Riven

What question could Christianity never answer for you?

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My husband and I were talking about our “seeds of doubt” that we had over the years. Here’s mine: 

 

The first question I had as a so-called “baby christian” of just weeks, was after some missionaries visited our church from a remote tribe. I asked, “What happened to all the tribal people that lived and died with no knowledge of the message of Jesus? Did they go to hell? “

 

Given the looks I got, and the tone of voice the pastor used, I could tell I’d stepped in it. And, at the time, it was asked from a sincere place of wondering. 

 

That was the very first time I learned there were things you didn’t ask. 

 

His answer led to another question, which I knew would be even more problematic. (His answer was that at some point god would show his glory to each person and they’d have a chance to choose...which made no sense. My immediate thought was, “Then why bring the message to them at all if god does it for each individually?) 🙄🧐🤨

 

So that was when I learned the old standby, “We just don’t know. We have to take it on faith.” In other words, any failure to trust blindly, even in the face of a non-logical answer, was MY fault for lack of faith. 

 

And round and round we go..... crazy-making at its finest.

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Your question could have been answered in a number of ways because there is an estimated 30,000+ versions of Christians and each version "believes" different things about the Christian faith. Fundamentalists versions of Christianity would likely say those that die without hearing the Gospel will go to hell, but more moderate or liberal versions of Christianity would answer your question differently. Many liberal versions of Christianity don't believe in a literal hell. They tend to believe hell is simply not being in the presence of God. When a non-believer dies they just die and their souls don't go to live in bliss with God for eternity. 

 

In most Christian Churches women are not allowed to be ministers and/or preach. My wife is a Methodist and they interpret scripture forbidding women from serving in the clergy as cultural. Female ministers/preachers are common in the Methodist Church. They also service as Bishops. If someone really wants to be a Christian it's pretty easy to find a version that is compatible with an individuals thinking and beliefs. 

 

Christianity is flexible. :lol:

 

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Some of them were:

1. Why is the god of the bible such an asshole? Temperamental, vicious, generally only has one punishment: death, sets mankind up for failure with the magic fruit tree and then acts shocked when they ate it, blesses mass rape and murder, etc.

2. If Genesis is literal, how did a snake talk without vocal chords? Why does the Revelation say that Satan was the serpent when Genesis says that the snake was more clever than the other wild animals? Was Satan cursed to crawl on his belly and "eat dust"? It sounds like a fable about why snakes crawl.

3. Where did the offspring of Adam and Eve find mates? Why do they talk about other cities and peoples and such?

4. Why was god threatened by people building a tower? We build skyscrapers today that are far beyond the abilities of the primitive folks, and we have airplanes and spacecraft. It sounds like another fable.

5. Why did god kill all the people in a flood instead of talking to them?

6. Holy people are generally considered extraordinarily kind and good, but the bible god justifies his fiat and cruelty by saying he is holy. He behaves like an abusive spouse that is never satisfied and really seems intent on degrading and ultimately killing his spouse.

7. Why are believers so easily able to overlook the commands about being very kind and generous in favor of building monuments to god ,and treating different people with cruelty? Why are there so many fragmented ways to follow Jesus even after he prayed that believers would be one?

8. Why is belief considered so important instead of facts and demonstrable truth? Doesn't that set people up for stupidity? Was it because stupid people are easier to control?

 

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Thanks, @Geezer  

 

My question was more of a personal one. What questions were the ones that you personally struggled with, or wanted the answers to, that were never forthcoming? 

 

The question I posted, was my first “file it and try to forget it”  moment. There would be many more to come, but all of them added up to my exit, eventually. 

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How can you say ‘Jesus died for you’ when he would have died anyway?

 

It’s like the folks at McDonalds sulking that you didn’t have a burger ‘they cooked specially for you’ when you know it’s just a standard Big Mac.

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26 minutes ago, Riven said:

Thanks, @Geezer  

 

My question was more of a personal one. What questions were the ones that you personally struggled with, or wanted the answers to, that were never forthcoming? 

 

The question I posted, was my first “file it and try to forget it”  moment. There would be many more to come, but all of them added up to my exit, eventually. 

 

I was a fundamentalists (Church of Christ) and their entire belief system is based on Bible inerrancy. They follow restoration theology meaning they believe the Bible is literally true & historically accurate. I eventually became aware of the inconsistences & contradictions that are in abundance throughout the Bible. 

 

At at that point I stopped reading apologists & started reading historians. I 've read a lot of historians. Dr. Bart Ehrman's books destroyed my faith. Historians confirm the Bible isn't true historically or literally.  My faith was dependent on an innerant Bible. I discovered very little, indeed if anything, written in the Bible is true. 

 

The complete lack of evidence for a historical Jesus convinced me that Jesus was just a literary character in a fictional story. I'm embarrassed now that I ever believed the Bible was an accurate historical record of anything. 

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Apologetics always has an answer for every INDIVIDUAL question.  So, all of my individual questions always received an answer.  Example:  How can the earth be 6,000 years old when the fossil, geological, celestial, and DNA evidence clearly shows the earth at several billions of year old?  The answer:  "God pre aged everything to test your faith".  And, yes, I was indoctrinated/programmed enough to accept this answer in my 30's; especially when it temporarily relieved a huge cognitive dissonance burden.

 

For 20 of my 25 years in I "parallel processed" this world on two tracks:  A church track and a semi reality track.  I could not get the two to reconcile.  It drove me crazy.  The totality of everything was just too much.  I "knew" there must be some way to reconcile both tracks. 

 

One day while looking out over Mt. Hood. a question came to my mind:  "What if god was imaginary"?  I processed this, and very quickly literally everything fell into place.  It all made sense, especially people, their choices, communication, and behavior, made sense.  I dumped my 25 years of indoctrination that day.  I swear I could feel my mental operating system rewriting itself in my mind.  

 

That was 8 years ago.  Nothing in that time has convinced me to reconsider the conclusion that god is man made and imaginary.  These last 8 years continue to be the best of my life.

 

 

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If an all powerful and all knowing god created a race he was not obliged to create, knowing even before he created that race that the vast majority of them would scream in hell forever, how does he have the temerity to expect to be called a god of love?

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Wow, some great answers! Some I had as well, and others I had forgotten! 

 

@Geezer, Our church was the same with restoration theology. The response to any question of Biblical inerrancy was always, “Its either all true, or none of it’s true.” Such a black/white response! 

 

Also: you could have knocked me over with a feather when I found out every pastor must take a historical biblical criticism class in seminary. I had NO IDEA that the bible was never subjected to the rigorous standards that other historical documents received. They never teach any of it to their congregations! So disingenuous. 

 

Bart Erhman also was the nail in the coffin for me too. 

 

@Lydie - good one. I never thought of that! 

 

@ConsiderTheSource I parallel processed too, for years. However, trying to Google answers to apologetics was a futile endeavor for me. I ended up not knowing what to believe and would try and figure out the “agenda” of that particular website. I would give up, and file my ever growing list of issues. Until I couldn’t anymore. 

 

@Ellinas yes! Another question I had! It made no sense to me that god would create people knowing ahead of time (you know, that whole omniscient thing) that they would go to hell. (The Calvinists are really nasty about this too.) The answer I got was always “free will.”. God doesn’t choose hell, we do. Sheesh. 

 

Basically, god gets a pass on all of it, and it’s our fault.  🤬

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1. Why can't god forgive without bloodshed like humans do all the time. 

2. Why are god and Jesus nothing alike.

3. Why does god not hold up to my standards for morality

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It made no sense to me that god would create people knowing ahead of time (you know, that whole omniscient thing) that they would go to hell.

 

The answer I got to that was that

Well, some go to heaven so why take that away from THEM.

Also that God is a righteous god and it is showing his zero tolerance towards evil and that he is amazing.

 

That kind of mental gymnastics was hard to deal with.

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My pastor told me to let God plan my life.  So the questions God wouldn't answer were a bit more practical.

 

1  Where should I work?

2  Where should I go to college?

3  What should I major in?

4  Who should I date?

5  Who should I marry?

 

I kept waiting around for God to tell me the answers.  I figured God was taking a long time only to teach me patience.  Finally a lady at my church told me she got a message from God about which career I should choose so I jumped right in head first with a complete commitment only to discover when it was too late that it was a horrible fit for my skills and personality.  I waited my whole life for God to answer and the only answer I ever got from God was wrong.

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MOHO: "Why does god not personally SHOW me that he exists???"

 

Pastor AssHole: "God wants YOU to come to HIM!"

 

MOHO: "I've been doing that, still nothing."

 

Pastor AssHole: "You must be sinning."

 

MOHO using inner voice: "OK. This is bullshit!. I'm outta here!"

 

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What question could Christianity never answer for you?

 

All of them, I think.

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1 hour ago, sdelsolray said:

What question could could Christianity never answer for you?

 

All of them, I think.

 

:lmao::lmao::lmao::lmao:

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Many many questions, but I can break them down into major categories:

 

1) The disconnect between the Bible narrative and reality (Genesis, Eden, Flood etc)

2) The prevalence of God showing the world that he was boss up until AD33, then he just stops. (About the same time as humanity is starting to question Gods and find truths about reality)

3) Logical incoherence with the Bible. Ellinas made a great point with his post. Given the omniscience and omnipotence of God, and given the master plan is for some people to end up in heaven and some in hell, and given that we cannot change the outcome, why the façade?

4) The non proof of miracles: The total failure of prayer, of God returning Soon (TM)

5) Problems with Bible composition: Why does a divinely inspired book have so many contradictions, additions, deletions etc? More to the point why doesn't God just reveal himself to each human? Why rely on the worst form of communication? And why can we trace parts of it back to it's old Canaanite roots?

 

 

Who was Asherah? Why did the Israelite priests nearly wipe out all mention of her? (Little side question :) ) 

 

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Why are we all supposedly evil and sinning, because once upon a time, an apple was supposedly eaten from a tree? Even if that were the case and the transgression happened, why is one transgression inherited by everyone that ever existed?

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"Why does God get to be jealous?"

 

"If the devil could fall from heaven, can I?"

 

"If God can change his mind on incest, why can't he change his mind on other sins?"

 

"Different races coming from two people proves evolution....right?"

 

"Why doesn't God talk like he used to?"

 

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So I learned a valuable lesson: Don't start a topic when you're going out of town, and trying to respond on a cell phone!

 

@Eowynesque I like your list. #3 hits me too. After I became a parent especially. I would actually die for my kid, not make him die for something he didn't even do. This is so perplexing in that I never saw how crazy this was.

 

@Lydie - mental gymnastics, indeed. 🙄

 

@mymistake - I look back on my life too, and I see where I thought "I was being led" to do this or that. Now I really question those choices. Too late for do overs.

 

@MOHO - Pastor AssHole, indeed. I've had a few of those. They must take "Shaming Messages 101" in seminary. The church is really good at that.

 

@sdelsolray :yelrotflmao:yes!

 

On 5/29/2018 at 3:24 PM, LogicalFallacy said:

Many many questions, but I can break them down into major categories:

 

1) The disconnect between the Bible narrative and reality (Genesis, Eden, Flood etc)

2) The prevalence of God showing the world that he was boss up until AD33, then he just stops. (About the same time as humanity is starting to question Gods and find truths about reality)

3) Logical incoherence with the Bible. Ellinas made a great point with his post. Given the omniscience and omnipotence of God, and given the master plan is for some people to end up in heaven and some in hell, and given that we cannot change the outcome, why the façade?

4) The non proof of miracles: The total failure of prayer, of God returning Soon (TM)

5) Problems with Bible composition: Why does a divinely inspired book have so many contradictions, additions, deletions etc? More to the point why doesn't God just reveal himself to each human? Why rely on the worst form of communication? And why can we trace parts of it back to it's old Canaanite roots?

 

 

Who was Asherah? Why did the Israelite priests nearly wipe out all mention of her? (Little side question :) ) 

 

 

OK... where to begin. First, THANK YOU for this. Second: my head just exploded when I Googled Asherah. I had no idea.

 

For me, I never got too bothered by the Garden of Eden, etc. I actually never believed those account, even though I kept that to myself. My inner process went something like, "Well, I don't care how the world got created. God could have created a mature earth with fossils, or he could have created the earth and let it do it's thing for a million years."  I came in late to the party (I wasn't raised in the religion), so I didn't find out about the new earth people until I'd already settled it in my mind. But the flood.... wowza. I remember watching a documentary that explained from a geological perspective, how a "whole earth" flood could not have happened. Plus, how did the animals from other continents get on the ship. And, why did they not fight. (I actually asked that question, and got treated like I was a moron for asking.)

 

Number two is one that I would have argued as a believer, but certainly not now! It was also the start of my unraveling. I started to understand that prayer and god's so-called interventions in our individual lives, could never be proven that it *was* god. Also, answered prayer was unproveable, and statistically looked like chance.

 

Omniscience did a mind you-know-what on me. I walked around day and night in guilt over my inability to stop sinning, about things I prayed desperately to stop doing.

 

Non-proof of miracles. Yes. And, when you try to bring up any doubt about it, you are shamed for lack of faith. In fact, the entire religion elevates a non-thinking position as the desired state to be in. It then shames you for asking logical questions.

 

And, the final one: there are many, many contradictions in this "perfectly seamless, god-inspired text." This is what makes me so angry. Every pastor that went to seminary KNOWS THIS. They know there are problems with authorship. With translations. And yet it took me 25 years, and researching on my own, to discover this. #5 is probably the most triggering thing for me, still.

 

@TruthSeeker0 Ah, yes. The apple. For me, it was: Why did god put this tree right within their reach, and then tell them, "Don't touch it." AND, when I pointed out James 1:13 (When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;) I was basically told I didn't understand because I wasn't a trained pastor. Um, OK.

 

20 hours ago, ag_NO_stic said:

"If God can change his mind on incest, why can't he change his mind on other sins?"

 

@ag_NO_stic - HOLY CRAP!!  I had not thought of that one! Seriously, I think this is the best comeback, ever. I'm going to tuck this one away for future use!

 

Thanks, everyone, for the dialogue. I was just curious about the questions that others had while still inside the faith, for which they'd never found any good answers. I see that many of them were the same as mine, and, I learned a few new ones too. 👍
 

 

 

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religion elevates a non-thinking position as the desired state to be in. It then shames you for asking logical questions.

 

 

THIS

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Thanks, @Lydie for pointing out that sentence. It's really the core problem, I think. (I would just hit "like" so you knew I saw your response, but I can't do that yet as a new member!)

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Now that I'm a pretty established deconvert, I really REALLY want someone to explain to me why "God is omnipotent," but....is somehow "unable to tolerate or be in the presence of evil or whatever." What does this mean? Isn't he everywhere anyway? Like he was in the presence of evil when he was Jesus, right? The Holy Spirit is in our sinful hearts...right? So is he limited only as the Triune Father in being around evil? Is he limited by some kind of time frame cap before he has to run back to pure, sinless heaven? Is he able to be around evil, just....evil isn't allowed in heaven? Why, oh WHY, is he "bound" by a "justice" that is arbitrary unless he gives it meaning?! He could just as easily, as an omnipotent being, say "murder ISN'T wrong." Unless he's not omnipotent. Why isn't he to forgive me without a perfect blood sacrifice?! And it's his own blood!! Like....if my future children piss me off, do I just....like chop my own finger off and then look at my own blood and be like "ah yes, much better. Now I can forgive you." Or maybe slaughter my other child (to be more accurate), a part of my own flesh and blood, so that I can tolerate the sins of my first child? WTF!

 

?!?!?

 

Oh yeah, maybe because it's all bullshit lol.

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This is why I LOVE this forum. So many inconsistencies I've yet to pinpoint. This is just one more example of the non-logical nature of god's nature. Yep. All made up. Thank you, @ag_NO_stic

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The biggest one for me has always been "how do we know the will of God?". Christianity is premised on the notion that we are not doing what God wants. But that, in itself, is a tacit claim to know God's will. Where is the justification for this? This is the question that led me down the rabbit hole, and it's a question that no Christian has even been able to answer to my satisfaction.

 

Christianity itself, once accepted, is relatively self-reinforcing. My question basically amounts to "why should I accept this?". It took me a long time to actually ask that question honestly, but once I did, everything else fell away very quickly.

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There were many things I was waiting to finally understand. I didn't even consider most of those things to be doubt per se, I thought it was me being immature or a subject of spiritual warfare.

 

One category of things I couldn't brush off as either was, why god allowed so many weird things in his own holy buildings? 

I'm not even talking about the obviously criminal stuff, sexual abuse and such, because I had a hard time even believing it actually happened in churches. :49:

I am talking about things that could be done with good intentions and full belief that God is in control of what is being said and done. Such as, "prophecy" that leads people to pain and destruction if followed, "successfully" casting out spirits but the person going right back to the sin that the spirits allegedly made them do, and years of prayers for healing that is not quite as dramatic as in the Bible but nothing happens except a passing warm feeling, if even that. 

 

Why did the same god seem to tell me to do one thing, and tell other people to tell me to do the opposite?

 

Why was the gift of "discerning spirits" so rare despite being so important in solving all of the above problems (if we put the Christian hat on for a second here)?

 

(Oh yeah, I must have not been a true believer, or maybe I went to a church that was going totally astray despite praying to jesus every day... :fun:)

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