per se is not the foundation of your version of atheism. You recognise that Naturalism is a philosophical belief system which implies, scientism, atheism and materialism and you recognise that it cannot support a definitive claim to say ‘God does not exist’.

        Instead it was your childhood being brought up reading the bible and going to church. It was your conclusion that your faith, as it was once presented to you, lacked merits. So, why did that lead you to ‘agnosticism’ rather than another theistic faith?

      • Once you have seen the man behind the current in Christianity, it’s pretty easy to spot him in all other faiths.

        My default setting is that there is no god. Same as my default is that there is no Santa Claus, no Superman, no Boogieman or Big Foot. This is the default setting for all human beings until such ideas are instilled in us by adults or by fear or doubt or guilt. I do not respect the words and assurances of other men, I do not respect holy books written thousands of years ago, and I do not respect incredible claims based on faith. I only respect evidence. Unexplained phenomena and surprising coincidences are not enough for me to be moved.

        Religion does not and cannot provide evidence, therefore I am no respecter of religion, faith or holy texts.

        That’s my default.

      • Ok, so you basically lumped all other faiths in with your Christian one and said ‘there all basically the same’.

        So, why is it your default setting that ‘there is no God’ if your belief or , lack of belief, only allows you to say ‘I don’t know if there is God or not?’

        You seem ever so certain for a man who claims they ‘don’t know if God exists!’ in one breath (post) but then claims a default setting ‘there is no God’ in the next breath (post) ! Where is your certainty coming from, for you personally , to realise you don’t know if God exists from a scientific perspective and yet be sure you are right in saying ‘there is no God’?

      • I already explained this: My default setting is “There is no God” for the same reason my default setting is “There is no Santa Claus.” I don’t believe in something unless there is evidence or a compelling argument for it. None exists for God.

        Are you agnostic on the existence of Santa Claus, or do you accept that he isn’t real? If the latter, what type of evidence would it take for you to believe that SC exists?

      • You didn’t explain your position you stated it!

        In fact I asked you to explain why is it your default setting that ‘there is no God’ if your belief or , lack of belief, only allows you to say ‘I don’t know if there is God or not?’

        To rephrase the question : Can you explain how you can say ‘There is no God’ if your evidence base only gives you enough certainty to say ‘I don’t know if God exists’?

      • I did explain my position. It’s just that you don’t get this very basic concept, which is why you have faith. I don’t believe in anything until I have evidence of it. For most of your life, you’re the same way. If someone told you they were able to fly, you wouldn’t just believe them, you’d demand proof. It’s only when it comes to God that you are intellectually inconsistent and accept a spectacular claim with no evidence.

        You also didn’t answer my question. Do you believe in Santa and if not, what would it take for you to believe in him?

        (If you refuse to honestly participate in a genuine back and forth, then I won’t continue this conversation. That’s why I created this questionnaire, because far too often people refuse to discuss their point if view honestly, hiding behind the pretense of the Socratic Method.)

      • I am sorry if you feel I am refusing to honestly participate – I have spent a considerable portion of my life studying the role of naturalism in underpinning a westernised notion of atheism. It was the subject of a Master I took and I was accepted as a Phd student to study naturalism at Liverpool University. Unlike you I was not exposed to Christianity as a child and came to faith later in my life (mid twenties). Instead of finding Christianity not making sense , it was intellectually sound. And as I initially asked the kind of questions you have raised here I found the answers logical . So, for me, Christianity made sense.

        All I am trying to do here in our discussions is to understand the logic of your position and what you believe. I am not trying to ‘convert you’ or ‘trick you’. I haven’t answered your other questions as I am trying to keep this discussion focussed on what you believe (as opposed to what I believe). I am trying to understand the logic behind why you don’t believe in any God. I apologise if you feel that it is unfair and that being asked to explain yourself is somehow ‘underhand’.

        My problem I have is that I feel your naturalism does actually underpin your lack of faith , but that you are unaware of it.

        So, for example you talk of wanting ‘evidence’ and yet you are willing to make assessments that your evidence doesn’t allow. So, you have decided that because no acceptable scientific evidence has been found to prove God exists , it must be that God does not exist. However, this assertion simply does not follow from a evidence base. The absence of evidence to prove God’s existence is not necessarily evidence of God’s absence. It is logical possible that God exists, but that humanities instrumentation is insufficient to detect him. Furthermore, it could be argued that it is unreasonable for God to only expect his creation to be able to discover his existence after they had reached a far greater technological proficiency than they have today! So, the Bible’s answer to this question is that existence is evidence. The fact that the universe is here at all is evidence of his existence. ” For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made so that men are without excuse. (Romans 1:19).

        I am sorry if my questions are too difficult – I personally cannot find the logical consistency in your position and I genuinely want to understand. My research was spent after a decade of speaking to people like yourself ad s I tried to get to the root of the ‘fashionable’ atheist. My view is that naturalism underpins your atheism and i just hate to see people make this mistake as naturalism can make a good slave in understanding the natural world, but a terrible master as a sole epistemological foundation.

        The only reason I stopped on your website is that you seemed like a nice guy – liked your love of fiction – like the name of the blog – liked a few posts I read – thought your questionnaire was useful and expressed a genuine desire to engage – so, if you think ‘i’m out to get you’ and ‘trick you’ that is not my intention.

      • I don’t think you’re out to trick me, I think you’re intellectually dishonest and a fraud. Any person who has to work in the fact that they have a PHD on a subject but won’t take the time to answer another person’s questions isn’t interested in a genuine discussion, they are just out for a masturbatory celebration of their supposed intellect.

        Your questions aren’t “too difficult” nor is your background relevant. I can tell by your condescension that you believe yourself a very intelligent person, but you aren’t capable of answering a very basic question: Do you believe in Santa Claus?

        My point all along has not been that there is no proof of God, therefore there is no God. My point is, there is no proof of God therefore I am an atheist. Do you really not see the difference? Did you get your PHD from an online university? Maybe you should get your money back.

        Here is the definition of an atheist: One who does not believe in the existence of a deity.

        Here is not the definition of an atheist: One who knows with certainty that there is no deity.

        Educate yourself on the terms before engaging in the conversation and you might not come across like such a pompous fool.

        One last time: Do you believe in Santa and if not, what evidence would it take for you to believe in him?

        If you can’t answer that question, please stop wasting my time.

  20. So many very long speeches by people. I agree with one man army Lyttleton. Also I would like to give my two cents on God. I stopped believing in God or gods when I was in 6th grade and I learned about other religions. There are numerous other religions in the world and Christianity has no particular right to be more correct than any other. Because a book made some 2 thousand or so years ago says so? Its ludicrous. Every other religion has just as much right to be true but the Bible says they are wrong… Religion in general was created because the unknown/ the dark is scary so we made something to try to make sense of it all, (or to control people)… Kinda like how a child has a imaginary friend when they are lonely. A god is unnecessary for me and others but to many people it is their salvation. Its kinda like a crutch it helps people to be better than what they are, to break free of their selfishness, because their life has a purpose, although some use it to do stupid things. But there is no purpose, no meaning just…life I guess. Once again Lyttleton thanks for the fun read it was very insightful.

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