Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing.
~ Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1791 ~

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Ask the ABs: Questions to ask about the Bible

A curious mind is a sign of intelligence. One of the keys to discovering truth is to ask questions. Questioning anything will lead you closer to its truth, so long as you are honest and prepared to challenge your biases.

It takes real courage, but I encourage you to follow the evidence, wherever it leads.
If you never ask questions, you will never find the answers.

Never be afraid of doubt. Doubts about your faith are a sign that something is out of place. Something does not fit. By seeking to correct it you should arrive at a more robust world view. There is no harm in asking questions. What you find out may well lead you to a greater understanding.

If there are difficult questions burning in your mind, but you are afraid to ask them, then those are exactly the questions you must ask. Would you rather a difficult truth, or a comforting lie?

Below are some of my own questions, including some from when I was still a Christadelphian, and seeking a better understanding of the truth. You may find these thought-provoking. If you have questions of your own, I urge you to seek out the answers. If anyone tells you not to question, or even criticizes you for questioning, then ask them what they are afraid of. If they don't know the answers, look elsewhere.

Questions to ask about the Bible

  1. Christadelphians believe that only those who hold the same beliefs as them (as outlined in their statement of faith) will be saved. This would mean that only a tiny percentage of the human population who have ever lived will be saved.

    If God created all humans, and if God also wrote the Bible, how is it that the vast majority of people who ever lived have misunderstood or misinterpreted the Bible?
  2. If God is omniscient (all-knowing) and knows the future, why did he go ahead with this plan if he knew in advance that only a tiny percentage of the population would correctly understand his message?

    To put this in perspective, Christadelphians make up far fewer than 1% of 1% of all humans alive on earth today. Just using these numbers alone, God's success rate is extremely low. If he were omniscient, he would have known this in advance. Was there nothing else he could do?
  3. The Christadelphians argue that they have discovered the true message of the Bible, and that this message has been accessible to all who would carefully read the Bible.

    If that is so, why are there are so many different Christian denominations each claiming this very same thing?

    Christadelphians refer to their beliefs as "the truth", but it may come as a surprise that almost all other Christian denominations use this same language to refer to their own beliefs. They cannot all be correct. Either all but one are wrong, or they are all wrong.
  4. If God was the true author of the Bible, why did humans decide which books would be included in the New Testament canon, and which ones were rejected?
  5. If God really wanted ALL people to be saved, why did he leave it up to humans to spread his message throughout the world, given that this meant that many would hear the wrong message, and many more still would not receive the message at all? Is this fair?
  6. What about babies and children who die before becoming baptised? Will they be saved?
  7. If Paul needed Jesus to appear to him personally in order to believe, why doesn't Jesus appear to everyone in this way? Surely more people would believe if he did this?
  8. If God is all-knowing, he would know exactly how much and what kind of evidence is required to convince every person on earth that he exists. If he doesn't provide that evidence, whose fault is it when those people do not believe?
  9. There is a tremendous amount of suffering in the world, experienced by people since the dawn of human existence, not to mention animals as well.
    If God could not prevent this suffering, then he is not omnipotent (all-powerful).
    If God could prevent it but chose not to, then he is not omni-benevolent (all-good).
  10. If however you believe that all suffering is a result of Adam's sin, then there are further questions:

    Is it right to punish people for the sins of others?
    Is it right to make animals suffer because of the sin of Adam and Eve?
    Who gave Adam the inclination to sin (remember that all of the 3 lusts described in 1 John 2:16 were present PRIOR to the "fall" - see Genesis 3:6) ?