This is a list of questions for theists, believers, faith, God, and religion.  They apply to all religions, though you will note that they are more Christian-centric only because this is the religion I am most familiar with.

These questions are asked with the assumption that God exists and the text in the bible is true.  If these assumptions are false, then all of the questions become irrelevant.  To attempt to answer these myself would be a formidable task, so I shall leave the answers to you, the readers…

map of world religions
If there is one God and one religion, what happens to the rest of the people who do not belong to that religion?  Do they go to hell?  Why should they suffer if they were raised in an area which did not expose them to the “one true religion”?  For example, there are 1.2 billion Catholics.  What happens to the 5.6 billion people who are not Catholic?  What happened to the people who died prior to the organized religion or the concept of God – default to eternal damnation?

If God is all powerful, why does he not just destroy Satan, once and for all?  Why is Satan allowed to tempt humans?  Why would God even allow the creation of Hell?

Do only humans go to heaven?  What happens to young humans who die and go to heaven?  What happens to a baby (assuming it’s baptized) – are they in heaven as a baby, permanently?  How then, do they communicate, with the others in heaven, since they haven’t had a chance to learn anything in life, or develop their own personality?

Why does a perfect God – who is all powerful and has all knowledge – require us to praise Him by going to Sabbath?  Should it not be sufficient for people to thank/praise the God in their own way?  Why does He require praise at all?  Why do only humans need to praise Him, while other species are off the hook?

atheism motivational posterIf God created the Earth and all species that populate it, then why would God wait roughly 4.5 billion years before making humans on Earth.  Worse still, why wait roughly 13.2 billion years, the age of the universe, before creating life as we know it?

If humans are special, and the Earth is the only planet with intelligent life (at least as intelligent as humans), then why go to the trouble of creating the cosmos?  Why bother creating hundreds of billions of galaxies, and thousands of billions of stars?

“Finally, from what we now know about the cosmos, to think that all this was created for just one species among the tens of millions of species who live on one planet circling one of a couple of hundred billion stars that are located in one galaxy among hundreds of billions of galaxies, all of which are in one universe among perhaps an infinite number of universes all nestled within a grand cosmic multiverse, is provincially insular and anthropocentrically blinkered. Which is more likely? That the universe was designed just for us, or that we see the universe as having been designed just for us? (5()”
— Michael Shermer (Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design)

circular reasoningIf the Universe came to be in two ways:  from natural processes, or from God.  Theists will say “But what was there before the Big Bang?”.  The answer?  Scientists don’t really know, yet – but they are working on it.  But atheists can ask the same question, “What was there before God created the universe?”… to which theists will reply “God always was, and always will be!”.  Well that’s not very fair now, is it?  Circular reasoning is impermissible as evidence for truth.

If the Bible (or any other religious text) is “truth” and “law” – then is it not strange that humans are accepting laws written by men, and that there are many different versions seen from different perspectives?  Which one is correct?

Why is it acceptable to join a religion that was created by a single man?  For example, King Henry created the Church of England.  How do we know if God approves this religion?  How do we know that any religion is approved?  Why is it acceptable for religions to evolve?  Various religions have changed over time due to cultural pressures – how to we know these changes are “authorized”?  (Don’t get me wrong – it’s a good thing that religions evolve)

atheist's opinionWhy is there often contempt for those who question religion?  If humans were given the gift of intelligence and the freedom of choice, why should they be punished for using it?  Why is there continuous conflict between different religions, and between those who believe, and those who don’t?  How can anyone know if they are correct?

Why is the universe, Earth, and life so imperfect?  Why would a god create a world where there is so much… wrong?  Neil Degrasse Tyson says it best in his speech, where he describes how it seems much more likely that our univere was put together by chance, rather than by design.

For example, in our universe, most planet orbits are unstable; less than 3% of a gas cloud actually makes a star;  most places kill life instantly via heat, radiation, or cold;  galaxy orbits brings can bring us perilously close to a supernova; and it appears that we live in a one-way universe that will wind down to oblivion.

On Earth, we have earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and tsunamis that ravage cities and villages; 2/3 of the surface of the Earth is uninhabitable by humans; mass extinctions occur from  disease, climate change, or asteroids;  90% of all life that ever lived is now extinct; and it took roughly 3.5 billions years before multicellular life arose.

In humans, diseases are common:  childhood lukemia, hemophilia, sickle cell anemia, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, Parkinsons, ALS, birth defects;, we succumb to vision loss with age, our teeth fall out, we get Alzeimers, cancer, and a host of other age related diseases;  our energy system is inefficient – we exhale most of the Oxygen we inhale;  since we are warm-blooded, must eat constantly compared to reptiles; we are practically comatose for 1/3 of our lives while we sleep; we can’t detect dangerous magnetic fields, ionizing radiation fields, Radon, CO, CH4, CO2, and a host of other poisonous materials.  A perfect design?  An intelligent design?  It sure doesn’t appear to be.  It’s full of mistakes.

How should one respond?

There must be some rules to answering these questions…

Rule # 1: Any response should be refutable; otherwise we’re no further ahead.  For example, “God always was and always will be.” or “God works in mysterious ways…”  or “There’s miracles everyday…”  are not acceptable answers– because it’s impossible to prove or disprove any of them.  It’s fine to believe in unfalsifiable theories, but you must recognize that the idea is then based on faith and not science.  The two should not be confused.

Rule #2: Legitimate evidence should be provided for any claims.  Remember, the burden of proof rests on those making extraordinary claims, and that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Rule #3: When presenting a claim, avoid using any common logical fallacies.

pope behind bullet proof glass

References:

  • Steven Jenkins

    clearly u have no idea what true faith or faith, in general, is?

    i don't care about those rules u put up, because God does work in mysterious ways, but who are we to deny them.

    plus take science, if God doesn't exist, then how did the Big Bang happen.

    was it sum constipated marble that went boom?

    but then again…the bang bang came from nothing…yet one of the "scientific" rules states that something cannot be created from nothing. so clearly there must be sumthing or sumone to cause it.

    • Atomuskus

      Can you cite said rule that says something cannot be created from nothing? Conjecture is not science, what you deem common sense is not science, especially when you choose to exclude what you prefer from said rule.
      Also, science admits that it can make mistakes, but it actively works to correct them. But anyways for he is too lazy to google or pay attention to any news over the past few years:
      http://ns.umich.edu/new/releases/8167
      And even if none of my above statement was there and your statement saying that something can’t come from nothing so it must be a god, on what grounds can one be certain that it is your god? Can you give me any reasons to choose Christianity over Judaism, Shintoism, Islam, or even Pastafarianism?

  • Anonymous

    So if the big bang came from God, where did God come from? A stronger more powerful God? The simple answer is, humans don't know. But, at least science has a plausible and reasonable mechanism to explain what happened to get where we are now.

  • Anonymous

    If there is one God and one religion, what happens to the rest of the people who do not belong to that religion? Do they go to hell?

    There is only one God and one religion. However when the prophets came with the message from God, some people decided to follow the prophets others decided to follow their own desires and Satan helped them to do so. Even if you belong to the wrong religion, as long as you believe that there is only ONE GOD, He has no partners, He is unique, He has no son and has not been begotten, you might go to heaven. At the end of the day, only God knows who is going to hell and who is not going to hell. So as long as you don’t give partners to the only, unique God you might go to heaven. God knows best!!!

    Why should they suffer if they were raised in an area which did not expose them to the “one true religion”? For example, there are 1.2 billion Catholics. What happens to the 5.6 billion people who are not Catholic? What happened to the people who died prior to the organized religion or the concept of God – default to eternal damnation?

    Nobody can be more just than God!! So for example somebody who has never been exposed to the real religion will, in my opinion, not be judged in the same way that those who have been exposed to the real religion. Also everybody will be accounted for his own deeds, nobody will take the charge of another at the day of judgment , so don’t worry about those people who had not been exposed to the only true religion because God is the most just judge!!!

    If God is all powerful, why does he not just destroy Satan, once and for all? Why is Satan allowed to tempt humans?

    God is all powerful!!! And he will destroy Satan!! Satan has a delay, he asks God to give him a delay until the day of the judgment and God gave him that delay. However God at the same time gave us, human beings, ways to protect ourselves against Satan and his tricks. Satan calls us to do bad deeds and we have the will to either answer or decline his call. So at the end of the day Satan has no power on us except the power that we, human beings, gave him.

  • Anonymous

    Why would God even allow the creation of Hell?

    Doesn’t Satan deserve to go to hell? Yes, he deserves it for all the bad deeds he did on this earth. God created hell for the wrongdoers who didn’t repent before they die. Is it another reward for good than good?? Is it another reward for bad than bad? Can we go to heaven with the seeds of hell?? We only get what we deserve, what we worked for. However God is merciful, He accepts the repentance of those who repent to Him and come back to Him ( the only ONE God).

    Do only humans go to heaven? What happens to young humans who die and go to heaven? What happens to a baby (assuming it’s baptized) – are they in heaven as a baby, permanently? How then, do they communicate, with the others in heaven, since they haven’t had a chance to learn anything in life, or develop their own personality?

    I think Humans and jinn go to heaven. For the kids, don’t worry about that. Once they are in Paradise God is going to take care of them and in paradise there is happiness everywhere, so they will be fine.

    Why does a perfect God – who is all powerful and has all knowledge – require us to praise Him by going to Sabbath? Should it not be sufficient for people to thank/praise the God in their own way? Why does He require praise at all? Why do only humans need to praise Him, while other species are off the hook?

    We pray God to show Him our gratefulness, to keep ourselves, with God’s help of course, away from bad deeds and to remember God. God doesn’t need us to pray him. Whether we pray Him or not, that doesn’t add one drop of water to His kingdom nor does it reduce one drop of water to His kingdom. So if God require us to pray it is just for us to have good deeds on the judgment day. Good deeds that are going to help nobody else, than those who did them. The way we talk to a president and the way we talk to our friends are different. So if in order to talk to a president we have to maintain a certain behavior, what about God who created all of us? God is too much important to be praised just as we feel like doing it; there are rules to praise God. Everything on this earth worship God, Trees, animals… everything. We just don’t understand how they do it. It is another level of consciousness.

    I would love to answer to the other questions but… I wish that I will have the pleasure to read your feedback.
    Thanks

  • Jordan Allen

    I’m new to this. I wouldn’t say I’m a full on atheist, but I’m definitely not a part of any religion. I can’t really be “convinced” that Christianity is the one true religion. I’ve seen and have heard far too many condescending things than to believe in something whole-heartedly like people do. Too often I hear people saying that you’re going to hell if you don’t believe in whatever they say you should believe. Where’s free will in that? Instead, it just seems like an excuse for Christians (not all of them though) to try and impose what they believe you should believe. None of it makes sense. Hard-core Christians don’t know what actual tolerance is, and then they spout some bible verse that doesn’t make any sense, or if it does – it’s only half relevant. People just use god or jesus as an excuse to not take responsibility for their lives. Instead, they worry about what other people do without a worry for themself. I don’t get it. I don’t get a lot of things apparently. I started studying Kabbalah – and I’ve seen this BOTH in Religion and Spirituality. People wear their religion or spirituality like a coat. It keeps them warm, but they take it off whenever they want too. I’m not a Christian, a Jew or an Atheist because at some point (they’ve all told me…even the Atheist…I was wrong).

    I’m really glad to have found this site.

  • anotheranonomous

    The world is a perfect place filled with imperfect people.

    Science says the world is flat, then they say it is round.

    Science says that homosapiens have been around for 8000 years, no 10000, no 25000, no 250000, oh maybe 1.2 million years.

    Science says a lot of things that are in the end wrong.

    I don’t trust my fellow man, and the bible was written a long time ago. There are a lot of my fellow men that have had access to that series of scrolls that became the bible. They have decided what parts stay, what parts go, and how the parts that stay are to be translated.

    God is not the bible.

    The bible is the work of man.

    There are many other religions that I am only vaguely familiar with but every version that is out there is the work of man. As I said, I don’t trust my fellow man.

    But I do believe in God. There are too many things that are right and just in the right balance to believe anything else in my opinion.

    Here is some examples: Plants create Oxygen and use Carbon Dioxide. Other life forms use Oxygen and create Carbon Dioxide. How would evolution keep those things in balance?
    Why do the foods you like taste good? Why would evolution make something taste good if that actually makes it less likely to live (since it will be eaten)?

    I my be wrong, but if I am I guess when I die I will rot in the ground. If you are wrong, when you die you will burn in hell for all eternity.

    Good Luck!

  • anotheranonomous

    Man, I should have done a little typo review before submitting that. “Here are some examples” would have been nice as well as “I may be wrong”

  • JP

    @anotheranonomous

    The world is not a perfect place. It is continually ravaged by the elements beyond it’s control. It has gone through heavy bombardment, ice ages, heavy volcanic activity, and host of other mega disasters. Currently, it is stable. That’s all.

    The approximate date when humans arrived on the scene is bound to change. That’s what’s wonderful about science – as technology improves, and as theories evolve, better solutions to problems float to the top.

    I agree – the bible is the work of man. It’s a story, that’s it.

    That you believe in God is your own perogative, but your argument for His proof is not valid. Why is God needed to explain the photosynthesis? Foods taste good so that we are encouraged to eat them. It makes the Eater (not the one that it eaten) more likely to live. God is not driving evolution to keep things in balance – LIFE is. And if God is… he’s going about it a very slow and inefficient way!

    I’m an atheist too, and I will rot in the ground and return my chemical make-up to the cycle of life. You will too. Neither of us will burn in hell.

    No luck needed.

  • anotheanonomous

    Where is there any proof that evolution exists? Micro-evolution…maybe; like blind fish in a cave environment. They adapt to the conditions of their environment, but that would not be an actual improvement. Losing sight just because there us nothing to see… Develop infravision, now that would be evolving!

    Evolution is still a theory with no concrete proof.

    I believe that the Bible, being the work of man, is an attempt to explain what the masses don’t understand and to give meaning and a form of morality to civilization. God is more like the “force”, some guiding light that adds intelligence to the natural course of things.

    More than likely our ancestors advanced to very high states of civilization and were then destroyed by some event, comet, ice age, or massive flooding after an ice age. I personally think the latter since the evidence would be hardest to find if under 300+ feet of water. The few survivors that weren’t dependent upon technology to live and were capable of teaching others did so and provided the basis for the morality teachings of the Bible. As those people died off we were cast back into less advanced roles and have worked our way back to here.

    I do follow the general principals of the Bible but not out of fear, it just makes sense to be a good and productive member of society.

    I guess the part that truly separates me from the atheist is that I think that faith is required. There is more to this all than just passing through and eating. While the atheist can believe that its all natural, I believe that it is special. And an atheist can except infinity, which is really not something the mind can truly comprehend, but cannot accept that an infinite power might exist that orchestrated it all.

    To each their own, but I like to imagine a world with purpose, even if I’m wrong.

  • JP

    @anotheanonomous

    I don’t think you can say that evolution is “just a theory”. The “theory” of gravity is still a “theory” too – but we can make incredibly accurate predictions at the astronomical level and here on the surface of Earth. I recommend Richard Dawkins “The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution.”. I would challenge anyone to read this book and then legitimately call evolution a “theory”.

    Putting evolution aside – it’s fine to think that there is a purpose to life. I like to think there is a purpose, and it is to appreciate the limited time we have here on Earth. It’s to focus on our 70-90 years of life, and not worry about the unknown after our death. If people focused more on their existing, short, lives, I think the world would be a better place.

    I agree that the bible is a story, and that – very generally speaking – acts as a moral code for humans to follow. But I don’t think it’s needed. Morality is in all of us – God-believers or not. We have our own internal moral code that we follow. We have cultural codes. We have evolutionary codes as well – to further the species (not the individual).

    I agree with you that life is special, but I don’t think it’s necessary to invoke God to make it that way.

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  • Real Hinduman

    The author has raised really relevant questions and unfortunately those who have tried to answer them have failed baldy! The birth of the semitic hate-filled and terror preaching semtiic cults over the past 2000 years has made world a hell and full of violence and killings! Does that mean that the world did not exists before 2000 years since these semitic cults were not there??? What an uttler stupidity and non-sense too,right,folks???How many indians and hindus have read in detail qqbook and bbook manuals of muzzies and chrristians??? Do they know that they are not love all human being manuals, but loving ONLY their cult followers mnauals and have barbarian punishmments for others or kafffirs and inffidels??? why no one is highlighting this naked truh even in secular hindustan and secular euorpe and america???It is time that whole world unites to Ban hate-preaching and terror promoting desert cults, islam and christianity and their manuals forever to have permanent peace and harmony in the world, Read indian and world history of past 2000 years and all can see that these cults have done genocide of millions and millions of kafirs or infidels with false promise of heaven after death with virrrgins and wine as gifts,etc and can any one tell me where is this heaven and how these cult followees reach there when they are buried under the earth in boxes and coffins???As the great hindu philosopher and saint Shankaracharya said, life is just an illusion only!Now wife of al-queda leader zuwahir wants jehad for the children for women too, what a shame!Is her husband ayman zuwhairi enjoying 72 virrgies and wine in heaven under the earth inside the coffin like osma bin laden on the ocran floor with bullet holes in the head???what is the incentive for women??? they can be virgies again and enjoy the fun in heaven???semitic hate-filled desert cults like islam and chrrrristianity with concept of jehaad for killing kaffirs and heaven for semtic christian cults with ppromise of heaven for converting or mass killing of infffidels and their trrrror preeaching manuals must be Banned for permanent peace and harmony in this world

  • harry

    q; were 300,000+ people who perished in a tsunami all worthy of punishment?
    q; do you, readers , need a mythological figure, that is, a character, to believe in because you can’t grasp the wonder and mystery of our universe?
    it seems to me that representations of god arose from a need to feel that an understandable (or at least, partially understandable) character is accessible to us. even the religion that states “god is indescribable and unknowable” turns around and describes the attributes of god as if god were a person. i find that ironic.
    to all the humans who try to kill others in order to defend or protect their god, i say “you are an example of the height of idiocy”

  • Adrian

    What it is attacked by you is various religious denominations.
    And try listening to Kent Hovind about the “bad design”.
    Do you belive in SIN? That`s what makes this world ugly, it`s not GOD`s fault.
    And satan WILL be gone, his time is short.
    Anyone reading this should search for Jesus by reading the Holy Bibile (KJV translation) and know Him.
    This article is the side that accuses GOD, try reading the other side too.
    I am sure that no religion is correct; I`m sure that the Bible is correct.

  • jeffrey abrahamse

    Reasoning with a religious fundamentalist is like trying to teach a monkey quantum physics ( my money is on the monkey ). According to them some imaginary tribal god of a group of homicidal ignorant primitives is the answer to everything. If people want to believe this then they should live at the technological level of said primitives, why should they enjoy the benefits of modern technology? The bible did not predict any of the scientific wonders of the modern world like the very computers they use to spill their mental diarrhea. I’ve got a suggestion fundies- for now on send all your messages on stone tablets delivered via sun baked bearded patriarchal maniacs.

  • sage80

    It seems to me that this author is assuming that a) naturalism is remotely cogent, intellectually. b) that these questions are somehow difficult to answer & that some amazing rationality has been attained that no one has ever thought to address before.

    • precisely

      Precisely. Round and around we go with sophomoric arguments against God and “gotcha” questions that only one ignorant of the Bible or willfully misrepresenting it could offer with a straight face. I feel bad for those who feel the need to shake their fists at a God they supposedly don’t believe in. Might they be protesting too much? Still, their predicable silly thoughts give me comfort. The question arises, Is that really the best you’ve got? And the answer is always the same: Yes.

  • sage80

    jeffrey abrahamse is assuming that reasoning with atheist fundamentalists is at all possible. I doubt one such even assumes the reality of any such people. Likely, he is one.

  • sage80

    1. You are assuming that soteriology is based upon ‘belonging’ (your word) to a certain faith group. Membership has nothing to do with it. If God exists (the assumption of the theist) & if God has revealed Himself in an understandable way, or via special revelation, it would follow that God has made evident if or how one is to experience a relationship with this being. The fact that you are creating a false dilemma of ‘this religion vs that religion’ demonstrates your own ignorance as to the issue of theology. Either the prescribed method of salvation is true or it isn’t. It has either been revealed or hasn’t. If it has, then the person who has correctly identified it as true would by definition, be factually accurate. Further, if a means to salvation is asserted that is in opposition to one that is true is being promulgated as true, it is by definition, false.

    2. You are clearly only attempting to question Christianity, for some reason. I’m not sure why. maybe you can tell me. Answer: He will. If there is no occassion for moral creatures to resist temptation thereby proving moral worth, there is no reason to appeal to moral worth. Further, God didn’t allow the creation of hell. He created it. It is a means of dealing with the punishment of sin, which has eternal ramification.

    3. No. You are asking questions I don’t have answers to, because the specifics were not revealed. I would not presume to know what your wife looks like naked unless a) I’ve seen her naked, or b) someone who has told me. I have not been to heaven, & those who have have not revealed that. So therefore, I don’t presume to know.

    4. Again, only dealing with Christianity. Why not ask about prayers toward Mecca? First of all, the New Covenant does not hold to Sabbath laws. You are now displaying your ignorance of theology. As for why he requires praise, see CS Lewis. How are other species to praise Him? The questions are getting less serious & more silly & disreputable.

    5. ‘Why’ questions are irrelevant. Like asking the Beatles why they went to an F# Major chord in the middle-eighth of a song rather than an A-Major. You are assuming a certain age of the universe. Even if I grant you that, you are assuming that God must do things in a way that you would find doable. Why would an immortal being do something like you, a mortal, would?

    6. Why not?

    7. //Scientists don’t really know, yet – but they are working on it.// There’s nothing to work on. Either there is an infinite regress of matter or matter came into existence in & of itself. Matter, is by definition, temporal. How is something temporal self-generating. As Aristotle said, if one is to avoid infinite regress, the only answer is an unmmoved mover. Something that is without beginning bringing matter into existence. No, atheists cannot ask the same question, because there was, by definition, nothing in existence before God. God has no ‘before.’ God has always existed. There is no before God.

    8. Not if the laws were inspired. There are not different versions. The writings exemplify different characteristics, but the essence & origin is the same. These questions are increasinlgly unimpressive and indicative of a logical novice.

    9. Depends how you define the religion & what it’s based on. If it’s based on truth, fine. If it’s not, then it’s false. One can verify whether or not ecclesiastical teachings are true by referencing special revelation. In the same way judges reference the law.

    10. Why is there contempt for those who practice religion? There is nothing wrong with getting to truth. But please don’t pretend to be innocent of contempt.

    11. Sin. Human activity. WHy are you assuming a universal wronghood? On what basis do you make such an assumption?

    I suggest you read a book where much more difficult & sophisticated objections than these have been answered. Try Aquinas or Kant. This rings of someone who’s only read one side & assumed it was tantamount to intellectual curiosity.

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  • Mark Dyer

    its simple god has no beging nor an end. All that is, and going to be, is done
    space has no bigging no end the bible quotes i am the the alpha omaga i would think gods everything. whats the earths worse enemy,plauque,threat, the earths evil i belive is us. the deer,beer, elk,birds,fish, and surelly are dogs are not. and it is said they have no soul. dont sond fair well who is to say they dont also go on or even they do and we dont. GOD IS GOD WHAT IS IS I ANT GOING TO QUESTION IT
    MABY WERE ALL GOING TO GET A BIG SPANKING. PEARSONLY I BELIVE WE ALL LET HIM DOWN.