Recently I came across a challenge put forward by an atheist blog for Christians to answer atheist questions. I wrote up a series of answers, with no expectation it would ever be published by this site. Political correctness will never allow these disingenuous sites from publishing real opposition. Are these atheists looking for real answers?
In the words of Henry Hazlitt:
The first thing we must do is to adopt a complete change of attitude toward an opponent’s arguments. Whenever we meet with a fact which we would not like to cite in a debate — because, to put it mildly, it would not help our side — we should carefully investigate that fact. We should consider whether if true it changes the aspect of things. We should get rid of the idea that in order to vindicate our side we must answer every contention our opponent advances. For this opponent of ours will very likely be a man in full possession of his senses; at least some of his arguments will be rational. When they are, we should be willing to acknowledge it. Their truth does not necessarily make his side right. His arguments may be irrelevant; they may be outbalanced by some other reason or reasons.
The goal should always be the truth. Are these atheists on a quest for knowledge? Reading the questions shows unequivocally that they could care less how their questions are answered, they more wish to attack Christianity. I will take the bait anyways:
Christian answers to Atheist disingenuousness (part 1)
1. Do you believe that God has moral obligations? Why or why not?
Yes, because morality is independent of God. See the Christian answer to Euthyphro’s dilemma.
2. What is a “soul”?
A “soul” is the lifeblood of an animal. Often this is used interchangeably with blood in the Bible. What most people identify as a “soul” in modern culture is actually a “spirit”. Human beings are body, soul, and spirit. A spirit is the essence of a human being. In it is contained our link to the intangible (memories, abstract thought, personality, etc). A spirit is the identity of a being and is enternal, whereas a body or soul can (and does) cease to exist.
3. Do you believe that Jesus had perfect knowledge of the mind of God (the Father)?
Jesus was perfectly sinless. In that sense, he had the same mind as the Father. This question is vague, so I will answer what I think you are asking: The Bible is quite clear that Jesus did not know everything: “Mar 13:32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” and Jesus also tries to influence God the Father into other actions: “Mat 26:39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”
Did Jesus and the Father share a mutual mind? no. Were they and are they both sinless? yes.
1. Explain how free will and absolute omniscience can logically co-exist.
That was my attempt at humor. Matt, you make an excellent point. As I read George H Smith’s Atheism: the Case Against God, my highlighter was very busy highlighting everything I agree with. The Platonic notion of absolute omniscience is a Pagan adoption into Christianity. Early Christianity quickly became an extension of the Greek Mystery cults and adopted their pagan views. Paul writes against the Platonists in Colossians. See my honor’s thesis for a longer discussion of the Platonic influence in Christianity. I also have a lot more in work currently that is unpublished on this topic.
2. Why should I believe the Bible is literally true when referencing the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ but take it to be metaphor when telling me all the languages of the world are due to the Tower of Babel, or all of the animals in the world fit on an Ark, or the world is only 6,000 years old? Or, if you believe those are literally true… what kind of drugs are you on and where can I get some?
Drugs, never tried them. If you are attempting to belittle a position with mocking, the same can be applied to you: “You believe, proof, life spawned from non-life; dinosaur soft tissue can survive for millions or years; that carbon contaminated diamonds; you fool! What drugs are you on?”
I will answer your foolish mocking.
For language, see: [link]
You must not be an expert in ancient languages (or done any study at all). As you go back in time, languages get much more complex, not more basic. The syntax becomes exceptionally complicated. It does not become grunts.
For Ark dimensions and animals, see: [link]
You should also research the witness sightings of the ark for a description of the inside layout. This is assuming those eye witnesses are correctly identifying the ark.
3. The evidential argument for evil (or inductive argument from evil). Which can be found here: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/evil/
Not really a question, but for human beings to truly love God they need to be able to freely reject God. Evil is the consequence of man’s rejection of God. If God were to intervene to stop all evil, then all mankind would be virtual robots. God could have made a galactic version of The Sims, micromanaging all situations always. But like a good parent (and unlike most atheists), God is not a micromanager control freak.
4. Why is God a necessary being and why should it be your specific version of God? Why should I discount Islam, Judaism, Mormonism, Hinduism, etc?
Your own laws of physics necessitate God. Answer me this, has the universe:
1. always been here (2nd law of thermodynamics)
2. spawned from nothing (1st law of thermodynamics)
3. Created by a creator not subject to the laws of nature
4. other _______ (propose a forth)
Why God is my specific version (as if I create God from my own imagination) you should look to historical evidence that the Bible is true. If the God of the Bible were the true God, one would find archeological evidence of miracles (Jericho’s walls falling outwards and unlooted grain in the city) and God’s actions. One would find the Bible interally consistent. You would also see vast evidence of the claims made in the Bible. When this evidence abounds and is consistent, you get evidence that the God of the Bible is true.
The Bible is big on evidence: Jesus talks about things being true based on multiple witnesses (Joh 8:14), Paul sites hundreds of eye witnesses (1Co 15:6), etc. Because of multiple evidences and frames of reference (in contrast to Islam and Mormonism), you can control of falsehoods.
This question is really meant for a longer discussion. But that is the basics.
Why should you discount other gods? Evaluate their evidence in the same fashion.
Tell me, what evidence would you accept for a historical event to be true? Also, what evidence would you accept that some non-Earth entity created life on this Earth? To bring it back one level: what is your standard of knowing things to be true in general? How do you know you are sitting on a chair, that your hair is brown (insert correct color), or that Obama is president? How do you know you are not in a dream world and are sleeping? What is your standard of evidence for truth?
I can answer these questions and be consistent, can you?