Do you care whether the things you believe are really true?
Existence of God
Deist god
What is the evidence that a single, infinite, supernatural, all-powerful, unmoved, uncreated, intentional agent exists and created the universe for a purpose?
Theist god
What is the evidence that a personal god exists and acts in the world on a daily basis to serve our interests and respond to our pleas?
Bible god
What is the evidence that the god described in the Bible exists, created the entire universe in six days for the sole purpose of being worshipped by human beings on Earth, changes, does not change, punishes children for their parents' sins, does not punish children for their parents' sins, tempts people, does not tempt people, confuses, does not confuse, is all-merciful, is all-just, cares whether you believe in it, does not care whether you believe in it, forbids killing, requires killing, supports slavery, opposes slavery, loves gay people, hates gay people, is good, creates evil, loves everyone, hates Esau, loves everyone equally, has one chosen race, can be seen, cannot be seen, dwells in the light, dwells in darkness, demands human sacrifice, does not accept human sacrifice, knows the future, has free will, supports war, supports peace, feels transient feelings, exists outside of time and space, can do anything logically possible, cannot kill itself, cannot defeat Satan or people who have chariots made out of iron, cannot have multiple sons, cannot lie or sin, cannot not punish people for sin without dying on a cross and being dead temporarily, makes no mistakes, regrets mistakes, exists outside of time and space, is omnipresent, has a face, has a right hand, has back parts, gets jealous, cares about the condition of the testicles of sacrificed animals, cares about how to make curtains and underwear for priests, cares about grain offering recipes, likes the smell of burning animal flesh, hates foreskins, chose methods of incarnation and death common throughout prior mythology, reads your thoughts and judges you for them, loses its temper, has a master plan, responds to our pleas, acts in the world on a daily basis to serve our interests, and defined, by direct, transcendental inspiration of many different, unrelated, anonymous human authors, the rules, rewards and penalties for our behavior in precisely those ancient texts chosen out of many candidate texts by a particular group of primitive, fallible human clerics for inclusion in the Bible?
Hiding god
If God exists, wants everyone to know it, is able to provide convincing proof to everyone, and was willing to provide such proof to a few ancient Jews, why is non-belief in God and mistaken belief in the wrong gods so widespread? If the evidence for religious claims about God were as good as apologists say, why do so many of them write long books explaining what God really meant to say, each with a different opinion on the subject? Why isn't God's existence obvious to everyone? Why doesn't God reveal itself to any of the prominent and famous atheists with millions of admirers? What percent certain are you right now that God exists? If a being appeared visibly to the whole world simultaneously, claimed to be God, and told each person in their own language that every amputee would be immediately restored, and then it happened, would your percent certainty of God's existence change or remain exactly the same? If God was once willing and able, why did it stop contravening people's free will and doing obvious miracles like pausing the Earth's rotation and parting the sea? Does God remain concealed and uncertain to us in order to not compromise our free will? How can Satan have both free will and certainty of God's existence? How can the provision of more information (e.g. God clearly exists) negatively affect a person's ability to exercise her free will and make an informed decision?
Infinite regress
If God made the universe, what made God? Is it impossible for something to come from nothing? Is God something? Is it impossible for God to come from nothing? Why do you assume that Nothing is the default, and not Something? Is it easier for you to accept that a thing more simple than anything we know came from nothing or that a thing more complex than anything we know came from nothing? If a thing is really complex does that mean a creator created it? Must something be more complex than the things it creates? Would a creator of the universe be more complex than the universe? If it is possible for God to lack a beginning, why can't the universe? If one unmoved, uncreated god can exist, could twenty-seven thousand two-hundred and forty-one of them also exist? Could you accept the possibility of matter and antimatter annihilating each other? If that is possible and we have no Nothing to examine and therefore no way to know what is and is not possible with Nothing, is the reverse process really so impossible? Why did everyone once think that the Sun goes around the Earth?
Fine tuning
Do you think the precise constants of the universe make its existence without an intelligent designer highly improbable? Without knowing the number of possible universe configurations and the number of such configurations that are conducive to the development of life, how can you say how unlikely a life-supporting configuration is? How do you know that it's even possible for the constants to be something other than what they are? If the constants had been slightly different then rocks would not have existed. Does that mean the constants were set by a creator as they are in order for rocks to exist? How do you know that our universe is not one successful try among a set of 10^55 failed universe tries with different constants, each big banging timelessly into existence and collapsing back into nothing? If a hole perfectly fits the puddle contained within it, does that mean that the hole was intelligently designed to fit the puddle? Is the fact that the person who won the last lottery did so against tremendous odds proof that it could not have happened purely by chance? Were ears designed to hold up glasses? Can you imagine the distribution of land and sea on Earth being different from what it is due entirely to unintelligent forces of nature? Under those conditions would you expect the species of life to be exactly the same or different from what they are? Do you dismiss the multiverse hypothesis because multiple universes cannot be observed? Is God any more observable than multiple universes? Should scientists suspend judgement about the multiverse until they have hard evidence? Should God believers suspend judgement about God until they have hard evidence?
Anselm's Ontological
Do you think that God is that than which none greater can be conceived? Who says that God is in fact "that than which none greater can be conceived"? What is the evidence that God is "that than which none greater can be conceived"? How can this statement be falsified? If existence is implied in any declarative statement whose verb is "is", how is saying "God is that than which none greater can be conceived" any different from saying "God exists and is that than which none greater can be conceived"? The universe is the greatest falsifiable thing that anyone can conceive of. Is the universe "God"? I can conceive of something that created the greatest thing you conceived of. Is my thing God or is yours?
Theistic scientists
Is the fact that some scientists believe in your god evidence that your god exists? Is the fact that some scientists believe in a different god evidence that that god exists? Why is it that most theistic scientists believe in the god that is most popular in their culture? Have some scientists begun believing in God? Have some scientists stopped believing in God?
Best apologetic
If there is a bulletproof argument for the existence of God, why is it not the very first thing every apologist says when debating for the existence of God?
Yahweh origin
Which ancient Israelite decided to switch the Israelite religion from polytheism to monotheism? How did Yahweh, the war god, take over as top god from El, the original top god from whom Israel's name, "may El rule", derives? Why isn't Israel's name "Israweh" instead? What happened to Asherah, the fertility goddess, El's wife and Yahweh's consort or mother? How would an outsider have determined whether the followers of fertility god Baal or war god Yahweh were worshipping the correct god?
Jesus evidence
What is the evidence that a single person named Jesus (Yeshua ben Yosef) lived in Nazareth during the early first century CE and the events of his life are accurately chronicled in the stories of the Bible? What is the evidence that he performed miracles? Do you support the mainstream, independent scholarly consensus that Jesus existed? Do you support the consensus of these same scholars that Jesus was an ordinary mortal and that no prophecies were fulfilled? What did Philo of Alexandria, Epictitus, Martial, Juvenal, Pliny the Elder, Seneca the Younger, Gallio, Justus of Tiberias, Nicholaus of Damascus, or any other non-Christian contemporary of Jesus say about him? Why didn't Origen reference Josephus's Testimonium Flavinium? Why didn't any non-Christian contemporary of Jesus report the resurrection of more people during the time of the New Testament than were said to have been resurrected in the entire Old Testament? Why did the author of Mark name Jesus's father "Yosef" instead of "Ananias" as recorded by the historian Josephus?
If God's nature is incomprehensible and God's ways are mysterious, then why bother trying to comprehend/solve them? How can any fallible human, including the anonymous ancient book authors, purported ancient prophets and modern clergy, be trusted if he claims knowledge and comprehension of God's nature? or God's plan? or what God likes? or what God wants you to do? How can you believe in something without even comprehending what you believe in?
Does God know everything? If there is something God does not know, how would it know about it? How could an all-knowing god not know where Satan came from (Job 1:6)? or where Adam was (Gen 3:9)? When God bet Satan that Job would not turn against him, did God know in advance that Job would remain loyal, meaning that God ruined Job for no reason, as God admits (Job 2:3)? Did God know that Abraham was willing to kill his son? Why would an omniscient god need to conduct any tests of loyalty at all? Why did God grant Isaac's blessing to Jacob instead of Esau after Jacob tricked Isaac into thinking that he was Esau by tying some goat skins to himself (Gen 27)? Did God not know that it was really Jacob? Why didn't Jesus know that the fig tree did not have any figs (Mark 11:13)? Was God disappointed in Adam and Eve for disobeying it? How can an omniscient being experience disappointment about anything? Does God know what lust feels like? How can God know what the future holds but also have the option to change things that affect the future? Does it know in advance which future-affecting changes it will choose to make? If the future is knowable, how is free will possible?
Is God everywhere? If God is everywhere how is it possible to be separated from God in Hell? How can an omnipresent being walk through a garden (Gen 3:8)? If you can't see, hear, smell, taste or touch God, how would you know whether you are separated from it?
Is God perfect? If God is perfect, then why would it need to create a universe? How can an infinite being lack something? How can a perfect creator make an imperfect creation? Wouldn't a creator that makes perfect creations be more perfect than one that makes imperfect creations? If plants and animals are intelligently designed why have 99% of all species had designs that were not good enough to keep them from going extinct? Why would a perfect intelligent designer create galaxies that crash into each other?
Occam's Razor
If there is a possible and simple explanation for something, is it more likely to be true than another possible but more complex explanation? Is it possible for the universe to exist without a god? Is that explanation simpler than one requiring an infinitely complex additional element (a god)? Why do some geniuses think that it is at least possible for the universe to exist without a god?
Do you think it is useful to believe in God? How does the existence of God logically follow from the utility of belief in the existence of God? How useful is it that millions of Muslims believe in the metaphysics of martyrdom? How useful is it that the Sunni and Shia in Iraq have such heartfelt religious differences? How useful is it that so many Jewish settlers believe that the creator of the universe promised them a patch of desert on the Mediterranean? How useful has Christianity's anxiety about sex been these last seventy generations? How beneficial to society have been religion's use of torture, murder, burning at the stake, life imprisonment, stoning, banishment, destruction of books, slander, libel, and every form of destruction and suppression that it could devise to hinder human happiness? Would the utility of believing that you are destined to marry Angelina Jolie make it a good idea to believe that you are destined to marry Angelina Jolie? Does lack of belief in God cause human suffering? Can you name an instance of suffering that was caused by excessive rational thought, skepticism or rejection of claims found to be unsupported by evidence? Can you name an instance of suffering that was caused by strict observance of ancient religious teachings? Can you name a society that embraced the teachings of rational non-believers and fell into a state of tyranny and suffering? Can you name one that did so while guided by belief in the supernatural?
Insufficient evidence
What is the difference between a thing for which there is insufficient evidence and a non-existent thing?
Faithway to truth
If faith can lead different people to reach different, conflicting conclusions about what is true, how can faith be a reliable method for determining what is true?
Faith vs reason
In determining what is true, do you value faith or reason more? Would you rather have friends of high intellect or strong faith? How can a matter be resolved between two people when their positions on an issue are based only on feelings and their feelings are different? What does "faith transcends reason" mean? How is "transcending reason" different from "evading reason"? What are you able to reliably predict using religious truth claims that you cannot reliably predict using science and reason? If presented with DNA-quality evidence that refuted a belief would you abandon the belief? Were Mormons justified in rejecting the DNA evidence that refutes their belief that Native Americans descended from sea-faring Jews? Can you name anything that poses a greater threat to a rational, evidence-based worldview than religion?
Faith vs superstition
What is the difference between faith and superstition? between a religion and a cult? between miracles (Mark 1:40-45) and magic (2 Chron 33:6)?
Faith vs gullibility
If faith means believing things without sufficient evidence and gullibility means believing things without sufficient evidence, what is the difference between faith and gullibility?
Heart belief
What is the difference between believing something and believing it in your heart? Why do people believe things in their hearts and not their small intestines which contain more neurons than any organ other than the brain? How are you able to tell in which organ your believing is happening? Does Jesus speak to your heart? How do you know which organ he is talking to? Do your ears hear it too? What does "Jesus is in your heart" literally mean? How can priests and holy people suffer heart attacks while Jesus is in there with his healing powers? Why do religious instructors speak in metaphors when using plain language is possible and would be clearer? If Jesus loves everyone and wants everyone to get to Heaven, why did he also want to weed out followers by speaking in parables?
If your feeling is the proof of Jesus speaking to you, is a Hindu's identical feeling proof that Ishvara is speaking to her?
In a thousand years
If religious texts were all lost and teachings were forgotten would their truth claims return in a thousand years? If science books were all lost and teachings were forgotten would their truth claims return in a thousand years?
Supernatural answers
Throughout history people have unanimously credited things to God that were later explained by science - everyone knew that the earth was flat, that disease was caused by demons, and that thunder happened because the gods were angry. What is different about the things that you credit to God? Why has the opposite never happened - something is first given a scientific explanation that is later replaced with a supernatural explanation? Why isn't our understanding of the supernatural world any better today than it was millennia ago?
Why yours?
Why are you so sure that Christian beliefs are true and other beliefs are false? Why are you so sure that your Christian sect's beliefs are right and those of the other 30,000 Christian sects are wrong? Why did God engineer the cultural isolation of the vast majority of people who are condemned to Hell for eternity for being ignorant of your sacred book?
Parental religion
The vast majority of religious adults follow the religion of their parents. If your parents had been a different religion and you were born in a country of predominantly that religion, do you think you would be Christian or that other religion? If Osama bin Laden had had your parents instead of his parents, would it have been more likely that he be Christian? Does it make any sense to label a child as a Keynesian or a Marxist? Does it make any sense to label a child as a Christian or Muslim? Why did freed African slaves remain Christian instead of returning to their African religions?
Other supernaturals
Thousands of people attested that Guru Sathya Sai Baba, born in 1926, could walk on water, raise the dead, fly without technology, materialize objects, read minds, and foretell the future. He claimed to have been born of a virgin. A million people showed up for his birthday party. Do you believe the supernatural reports about him? Do you believe that Apollonius of Tyana had a miraculous birth, was the son of God, could cast out demons, heal the sick, and raise the dead and that he ascended into Heaven? Do you believe that Guru Sri Yukteswar came back from the dead and appeared to his disciple Paramhansa Yogananda? Do you believe that the Buddha caused a water buffalo to speak in a human language for half an hour in front of a group of eyewitnesses?
Other gods
Do you believe in the existence of the god of the Bible/Qur'an (Yahweh/Jehovah/Allah)? Why don't you believe in Thor, Ra, Vishnu, Zeus or the other 6,000 gods?
Made up religions
If people did not make up their gods, why are there multiple religions? How can the religion of Scientology exist? How is the mind of every single Scientologist who believes in a religion invented by L. Ron Hubbard distinct from the mind of every single person in your religion in its susceptibility to fraud?
Two different places
If your god is eternal and omnipresent, why is there no example of the same religion arising independently in two different places?
Holy book authors
Who wrote the Bible? Who wrote the Torah and its source materials, J, E, P, R, and D? Who wrote the canonical Gospels and their source materials Q, M, and L? When? Where? Do you think that the Gospels were written by the Apostles, eyewitnesses or associates of eyewitnesses? Why don't most Roman Catholic Biblical scholars think so? Why are the Gospels written in the third person and not the first person? Why do the authors of John (John 21:24) and Luke (Luke 1:1-4) admit to not being eyewitnesses? If the author of Matthew was the apostle Matthew, an eyewitness, why did he borrow 50% of that work from the author of Mark, purportedly not an eyewitness but the attendant of the apostle Peter? Why did the author of Luke borrow 37% of this work from Mark? Why would Luke--the mere Gentile attendant of Paul--redact and change the recollections of Peter--the chief disciple of Jesus--about the passion, crucifixion, and death of Jesus (Mark 15:33-37, Luke 23:44-46)? Why does the Catholic Church wait until seminary rather than Sunday School to teach the Bible recension?
Backwards credence
Why didn't Christians accept the four canonical Gospels as orthodox scripture until around 180 CE? What did people in 180 CE know that people in 80 CE did not know?
Problematic production
Why didn't Jesus himself just keep a journal that clearly condemned ethnic cleansing, slavery, and using torture to extract heresy confessions, and then put it somewhere that he knew it would be found and intact? If you were an omniscient deity with a message to spread to the world and you were incarnate at a time after the establishment of written language, would you let decades pass before your message was written down? Would you inscribe it onto fragile rolls of leather indiscernible from those of all other mythologies and leave its compilation into a single volume up to the fallible forces of human argumentation?
Delivery fail
Why would a god that insists that the only route to eternal salvation is through it only reveal itself to a small group of people in one geographical area, at a time when worldwide communication wasn't possible, meaning that millions of people all over the world were doomed to Hell or Limbo through no fault of their own? Why would God choose to reveal itself, not in literate, civilized China where people could have an intellectual evaluation of the evidence, but to the most illiterate, superstitious desert people in the Middle East? Why would God wait for 100,000 to 250,000 years of human history to reveal itself but not wait another 2,000 years for the invention of paternity tests and video and audio recording devices?
What does "the Bible was inspired" literally mean? What makes you think the Gospel of Mark is the inspired Word of God? What makes you think the Gospel of Peter, Epistle of Barnabas, and Shepherd of Hermas are not the inspired Word of God? After eighteen months in isolation, Isaac Newton introduced Calculus, the laws of motion and the field of optics to the world, arguably the most awe-inspiring display of human intelligence in the history of human intelligence. Do you think that these discoveries were inspired by God?
Is it more likely that the creator of the universe took the time to immortalize in the most important book of all time how annoying a nagging wife is, or that this was written by an annoyed husband without any divine inspiration (Proverbs 27:25-26)? Is it more likely that humans invented swords in the Bronze Age and included their invention in their creation myth or that God created the first sword at the beginning of time (Gen 3:24)?
Satan wrote it
If the fallibility of lowly but devout human scribes could produce inaccuracies in the Bible, why trust that powerful and motivated Satan did not likewise doctor it all up? How do you know that the Bible was not actually written by Satan who wanted the world to be in a constant state of holy and sectarian war, exactly as it has been since the invention of religion?
Nothing new
Does the Bible contain a single sentence that could not have been written by ancient humans without supernatural help? If the Bible is the inspired word of an all-knowing god, why is there nothing mentioned about electricity, or places beyond the Middle East or germ theory or flush toilets or anything that we now know to be true thanks to our modern capabilities but would have been impossible for primitive people in the Middle East to know without modern scientific methods or insight from an all-knowing god who doesn't want people to suffer? To the contrary, why does the Bible make claims, such as: seeds die before becoming a plant (1 Cor 15:36), the world is flat (Matt 4:8) and is covered by a big metal colander (Gen 1:6-8) and was created before the Sun (Gen 1:1-16), plants also came before the sun (Gen 1:1-16), bats are birds (Lev 11:13-19), insects have four legs (Lev 11:20-23), rabbits chew the cud (Lev 11:6), mustard seeds are the smallest (Matthew 13:32), ants are fully autonomous (Proverbs 6:6-8), the value of Pi is 3.0 (2 Chronicles 4:2-5), prayer and oil are good cures for illness (James 5:14-15), looking at a brass snake on a pole is a good cure for snakebite (Numbers 21:9), stars are smaller than the Earth (Rev 6:13, Rev 8:10), and Earth is a quadrilateral (Rev 7:1) that we now know are not true but were believed in ancient times? Why did Jesus defend his disciples' failure to wash hands before eating when he had the opportunity to teach the world about germs and save millions of lives (Mark 7:15)?
Book selection
How did the Church forefathers decide which books to include in the Bible? Do you think that there being four corners of the Earth is a good reason, as given by Irenaeus of Lyons, for having four Gospels? If the Synod of Hippo had happened in 75 CE instead of 393 CE would Matthew, Luke and John have been added to the Bible later at the times they were written? What happened around 150 CE to make God stop inspiring men to write its word anymore? Why did the Vatican remove 14 books from the Bible in 1684?
Human Word
If God is eternal, how can the Word of God exist in the form of human language when the meanings of words are always changing and scriptures are translated between languages?
God talks
Do you think that God actually spoke to the people who say so without any corroboration or evidence? Do you think that God actually wrote ten rules onto stones and gave them to someone named Moses who lived thousands of years ago? Do you think that God actually told George W. Bush to invade Iraq as he claims? told George W. Bush, Michele Bachmann, Mike Huckabee, Herman Cain, Scott Walker, Rick Santorum, Ben Carson, and Rick Perry to run for president as they claimed? speaks regularly to televangelist Pat Robertson and televangelist convicted of felony fraud Jim Bakker as they often claim? told Pastor Paula White to show Trump who God is as she claimed? told former South Carolina Republican Party leader Todd KinCannon to strangle, stab to death and mutilate his mother's beagle as he claimed? Do you think that God actually told Florida Republican state Senator Mike Hill that he needed to remove the exceptions for rape and incest in his abortion ban bill as he claimed? If someone you personally knew told you that the voice of God told him to kill and burn his own son, would you believe him? Would you believe this claim more if you instead read it about someone you didn't know in an ancient book of unknown origin? If someone confesses to murder but says God told him to do it, should he be acquitted?
Tricky devil
If God contacts me, what method should I use to be sure it's not the devil tricking me?
Ezekiel god talk
Do you think that the creator of the universe actually told Ezekiel to lie for 430 days tied up in rope on his side in front of an iron pan in front of a brick with a drawing of Jerusalem on it, lay siege to the Jerusalem drawing, cook barley cake over a fire of human dung, and switch to cow dung because he had never eaten something that had died of natural causes or was killed by another animal (Ezekiel 4:1-15)?
Moses god talk
Do you think that the creator of the universe actually told Moses that after a man is cured of a skin disease, a priest must kill a bird over a clay pot of water and then dip into the water a live bird, some cedar wood, some scarlet yarn and some herbs, and then sprinkle the man with these things, and then slaughter some animals and put the blood on the man's right earlobe, right thumb and right big toe, and then sprinkle olive oil seven times and then put it on the man's right earlobe, right thumb and right big toe (Lev 14:1-20)?
Adulteress story
Do you think that the adulteress story, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone at her", was part of the original Bible (John 8:1-11)? Why doesn't this story appear in the earliest manuscripts of the Gospel of John? Why isn't there any mention of this story in commentaries by Greek commentators until the tenth century?
Embarrassing stories
Does the inclusion of embarrassing stories in the Bible mean that it is true? Is the inclusion of the embarrassing castration of Attis in stories about him proof that this god is real and those stories are true?
Novel components
Does the inclusion of some novel components of the Biblical stories prove that they are true? Do the novel ideas of magic underwear and golden tablets prove that Mormonism is true?
Impossible stories
If any one statement or story in the Bible is impossible is everything in it questionable? Who recorded the private conversation in Job between God and Satan, or the private conversation between Pilate and Jesus in which Jesus said that his kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36)? How could the exchange have happened between Jesus and Nicodemus over the ambiguous idea of being "born again" (John 3:3-8) when the dual-meaning Greek word "anothen" cannot be retroverted into Aramaic with the same confusing double-entendre? How could Abraham have come from Ur, the land of the Chaldeans, if Chaldea did not exist until the 9th century BCE? If it is too cold in Jerusalem for date palms to grow, how did the crowd get palm branches to greet Jesus (John 12:13)? How could there have been domesticated camels in the Bible stories when camels were not domesticated until the late second and early first millenia BCE (Gen 37:23-25)? How could Daniel have lived during the reigns of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, and Cyrus over a period of more than a century?
God help wanted
If God was able to create the universe by itself why did it need help from people to write a book? to communicate to people? to evangelize? to get pregnant mothers to view prenatal sonograms? to torture accused heretics in order to extract confessions? to stone people for picking up sticks on the Sabbath (Numbers 15:35)? Why would the creator of the universe need to stick fingers into someone's ears to magically heal his deafness (Mark 7:33), or put mud on his eyes to make him see (John 9:15)? Why didn't Jesus just expel the demons directly into oblivion without putting them into innocent pigs that then fled into a lake and drowned (Matt 8:28-34)? Are these stories more likely to be factual accounts or literary flourishes? Would you believe them if they were contained in the Qur'an? Why would God need people to put blood on their door frames in order to know which of them are Jewish so that it didn't murder the wrong innocent, firstborn children (Exodus 12:13)?
Hi-Fi oral tradition
If oral tradition was so high fidelity in ancient times, why didn't God just include the unambiguous details of foretold events instead of using vague language of a short-lived literary genre that could be interpreted many different ways?
Where did God say which parts are to be taken literally and which are symbolic or that any of it is symbolic? How is it okay to interpret scripture when "no prophecy of the Bible is of any interpretation" (2 Pet 1:20)? How can one of many conflicting, subjective, symbolic interpretations of something count as proof of anything at all? If newspaper writers use third-grade level words to ensure that most readers can understand their meanings, why would God inspire a book to be written in a way that can only be properly understood with the help of many other books, functional literacy in Greek, years of theological training and guidance from the distinct religious apologists each person happens to encounter? Why don't Catholics read the Bible as much as Protestants do? Why for the majority of the history of Christendom were ordinary Christians forbidden by the Church from reading the Bible? How do you decide which parts of the Bible to interpret literally and which are metaphors? Was the Bible interpreted metaphorically before the rise of literal Fundamentalism in the 20th Century? Did Christians prior to that time interpret the resurrection, virgin birth, walking on water, and water-to-wine transformation stories metaphorically too? Why is "eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood" (John 6:53) interpreted so literally that the transubstantiation is actually a doctrine and the Eucharist is the most important thing in a Catholic mass? Do you think cannibalism is fundamentally disordered? Throughout the history of the Catholic Church people have taken extraordinary Bible passages literally that were later interpreted symbolically. What is different about the extraordinary Bible passages that you take literally? If scriptures are definitively interpretable by modern-day clergy who communicate their accurate interpretations to their followers, why didn't God's authors just write these unambiguous interpretations into their books instead of riddles that needed interpretation? Does God like poetic manners of expression and sectarian violence more than clear understanding and peace? When two apologists disagree, which one is right? How do I know whether or not I am reading the Bible with the guidance of the Holy Spirit?
Abiding confusion
If the books of the Pentateuch are 1) regarded among learned theologians as not literally true, and 2) serve when read literally as the justification for countless horrible atrocities, why has the Church not removed them from the officially accepted translations or at least labeled them clearly as fiction? Why are entire Bibles not color-coded according to which words are, per official decision, to be read literally and which symbolically?
If the Bible is the inerrant word of God (2 Peter 1:19-21, 2 Tim 3:16, Pope Paul VI: Dei Verbum ch 3 para 2, Pope Pius XII: Divino afflante Spiritu para 46, Augustine Letter 82 to Jerome, Aquinas: Summa Theologica) and if oral tradition was so high-fidelity in ancient times, why are there so many contradictions? See bibviz.com. Which version of the Bible is inerrant? Did Jesus die the day before the Passover (John 19:31) or the day after the Passover (Mark 14:12)? Was Mary Magdalene informed of the resurrection by an angel (Matt 28:5) or by Jesus (John 20:14)? Was Jehoiachin eighteen (2 Kings 24:8) or eight (2 Chron 36:9) when he became king? Was Ahaziah twenty-two (2 Kings 8:26) or forty-two (2 Chron 22:2) when he began to reign? Did Paul's companions hear the voice (Acts 9:7) or not hear the voice (Acts 22:9) during Paul's conversion experience? Can witnesses be convinced by a risen Lazarus (John 11:38-44), or not convinced (Luke 16:19-31)? Did Judas hang himself (Matt 27:5), or did his intestines explode (Acts 1:18)? Was the stone rolled away before (John 20:1) or after (Matt 28:1-2) the women arrived at the tomb? Did the sun rise before (Mark 16:2) or after (John 20:1) the women arrived at the tomb? Did Nicodemus provide the spices (John 19:39), or did the women (Mark 16:1, Luke 23:56)? Do you get into Heaven based on your deeds (Matt 16:27, James 2:16), or your blind faith (Ephesians 2:8, Galatians 2:16)? Do you consider the contradictions in holy books of other religions to be good arguments against their claims of divine authority? For example, in Surah 1:1 of the Qur'an, Allah is called most merciful. In Surah 24:2 Allah gives no mercy to pregnant women. Do you find this contradiction a good argument against the divine inerrancy of the Qur'an? If the original manuscripts of the Bible were accurate but errors crept into copies, why did God let that happen?
Sermon on the Mount
Do you think the Sermon on the Mount was scribed verbatim decades after the event by someone who wasn't there? Do you think that anyone could in 2018 without any notes, records or personal memory of the event accurately write down Gerald Ford's first State of the Union address?
Creation story
Do you believe the Biblical creation story? How was there light before the stars existed? If God didn't make the sun until the 4th day, how could it count the days? When did God make the planets? If God created the universe so that it could be worshipped by us in Heaven for eternity and it knew which of us would and would not make it to Heaven, why not just create these elect few in Heaven in the first place and skip the material universe part? If God is omnipotent, why did it take six days to create the universe? How could God create all the stars in only one day if it took three whole days to create just the Earth? Do you think that the creation story was just allegory and the universe was not actually created in 6 24-hour days? Where does God say that the story is allegory? If God really meant that creation happened in periods of time different from 24-hour days would it have been able to find the words for saying so? Why did Jesus not think it was a myth (Mark 10:6, Matt 19:4)? or Paul (Romans 5:14, Romans 18:19, 1 Cor 15:22, 1 Cor 15:45, 2 Cor 11:3, 1 Tim 2:13-14), or Jude (Jude 1:14)? What allegorical value was added by misordering the creation of plants and the sun? Where in Luke's genealogy from Adam to Jesus does the myth end and the historical record begin (Luke 3:23-38)? Do you think there were only 62 human generations before Jesus? If God created the universe for the sole purpose of having a relationship with humans, why did it choose a design whose vastness is almost entirely unsupportive of that purpose and is reasonably explained to scientists and skeptics as the product of natural forces indifferent to human life? Why didn't God just implement it all in an undeniably supernatural way that could not be so easily and universally misunderstood by very intelligent people as purely naturalistic?
Creationism in schools
Do you think the Biblical creation story should be taught to children in public schools? Should it be taught in literature class along with Greek and Roman mythology or in science class along with evolution? Should all of the thousands of religious creation stories be taught as well? Why is chemistry taught in public schools but alchemy is not?
Are you among the 27% of Catholics who reject the Church's acceptance of the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection? If land animals did not evolve from fish, why does the left recurrent laryngeal nerve run all the way from the brain down to the heart, around the main artery and back up the neck to the voice box only a couple of inches away from where it started, an efficient path for neckless fish but one that creates a fifteen-foot detour for giraffes? Why do whales have flipper bones similar to those of hands and hind quarter bones similar to hips, thighs, and shins of land animals? Why does the urethra, a conduit that must not be constricted, pass through the prostate gland, an organ that is prone to swelling? Why does the optic nerve pass through the retina creating a blind spot? Why do human males have vulnerable external testicles instead of internal ones like elephants and birds have? Why is the birth canal so close to the urinary tract that many women die of fistula after breakages occur in prolonged labor? Why are the trachea and esophagus of a human so close together that choking is a serious hazard, and not like those of a whale that doesn't have this problem? Why do humans have appendixes like what other animals use to digest wood but we do not need and can explode and kill us? If the appearance of intelligent design in a thing means it had an intelligent designer, does the appearance of incompetent design in a thing mean it had an incompetent designer? If human beings are special and have dominion over all other species on Earth, why are people made of material that is edible to animals and not some special, different substance that can't be eaten? Would you like teaching Evolution to be banned in the US as it is in Islamic Pakistan?
Irreducible complexity
If it would be impossible for human eyes to acquire their functionality gradually and through evolution without an intelligent designer, how can there be organisms with such vastly different organs for sensing light, from much simpler than the human eye to much better than the human eye?
Young Earth
Are you among the 27% of Catholics who reject the Church's position that the Earth is billions of years old? Do you think that human beings were created about 6,000 years ago in their current form? How can the universe be only 6,000 years old if we can see more than 6,000 light years away from Earth and we can date organisms from more than 6,000 years ago? How can fossils turn into oil in only 6,000 years? How did the tectonic plates move to their current positions in only 6,000 years? Do you think that dinosaurs and people lived at the same time? What is the biblical support for the claim that the Earth is only 6,000 years old? As well as his claim of the Universe's age, do you also agree with Ussher's claim that the Universe was created during Autumn? How can autumn exist before the Earth exists?
Adam and Eve
Do you think there really was a man named Adam, a woman named Eve, and a talking snake? Were the man and woman made simultaneously (Gen 1:27) or was Eve made out of Adam's rib (Gen 2:21)? If God made the universe from nothing, why did it need one of Adam's ribs in order to make Eve? As the rib contained the same genes as the rest of Adam, why didn't it just become another Adam? If people were immortal before The Fall, why did they need to breathe life-sustaining oxygen or consume life-sustaining food and water in order to continue living? Did they have fully evolved digestive and respiratory systems? Did they need reproductive systems to reproduce? If originally organisms reproduced but did not die and if The Fall hadn't happened, would the planet be covered in a thick mass of living insects, plants, animals and people by now? Why can't snakes talk anymore? Without any knowledge of the concept of clothing or nakedness, how did Adam and Eve decide where to put the fig leaves? Who was the mother of Cain's children? How does God feel about incest? Is this story one of your reasons for opposing gay marriage? for subordinating women? for being so bothered by genitals and female nipples? for your sanctification and condemnation of the insertion of one body part into another body part? How is a child harmed by the sight of an adult female nipple?
Tree of knowledge
What benefit came from God's creating a tree of knowledge at all? Who received this benefit? Why would God put it in a place near people instead of somewhere inaccessible? Was it all a setup? Where was God when the snake was tempting Eve? Why did God make the talking snake? Why didn't God keep the talking snake away from Eve?
Original sin
If you regard the Eden story not as factual but only allegory and you accept evolution, but you believe that Jesus really did die to save us from the punishment for an actual original sin, then what was the actual original sin? Which prehistoric species committed it? Was it a hominid? Were members of different, contemporary hominids and their offspring spared God's condemnation? How do you reconcile a gradual evolution of the cognitive capacity to sin with an instantaneous commission of a single original sin before which suffering and death did not exist? Were there deadly earthquakes and envy in Paradise before the Fall of Man? How were the tectonic plates able to stay put? How was the problem of mutually exclusive ownership overcome?
Heritable fault
How do you square that a person's eternal disposition should be determined by her own choices, but her suffering on Earth should be consequent to the choices of an ancestral original sinner? Do you think that fault can pass from a parent to a child (Isaiah 14:21, 2 Samuel 12:14)? Should the descendants of Nazi death camp guards be charged with war crimes? How can one person's guilt transfer to another person? Why would Jesus kill Jezebel's children with pestilence (Rev 2:23)? What did they do wrong? Are the 18,000 daily child deaths by starvation due to Adam and Eve's disobeying God's order? Why would God visit the iniquity of the fathers on their children to the third and fourth generations (Ex 20:5)? If you keep the commandments will your third and fourth generation descendants be spared punishment if they do not keep the commandments? Why did God kill David's son as a punishment for David (2 Sam 12:15)?
Why would God want Adam and Eve to be good but not be able to tell the difference between good and evil (Gen 2:9)? When choosing whether to obey God or the snake, how could fallible Adam and fallible Eve know which was the great deceiver and which was the benevolent, loving master? Is it more likely to you that this is a true story or that someone wanted to control people by scaring them into blind obedience? Was it virtuous for the guards at Auschwitz to obey orders from Hitler to murder strangers? Was it virtuous for Abraham to obey an order from a voice in his head to murder his son? Was it virtuous for Jephthah to murder his only daughter? Why are blind obedience and ignorance so important to God that it chose as the mother of all sins a combination of exercising free will through disobedience and the pursuit of knowledge through consumption of fruit from the tree of knowledge? Isn't hurting someone worse than asserting personal autonomy and knowing things? How could Adam and Eve have known that disobedience was wrong before eating fruit from the tree of knowledge of right and wrong? Is anything more important to tyrants than obedience and ignorance? Is it virtuous for you to accept dogma without asking questions and obtaining evidence? Is it virtuous for a suicide bomber to accept dogma without asking questions and obtaining evidence?
Noah's ark
Do you think there really was a worldwide flood and a man who really made an ark by hand and lived to be 950? How did they fit 5 million pairs (or sevens) of animals including all the dinosaurs plus all their food and water on a boat that size, and keep them from eating each other or suffocating in air less breathable than that inside African slave ships? Did they bring plants or seeds of plants of every kind too? Who collected them before the flood? Who planted them back in the ground after the flood? How did insects and worms which don't breathe through nostrils survive if they were not brought aboard the ark (Gen 7:22)? How did all the species survive such intense inbreeding during the post-flood repopulation period? How does God feel about incest? How did the different races evolve from Noah's family and the different species evolve from the ark ones in less than 6,000 years? How did they stay afloat in rough seas in a flat-bottom wooden box for a year? How did the penguins and tree sloths who live thousands of miles from the Middle East get to and from the ark? Why are there continuous records from that time from thriving Chinese, Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Sumerian and Peruvian civilizations with nothing about a worldwide flood? Why didn't anyone else in the entire world have a boat? What happened with the freshwater fish? or the saltwater fish that die of shock in reduced salinity? How did any aquatic life survive in brackish water much worse than what kills it in modern-day floods or at uninhabitable depths below the surface or distances above the plants on the bottom? Did they put two blue whales in tanks onboard? Why isn't there a worldwide layer of sediment from this period containing both rabbit fossils and stegasaurus fossils? Where did the 800 million cubic miles of water go? Do you think that an asteroid strike initiated the flood by opening the fountains of the great deep (Gen 7:11)? How could Noah and his family have survived the fallout in an atmosphere full of poisonous vaporized rock, acid rain and enough heat from condensed rock falling back through the atmosphere to boil the ocean? Why doesn't the Bible mention anything about asteroids, volcanoes or darkness in the Flood story? If asteroids did not cause the Flood, how do you explain evidence of asteroids hitting the Earth over billions of years? How was Noah able to sort the animals based on the dietary law (clean vs. unclean) that hadn't been given yet and before people ate meat? How bright was it for God to kill everyone sinful without changing anything about human nature so that sin just came right back anyway? Why didn't God just snap its fingers and annihilate everyone without all the drowning and theatrics and without killing the animals? If, in the beginning, God was able to create all the animals why did it need to make a big flood and save pairs of them in Noah's time? Why not just create them the same way it did the first time? What did everyone eat after the flood ended and all the plants were dead? How can a perfect, eternal, incorporeal, infinite being be pleased by the soothing aroma of burnt animals and presumably become more perfect than before it was pleased (Gen 8:21)? If God likes the smell of burning flesh, why doesn't it just burn the flesh itself without waiting for a person to do it? If rainbows did not exist before the Noah flood, how did optical refraction of sunlight in water droplets work before then? Do you think that slavery for all of his descendants is a fair punishment for Canaan whose father Ham saw his father Noah naked (Gen. 9:20-22)? If Noah's ark landed in a single location, freeing all the species, then how and why did every single species of kangaroo (red kangaroo, tree kangaroo, wallaby, etc.) migrate all the way across the ocean to Australia/New Guinea? Why did all of the guinea pig variants (chinchillas and the like) all go to South America? How could eight people reproducing generate in only 150 years a population big enough to build a city and impressive tower (Gen 11:1-9)? or in 100 years a civilization in Egypt great enough to build the pyramids? Can you imagine a 3-day old baby slowly drowning in a great flood intentionally caused by a loving god? Why did Jesus believe in the story of Noah (Matt 24:36-41)? Why do Sunday School teachers present the ark story to credulous children as historically true before they have reached the age of seven, the officially Church-accepted age of reason, when they still think that Santa Claus is real?
Do you think there really was a man named Moses from the 14th century BCE who was as a baby set adrift on a river in a basket, was adopted, was favored by God, really parted the Red Sea and really killed people by the hundreds of thousands with God's help and blessing? Do you believe the story from 1500 years before the story of Moses that Mesopotamian King Sargon of Akkad was as a baby set adrift on a river in a basket, was adopted and rose to power? Do you believe the story from a thousand years before the purported placement in history of Moses, itself a thousand years before the appearance of Moses in texts, that Pharaoh Snefru folded the Red Sea over on itself in order to retrieve some lost jewelry?
The Exodus
Do you think that there really was an exodus of Jewish slaves from Egypt and that they wandered in the wilderness for forty years to get from Ramses to Canaan which is only about a six-day trip on foot? Why have the majority of Israeli archaeologists agreed that there was no such exodus? If God was able to drown Pharaoh's army, why did it not stop the armies of Moab? What difference would it make for the Israelites to avoid capture by Pharaoh's army if they were still in areas of Egyptian political influence? Why is there no historical record of a loss of 33% of Egypt's population among the records of Egypt or its enemies who would have easily conquered them because of it? Why is there no archaeological evidence of a mass Israelite migration but there is for Viking sagas and Homeric epics? If in fidelity to their heritage the enslaved Israelites avoided Egyptian cultural assimilation for 400 years why did they assimilate Canaanite culture? What good came from killing the innocent firstborn sons of non-Jewish Egyptian slaves? Instead of killing all the innocent firstborns and sending all the plagues, why didn't God just kill the Pharaoh, or better yet - persuade him with a dream, or even better yet still - simply not harden his heart and just allow him to free the Israelites as he would have otherwise done (Exodus 4:21)?
Ten Commandments
Do you believe that God actually wrote down ten rules onto stone tablets and gave them to someone named Moses on top of a mountain? Do you believe that Dionysus wrote down laws onto two stone tablets? Do you believe that Zoroaster received the "Book of the Law" from God on a high mountain? Do you believe that Minos received sacred laws from Zeus on a high mountain? Is it more likely that the creator of the universe had exactly ten distinctly important rules or that ten was a good round number to put into a story?
Do you think that the story of Jonah living for three days in the stomach of a big fish is a true historical account? Why did Jesus think that it was a true historical account (Matt 12:40)?
Immaculate conception
What is the scriptural basis for the claim of Mary's immaculate conception? How do you know that the children of Reverend Sun Myung Moon were not born without original sin as Moonies believe?
Jesus lineage
How could Jesus be in the tribe of Judah or David if Jesus had no human father and tribal affiliation was patrilineal? Did Jesus descend from David through his son Solomon (1 Chronicles 22:9-10) or through his son Nathan and then Judah and then Mary (Hebrews 7:14)? Why does Luke's genealogy record (Luke 3:23-37) list 14 more generations than Matthew's (Matt 1:1-17)? How can someone be his own son? What does the word "son" mean?
Moses vs Jesus
In their birth stories, both baby Moses and baby Jesus are hunted by an evil king who seeks to destroy them; both narrowly escape this evil king's attempt to kill them, but many other Jewish male babies are slaughtered. Wise men warn the evil king that a marvelous Hebrew/Jewish male has been born who will save his people. Do you think there is anything fishy about this coincidence?
Virgin birth
What is the evidence that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was born? Do you believe that Caesar Augustus, Ghengis Khan and Alexander the Great were born of virgins too as reported an ancient books? Which is more likely: a temporary suspension of the natural order or a lie about how someone got pregnant? Who besides Mary witnessed Gabriel's prophetic visit to Mary (Luke 1:35)? If God was able to create Adam from dust, why did it have to create Jesus by impregnating Joseph's wife, a method that any reasonable, modern family law court would ascribe to simple infidelity, not anything supernatural? Of all the ways God could have incarnated itself - fashioned from mud, blinked into being, zapped down from the sky in adult form, etc - why did it choose virgin birth when that was a method used in countless previous mythologies of god incarnations, and therefore would lead reasonable thinkers to conclude that the whole thing was just a fiction fabricated out of the other similar stories? Is it plausible that the Greek-speaking authors of the Gospels could have just transferred motifs of divine sonship, virgin birth, double paternity, world rule, a world mission on behalf of humanity, divinization, and death before completing the mission from Greek Alexander the Great who had conquered Palestine before Jesus's time and consequently held the status of a god among the local people? Why is there no mention of virgin birth in Mark or John? Why was the Hebrew word for "young woman" (almah) translated into "virgin" (bethulah) instead of "young woman" in the Greek translation of Isaiah 7:14 used by the writers of Luke and Matthew?
Bethlehem trip
How could Joseph have put a nine-month-pregnant Mary on a donkey for a 5-day trip from Nazareth to report in Bethlehem for a Roman census that could not have happened until at least 6 CE during the Syrian governorship of Quirinius (Luke 2:2) who didn't take office until then after the Romans deposed Judean king Archelaus, given that Roman censuses never counted any women, and a census of Judea would have only included Galileans if they were rich and owned property in Judea? How could Jesus have been born during this census of no earlier than 6 CE and also during the reign of King Herod who died between 4 and 1 BCE? Why didn't the author of Matthew mention anything about a trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem (Matt 2:1)?
Not so wisemen
Why did God use a magic star to lead the wisemen first to Jerusalem where they told (four-years-dead) King Herod that a baby king was being born which predictably angered Herod so much that he ordered all the male babies be killed (Matt 2:1-2)? Why didn't historian Josephus, who took great delight in cataloging Herod's crimes not mention this slaughter of babies that would have been the worst of his crimes? Why didn't God's magic star just lead the wisemen straight to Bethlehem avoiding King Herod in Jerusalem and sparing all those babies? How can it be said that a star, millions of light years away from Earth, is above a particular spot, Bethlehem, on Earth (Matt 2:9)?
Pregnant Mary
Seeing clearly that Mary was pregnant, wouldn't Mary's family or the Jewish authorities in her town insist on knowing who the father was in order to establish tribal affiliation? If they were told Joseph was the father, wouldn't they insist that he marry Mary before the birth?
Do you think that Isaiah prophesied the virgin birth of Jesus (Isaiah 7:14)? Why, in 700 BCE, would God promise to deliver Jerusalem to Ahaz through the birth of a messiah that he would give as a sign to Ahaz 700 years later, long after he was dead and could therefore not receive signs (Isaiah 7:1-16)? Is it perfectly common for virgins to have babies by first having sex and then getting pregnant? Where does it say that the virgin to bear the child will do so while remaining a virgin? If you can't tell by looking at her whether a mother is a virgin, how can virgin birth be a sign? Is it more likely that the prophesied child was that of Isaiah in the very next chapter or Jesus 700 years later? Was the child of Isaiah the product of a virgin birth? If Jesus fulfilled the prophecy, why was his name Jesus (Greek), or Yeshua (Hebrew), and not Immanuel? How can the report of a prophecy fulfillment be trusted if the reporter of the fulfillment was aware of the prophecy at the time he reported its fulfillment? Does the greater number of connections people find in the Qur'an compared to the Bible convince you that the Qur'an contains true prophecies? Do you think the suffering servant (Isaiah 53) was a literal reference to a prophesied messiah or a metaphor for Israel? Do you think the barren woman (Isaiah 54) was a literal reference to an actual person or a metaphor for Israel? Why did God encrypt this Jesus prophecy so cleverly that Jews interpreted it as a metaphor?
Myth similarities
Why would an omniscient god intervene in the world in a manner with so many identical antecedents in mythology? Why would Jesus have twelve disciples when the number twelve was so steeped in mythology and astrology and would, therefore, lead a reasonable person to conclude that this was just another mythology based on older mythologies?
Double standard
Do you hold your own supernatural beliefs to the same standard you use when evaluating the supernatural beliefs of other people? Do you believe that the Universe was created out of a giant golden egg like Hindus believe? that after death we become gods and rule over our own planet as the Mormons believe? that Mohammad flew to Heaven on a winged horse and split the moon in half as the Muslims believe? that Elijah was brought to Heaven on a chariot of fire as the Bible says? that Jesus walked on water, brought a dead person back to life, turned water into wine, and rose from the dead as it says in the Gospels?
Pointless crucifixion
Why couldn't an omnipotent god forgive the sins of humanity without anyone being executed? If the critical part was his rising from the dead, why couldn't Jesus have been killed by a lone maniac instead of being crucified in a manner that demonized all Jews? If whether we spend eternity with or apart from God depends on how we exercise our free will, then what was the point of Jesus dying? If Jesus died for our sins, what difference does it make how we exercise our free will? If this is up to God and God loves us, then why didn't God just admit everyone into Heaven straight away without Jesus or anyone dying? If it is not up to us and not up to God, then what is it up to? Who created Hell?
Do you believe Jesus died for our sins? What does "Jesus died for our sins" literally mean? What would have been the consequences if he hadn't? If original sin caused suffering and death, and Jesus died to atone for our sins, why is there still suffering and death? If Jesus was able to forgive sins by just saying they were forgiven why did he need to die on a cross to forgive them (Luke 5:20)? When did Jesus say that he was dying to atone for sins? Which Old Testament scriptures support the notion that sins are forgiven by the atoning death of the Messiah (Luke 24:45-47)? How could Jesus die for sins of others if "every man shall be put to death for his own sin" (Deut 24:16)?
Vicarious redemption
How exactly does one person dying have anything to do with the sins committed by other people? Do you think that the ancient Israelite practice of sending a live (scape)goat into the wilderness to die had some effect on anyone's sins? Do you think that the annual slaughter at Hajj of hundreds of thousands of animals by Muslims is effective in bringing the participants closer to Allah? Does the slaughter of animals in the annual Hindu Gadhimai festival make wishes come true? Do you think that Jesus dying on a cross had some effect on anyone's sins? How does a system of vicarious redemption promote moral accountability? Should people be allowed to substitute themselves for convicted murderers on death row?
Pay whom?
If Jesus died to pay for our sins, then exactly whom did he pay? And how did the recipient of this payment benefit from this payment?
Crucifixion upside
How was Jesus's death a "sacrifice" for God if God can do anything and Jesus didn't stay dead and is now with God, who is also Jesus? How is it possible for God to permanently lose (sacrifice) anything? If Jesus came from and then went back to Heaven, wouldn't his 33 years on Earth be the real suffering and his six hours on the cross be a trivial and welcome exit method?
Heroic villain
Is it virtuous for God to sacrifice itself to itself to appease itself in order to save us from itself? Is it virtuous for a soldier to throw himself on a grenade whose pin he pulled himself?
Do you think someone who just happened to have the name Barabbas, meaning "son of the father", was really set to be crucified next to Jesus or is it more likely that this was just allegory for the Yom Kippur ritual where one scapegoat carried sins into the wilderness and another was a perfect sacrifice?
How could Pontius Pilate, with his overwhelming military might, give in to the requests of an unarmed group of civilians and release Barabbas when acting with such acquiescence would have been grounds for his own execution, and when apart from the Gospels there is no record of Paschal pardons even happening? Why would Pilate do what the high priests asked and order his guards to watch the tomb?
Eloi vs Elijah
Do you think Jesus really said, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?) (Mark 15:34, Matt 27:46)? Why wouldn't the authors of Luke and John record these last words of Jesus? If the Gospel of Mark had been written by John Mark, carefully recording the memoirs of the Apostle Peter, how is it possible that Aramaic-speaking Peter could come up with a story about fellow Aramaic-speaking Jews confusing "Eloi" with "Elijah" ("Elias" in Greek) while standing at the cross and report that those present thought Jesus was calling out for Elijah?
Human sacrifice
Do you think that the human sacrifices of the Aztecs were effective in appeasing their gods? Do you think that the human sacrifice of Jesus was effective in appeasing your god?
The Passion
Do you believe the passion story is a historical account? Why did anyone have to betray Jesus if he wasn't in hiding? Why wouldn't the soldiers and police of the high priest arrest Simon Peter after he cut off the ear of the high priest's slave (John 18:10)? Do you believe the story that Dionysus was arrested and tried on charges of claiming divinity? What evidence is there that the Romans used a t-shaped cross for public executions? Rather than maximizing deterrence through gore and humiliation as usual by letting the body rot on the cross and then casting it into a common grave, why would the Romans grant a proper Jewish burial to someone they executed for the serious, seditious crime of claiming to be a king in a Roman controlled land? Why would the anti-Jesus Jews, knowing of the resurrection prediction, request or even permit a tomb burial instead of just doing nothing and letting the body remain on the cross to be eaten by scavengers as was the norm in the case of crucifixions? Why didn't the anti-Jesus Sanhedrin just order the body to be dumped into a dirt grave in accord with the Rabbinic law prohibiting burial of criminals in tombs? Why did the priests and Pharisees wait until the next day, the Sabbath, to ask Pilate to post a guard at the tomb (Matt 27:62)? Why would the priests of the Sanhedrin and devout Jews violate the Torah (Lev 23:3, Exodus) and on the Sabbath, 14th or the 15th of Nissan do work or order others to do work by requesting that a Roman soldier guard the tomb (Matt 27:64), lighting a fire (Luke 22:55), holding a trial (Mt. 26:56-64), working in the fields (Mark 15:21), buying and selling burial linen (Mark 15:46), and preparing spices (Luke 23:56)? Why would the Jewish authorities break their own laws that 1) Legal actions could not be brought in a private house, but only in the proper place: in the temple area called the "Beth Din", the seat of the Great Sanhedrin, for capital offenses, 2) Legal actions could not be brought at night-time, 3) Legal actions could not be brought on the eve of a holiday, 4) A sentence could not be pronounced on the basis of an extorted confession, and 5) Death sentences could only be pronounced at least 24 hours after the interrogation Why would Joseph of Arimathea render himself doubly unclean before Passover by having contact with a Gentile (Pilate) and a corpse? Why would Joseph of Arimathea, a rich member of the Sanhedrin, choose for his personal family tomb a place next to Golgotha, a Roman execution site (John 19:42)? Why are the Pharisees only included in the tomb guard story of Matthew's Gospel, a Gospel written during a time, 80-90 CE, when the Pharisees were chief opponents of Matthew's church? Why does the story include the Pharisees and not the Sadducees who had power at that time? Why is each chronologically successive canonical Gospel more sensational than the last? If Jesus was crucified for only 6 hours (Mark 15:25, Luke 23:44) instead of the usual several days is it more likely that he really died, remained dead for three days and then rose from the dead or that he just went into a coma and then came to? If, two thousand years ago, anyone came out of a coma, would anyone at the time say that he had not been risen from the dead? How did the author of the Gospel of John know that none of Jesus’ bones were broken during his beatings and his crucifixion (John 19:36)? Why didn’t the authors of Mark, Matthew, or Luke mention the fact that the Jews asked Pilate to break the legs of Jesus and the two thieves; that the soldiers did break the legs of the two thieves, but when they came to Jesus, he was already dead? If they wanted to make sure that Jesus was dead, why didn't the Roman soldiers just break his legs as they had been ordered instead of piercing his side with a spear?
The Resurrection
Do you believe that Jesus actually rose from the dead? If Jesus was God, why did he not raise himself from the dead but rather depended on God to do it as reported by Paul (Col 2:12, 1 Cor 15:16, 1 Cor 6:14) and Peter (Acts 2:24)? How many eyewitnesses saw an angel push away the stone and saw Jesus rise from the dead and exit the tomb? If resurrected Jesus was able to walk through locked doors (John 20:26), why did an angel need to push away the stone in order for Jesus to exit the tomb or allow the women to enter it and believe the resurrection (Matt 28:2)? Why would the women bring spices to anoint the body if they knew the tomb was sealed and guarded, and why would they wait two days to do it when the body would already be decomposing by then (Matt 2-10)? How could a tomb rock roll away in 33 CE when they did not start making round tomb rocks until around 70 CE? Is a miraculous resurrection the most probable explanation for an empty tomb? Is it more probable than a raid of the tomb of wealthy Joseph of Arimathea? Is any explanation less probable than a miracle? When you lose your keys do you conclude that a supernatural force moved them? Do you believe the account in the apocryphal Gospel of Peter that three Heaven-tall people and one talking, floating cross exited the tomb? Do you believe the resurrection stories of Adonis, Romulus, Zalmoxis, Dionysus and Inanna from as far back as 1700 BCE? Do you believe that Mythra had twelve disciples, a last supper and was resurrected? Why is there a great earthquake in the resurrection story of Matthew (Matt 28:2), but not the story in Mark that was written earlier? Do you believe the reports of great earthquakes when Caesar and other Romans died? How did an earthquake strong enough to roll away a giant stone from a tomb not cause massive collateral damage or merit non-biblical record? Do you believe that Jesus's mother ascended bodily into Heaven? What evidence did Pope Pius XII use when establishing this dogma?
Roman guards
Do you believe that Roman guards witnessed the resurrection events and then lied to their commander and the governor, Pilate, that they had fallen asleep on the job and were asleep while Jesus's disciples rolled away a massive, sealed tomb rock without waking them up (Matt 28:11-15)? Would the Jews break the Sabbath by approaching Pilate and asking him to seal the tomb? Why would Pilate have granted a guard for something he surely would have found to be absurd? If the guards went straight to the chief priests instead of their commander to report the event because they were afraid of telling the extraordinary true story to their commander, why did the chief priests need to give them any money in order for them to cooperate and tell a lie? If they knew what had actually happened - a dead man came back to life - why would they risk certain execution and tell a lie that would easily be uncovered as soon as the dead man appeared to the authorities or word got around another way?
Jesus appearances
Do you believe that resurrected Jesus actually appeared to people? When pre-death Jesus took three of the disciples up on the Mount of Transfiguration, and they "saw" Moses and Elijah, had these ancient prophets been resurrected (Matt 17:1)? How did the disciples know that these guys were Moses and Elijah? Did they have bodies of flesh and bones or were they just visions? If they were just visions, then was resurrected Jesus likewise just a vision? Why didn't resurrected Jesus appear to the scribes and Pharisees after his resurrection as proof and to keep his promise to them that he would give them this sign (Matt 12:39)? Why didn't the disciples invite people to come and talk to Jesus during the forty days that he spent with them (Acts 1:3)?
Death magic
How was it possible for a solar eclipse to take place during the period of the full moon of Passover? Do you think that the tombs of saints opened on Friday when Jesus died, and that the resurrected saints waited around in their tombs until the resurrection on Sunday when they finally got up and walked into town to appear to many people (Matt 27:52-52)? Did the saints die again after a while? Why wasn't this extraordinary occurrence reported in any of the other gospels or any non-biblical records?
Risen Jesus body
If resurrected Jesus was recognizable to people who knew him does that mean that resurrected bodies are very similar in appearance and age to earthly bodies? What about those who die as 150-cell blastocysts, Siamese twins, and feeble senior citizens? If resurrected Jesus had holes in his side, hands, and feet, does that mean we will retain all our injuries for eternity? Do all resurrected bodies in Heaven appear to be age 33 as Jesus was? Is it possible to starve or suffocate in Heaven? Why did resurrected Jesus need to eat (Luke 24:41-43)? Of what use in Heaven are the organs and features of a mortal, earthly, human-like body naturally selected for land-based life on a planet with the mass and environment of Earth where an immune system is required to fight off disease, a digestive system is required to process life-sustaining food and a respiratory system is required to process life-sustaining oxygen?
Why no dates?
Do you believe that Jesus was greeted by crowds of thousands on Palm Sunday as the next King of Israel; that his trial before Pilate and Herod brought the city to near revolt; that upon his death the earth shook, the sky went dark for three hours, and dozens of dead saints wandered out of their graves to walk the streets of a major city; that hundreds of people in Palestine began seeing a resurrected, walking, talking, teleporting dead corpse; that these sightings continued over a period of 40 days; that at least a dozen eyewitnesses watched this resurrected corpse levitate into the clouds; and only weeks later, the "eyewitnesses" to these miraculous events preached to crowds of thousands in the Temple, on Pentecost, causing thousands of devout Jews to convert to the Christian movement... yet no one bothered to record the exact date of his death or alleged resurrection? Why don't world history textbooks include even the naturalistic details surrounding these events? If Jesus had truly appeared to his followers in a flesh and bones body, why didn't early Christians memorialize the sites of this? They memorialized practically every other site from the Gospel stories, including the location of his baptism, his birth, and some would allege, his grave. So why not the site of Jesus' first post-resurrection appearance or of any of his alleged appearances? Why is there no shrine at any of these locations?
Keeping Torah
Why did James and the other Jewish Christians continue to Keep Torah (keep kosher, circumcise one's children, and worship in the Temple with animal sacrifices) after Jesus died (Acts 21:26)?
Does the purported martyrdom of apostles from an ancient book of unknown authority convince you that people really did encounter a resurrected Jesus? When did they die, how did they die, and what were the circumstances of their death? Does the castration and suicide of Heaven's Gate leader Marshall Applewhite, documented with modern recording technology, convince you of his reported personal encounters with aliens? Why would Joseph Smith die defending a story that he made up about the angel Moroni? Why did Proteus Peregrinus, a charlatan prophet, immolate himself, knowing full well that he was a fraud? Why is there nothing in the Book of Acts, likely written around 85 CE, about Peter's or Paul's execution around 65 CE? What is the evidence that 1) a group of individuals, 2) specifically named, 3) who saw a physically resurrected Jesus, 4) willingly died for this belief, 5) and not for any other reason? Were the women of Salem set free after saying that they were not witches? If a King Herod wanted to wipe out Christianity what difference would it make to him whether or not the leaders of the movement recanted when they faced execution?
Personal relationship
What's the difference between resurrected Jesus and the Holy Spirit? How do you know whether you have actually accepted Jesus into your heart? How can you have an intimate personal relationship with someone who is invisible and doesn't talk? How can so many people claim to have personal relationships with Jesus but report different positions Jesus takes on issues like Hell, abortion, homosexuality, and conditions of salvation? What is the difference between the intimate personal relationship someone has with Jesus and the intimate personal relationship someone has with Lord Vishnu? If someone fails to establish a personal relationship with an undetectable friend, how can you determine if it is because they did not have sufficient faith or the friend did not exist? Is it good parenting to demand that a child do something (have a relationship with Jesus) that they can't know how to do successfully and they can't know whether they have done successfully and comes with a penalty of eternal torture if done unsuccessfully?
Wishful thinking
Do you believe the report in Cassie Bernall's mother's book that Cassie professed to her killer her belief in God before being shot at Columbine High School, or the report of a student present during the event that she did not do this? Do the countless, similar alien abduction reports convince you that alien abductions are really happening? Is your mind strong enough to guarantee that you don't fall victim to wishful thinking? Why did Albert Einstein add a corrective term to his equations making them show the universe to be static, as he strongly believed it to be, but we now know since Edwin Hubbell to be false? Is your resistance to wishful thinking stronger than that of Albert Einstein?
500 witnesses
Without being an eyewitness of the event himself, St. Paul claimed that 500 unnamed people saw a resurrected Jesus. Do you find this compelling evidence that it really happened? Do you find as compelling evidence the signed affidavits from 12 known Mormon eyewitnesses stating that they saw the Golden Tablets, three of whom stated that they saw the angel Moroni? Do you find it compelling evidence that an ancient book reports that 3,000,000 ancient Jews heard Yahweh speak to them at Sinai and tell them that he would never take the form of a man? How many people have reported seeing resurrected Jesus? How many people have reported seeing Bigfoot?
Eyewitness reports
Do you believe the eyewitness testimony that Muhammad flew to Heaven on a winged horse? Do you believe the eyewitness reports that Romulus vanished into the clouds on Campus Martius and ascended into Heaven? Do you believe the testimony of the author of Luke, who was neither an eyewitness nor an associate of one, that Jesus floated up into the sky in a manner never seen before or since or was even reported in any other Gospel? If eyewitness testimony is not terribly reliable when it comes to car accidents and murder cases, why would you believe it to be reliable for 2,000 year old alleged sightings of a walking, talking, broiled fish eating, levitating into outer space, resurrected corpse?
Amelia Earhardt
Do you believe stories from weeks after her disappearance, spread among villagers of several islands in the South Pacific that the dead Amelia Earhart had appeared to multiple people in some fashion, to individual persons, most often chiefs and other elders among the natives, as well as groups of hundreds of people? Do you believe the reports in four anonymously published books that a supernatural being appeared to a group of women villagers, telling them that Amelia Earhart would soon be appearing to multiple villagers, giving them a divine message from the gods, or reports that the villagers were able to touch the body of the dead Earhart to examine her injuries from the plane crash?
Do you think Jesus performed miracles? If Jesus performed miracles before thousands of witnesses, each with many personal contacts, why did he only have about 120 followers at the time of his death (Acts 1:15)? If Jesus was able and about to bring Lazarus back from the dead, why did Jesus weep over reports of him being dead (John 11:35)? Why didn't Josephus report these events that would have been more amazing than anything supposedly done by Elijah or Elisha? Why, in Acts or the Epistles, is there no mention of great churches of miracle witnesses established throughout Judea? What percentage of the population believed in miracles in the first century? How many do today? While purportedly driving out demons, why does Jesus's family think he's crazy in the older Mark (Mark 3:21), but not in the newer Matthew or Luke accounts that were written with knowledge of Mark? Do you accept the miracles of Moses parting the Red Sea (Ex 14:21-31), Joshua stopping the sun (Joshua 10:12-14), Isaiah reversing the sun (Isaiah 38:7-8), Jesus feeding thousands using only five loaves of bread and two fishes (Mark 6:34-44)? Why is there no record of any of these things that would have been witnessed by so many people from many different parts of the world? Do you accept the miracle of Mohammed flying to the moon on a winged horse?
Messiah rules
According to the Old Testament prophecies, the Messiah must 1) bring about world peace, 2) bring about worldwide recognition of God, 3) redeem the Jewish people spiritually and physically and return them to the nation of Israel, and 4) restore the temple (Isaiah 2:1-4). How can Jewish Jesus be the Messiah without doing any of these things? Where in the Old Testament does it say that the Messiah will die to atone for sin? What do you know that those who consider Hassidic Jew Menachem Mendel Schneerson to be the Messiah don't know?
Is Jesus God?
Do you think Jesus is God? If Jesus is God, why did he say "My Father is greater than I." (John 14:28), "My Father is greater than all." (John 10:29), "...I cast out devils by the Spirit of God...." (Mathew 12:28), "...I with the finger of God cast out devils..." (Luke 11:20), "I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me" (John 5:30), "Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone" (Mark 10:18)? If Jesus did not identify himself as God, why do you identify him as God? If Jesus did identify himself as God (John 10:30), why didn't the authors of Mark, Matthew or Luke mention it? If Jesus is God then to whom did he pray in the desert for forty days? Why would one member of the triune godhead (Jesus before his crucifixion) beg another member of the triune godhead (the father) to be released from doing something he really does not want to do (Matt 26:39)? When criticized for claiming the God-exclusive power to forgive sins, instead of saying he was God, why did he say, "Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" (Mark 2:10)? If Jesus had the power to forgive sins, why did he ask the father to "forgive them for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34)? If Jesus is God, why didn't he, the Son, know the day or the hour when the rapture will occur (according to the original manuscripts but not the revised versions) (Matt 24:36? Do you think, as his hundreds of thousands of followers think, that Ethiopian emperor and founder of Rastafarianism Haile Selassie was divine, even though Haile himself insisted that he was not divine in any way? How does Jesus's divinity logically follow from his purported rising from the dead? Was Lazarus also divine? If Jesus is God, why did John the Baptist continue doing his thing (Acts 19: 1-7) instead of following Jesus? How could anyone (the Mandaeans) have continued to follow John the Baptist after he declared that Jesus was the one he had been sent to reveal?
Sinless Jesus
If thinking about committing adultery is just as bad as actually committing adultery, is thinking about doing every bad thing as bad as actually doing every bad thing? If Jesus suffered temptation (Heb 2:18) and therefore thought about doing bad things, how can he be sinless?
The Trinity
Do you believe the declarations of the Nicene Creed? Why? How were the attendees of the First Council of Nicea selected? Why did Constantine continue to practice his pagan faith and mint his coins with Mithras (pagan sun-god), long after his alleged conversion? If, like the Robbers Council, this council had been convened on short notice, or in a place far from Athanasius and his supporters, or if Eusebius had gotten Athanasius exiled before the council instead of doing so afterwards, leading it to a different outcome, would you still consider Jesus to be of a single nature and an equal person in the godhead with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit? What evidence refutes the position of Arius that God the Son was less than God the Father because the latter begat the former? of the Docetists that Jesus was a being of pure spirit? of Nestorius that Jesus has one divine nature and a separate human nature? of the Chalcedonians that Jesus had two perfectly unified natures - one divine and one human? of the Menophysites that Jesus had only one nature that was both divine and human? If the emperor's guards had denied entry to Cyril's disguised beggar and so he did not receive the message stating Nestorius was excommunicated, would you accept Nestorius's position over Cyril's? Is it more likely that the Trinity doctrines are actually true claims about the supernatural or that they are simply a case of history being written by the winners? Is it more likely that the Christian doctrine of the trinity from the fourth century is an accurate characterization of God or an adoption of the convention of threes from nearly every nation of antiquity such as: Sumeria (Sky god Anu, Earth god Enlil, and water god Ea), Babylonia (three-headed god and equilateral triangle symbology), India (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva), Egypt (Amun + Re + Ptah and Isis + Osiris + Horus), Phoenicia (Ulomus, Ulosuros and Eliun), Germanic nations (Wodan, Thor and Fricco), etc? Which Old Testament scriptures support the doctrine of the Trinity? Was God only one person before the birth of Jesus or was it always a trinity? What use was the fully-human, fully-god person of the godhead and the animistic, dynamistic, intervening person of the godhead for the first 13.8 billion years of the material universe before human beings evolved into being and needed moral guidance and to have their hearts filled up? What were these two persons doing from the time of Adam and Eve until the birth of Jesus? If the case for the Trinity is so strong, why is it necessary to recite a creed every week in unison pledging belief in it? Why do tyrants require their subjects to recite creeds declaring their loyalty? How would you feel if your loving parents asked you to recite a loyalty pledge to them every week? Why don't scientists recite creeds professing their belief in evolution and gravity?
Is God Good?
Is God good? How can you use human standards of morality to establish that God is good if God cannot be judged by human standards of morality?
Convenient credit
Is God due credit for everything good? Is God due blame for everything bad? If a soldier steps on a landmine and loses a leg, should he blame God for not protecting the leg or should he thank God for protecting the other leg? If an airplane crashes and only a baby survives should God be blamed for all the deaths or thanked for the one survival? Did God make flowers? Did God make the Ebola virus? If you work really hard and achieve a goal, does God deserve any of the credit? If you fail to achieve the goal, does God deserve credit for that?
Morality model
How can God serve as a model for morality if it starved people, sent plagues, created drought, caused military disaster and killed people to get them to worship it (Amos 4:6-11)? Should we do the same to people in order to get them to like us?
Euthyphro dilemma
Are moral right and wrong whatever God arbitrarily says they are or is morality independent of God? Would you kill or enslave someone if God told you to do it? Was the Hitler-ordered Nazi genocide of non-Aryans moral? Were the God-ordered Israelite genocides of the Amalekites, Girzites, Geshurites, Midianites, Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, including all of the children, moral (Exodus 23:23, Deut 20:17, 1 Sam 15:3)? Were these slaughtered people created by and loved unconditionally by God?
God learns morality
If right and wrong are whatever God says they are, why would Abraham have to teach God that it is not right to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah as long as there are at least ten righteous men there (Gen 18:25)? Why did Moses need to teach God that it's not right to murder all the Israelites who worshipped the golden calf instead of God (Ex 32:11-14)? Were God's initial plans (to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah and murder the golden calf worshippers) mysterious ways or errant ways? Why did God destroy all the golden-calf worshippers (anyway) before they had heard the commandment to not worship anything other than God? If morality precedes religion, then what value does assigning authorship of morality to a deity add to the morality that comes to you automatically by just dealing with people in life without being a psychopath? How are Jewish kids able to behave without believing in Santa Claus? Can you see any evolutionary advantage to being nice to people? If morality is objective and revealed by God through particular books, why do god-believers using the same books fall on both sides of moral issues like abortion, euthanasia, and the death penalty? Can two people both be morally superior to each other if they take opposite positions on controversial moral issues?
Objective morality
How can morality be objective across all time, space and culture if it is simply the subjective opinion of God and it varies widely between religions?
Good without God
Is morality impossible without God? Why are atheists so under-represented in prisons and divorce courts? How is it possible for Bill Gates to do philanthropy without believing in God? Why do bonobos, babies and illiterate tribesmen in Papua New Guinea act kindly without having read the Bible? Why didn't Pope Benedict's brother, Msgr Georg Ratzinger know that it was wrong to beat the students at his choir school until a secular law prohibited the practice? Why did Christian fanatic and Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne slaughter 4,500 pagan Saxon nobles in the Massacre of Verden? Which is morally worse: sending millions of people to labor and die in concentration camps for up to five years or sending hundreds of billions of people to Hell to suffer the most excruciating torture imaginable for eternity? Are all of the Jews who prayed to God every day and died in the Holocaust but never pledged allegiance to Jesus currently burning in Hell for eternity? The Mormons get around this by claiming that they can baptize people after they are dead? How do you know whether or not the Mormons are correct?
Moral authority
Do you think that being a member of the clergy gives a person any moral authority at all? Why did Pope Urban II launch the first of a series of crusades, pillaging, torturing, and murdering Jews and Muslims throughout Europe and the Middle East? Why did Pope Innocent IV officially authorize the creation of the Inquisition torture chambers where the children of heretics were burned or flogged while being forced to watch their parents burn? Why, after the Nazi decree of involuntary sterilization of minorities and the mentally ill and with knowledge of the Nazi death camps, did Pope Pius XII (then Cardinal Secretary of State Eugenio Pacelli) not speak out against the Nazis, but instead sign the Concordat treaty with them? Why did the Church require bishops to pledge loyalty to Hitler and celebrate Hitler's birthday? Why did Pope Leo X sell tickets to Heaven? Why did Pope Stephen VI dig up the corpse of the former pope and put it on trial then drag it through town, bury it again and throw it into the river? Why did Pope Urban VI torture and execute six cardinals and complain that they did not scream loud enough?
Private parts
If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to the defense of her husband, and she reaches out and seizes his foe by the private parts do you think the morally appropriate thing is to cut off her hand (Deut 25:11)? Why did God put such an obscure statute in the most important book of all time?
Is God love? If God is love and there is no fear in love (1 John 4:18), then why should we fear God (Deut 4:10, 5:29, 6:2, 6:13, 6:24, 8:6, 10:12, 10:20, 13:4, 14:23, 17:19, 28:58, 31:12, 31:13)?
God the Terrible
Why would a loving god allow 18,000 children to die of starvation every day? create childhood leukemia, malaria, viruses, and appendicitis? command people to throw stones at their loved ones until they are dead (Deut 13:7-12)? kill a man for ejaculating on the ground (Gen 38:10), kill the guy who was helping transport the ark of the covenant because he grabbed it to keep it from falling when the oxen stumbled (2 Samuel 6:1-7)? curse the Anathoths to die by the sword or starvation (Jeremiah 11:21-23)? help Joshua to utterly destroy every man and woman, young and old, oxen, sheep, and donkeys in the city of Jericho, but to keep all the gold and linens (Joshua 6:1-27)? smite 50,070 men of Beth-Shemesh for looking at the ark of the covenant (1 Samuel 6:19)? help Abijah kill 500,000 Israelites (2 Chron 13:15)? help Asa kill one million Ethiopians (2 Chron 14:8-14)? make Uzziah a leper for burning incense without a license (2 Chron 26:18-20)? make people wicked (Proverbs 16:4)? set out to kill Moses's son for not being circumcised (Ex 4:24)? kill 70,000 people because David conducted a census without paying God a half sheckel (1 Sam 24:16)? kill the guy who collected sticks on the Sabbath (Numbers 15:32-35)? kill the Israelites who asked for meat because they were tired of eating manna (Numbers 11)? kill the guy for not getting his sister-in-law pregnant (Gen 38:8)? kill a man because he didn't strike the prophet with his weapon when the prophet told him to (1 Kings 20:35-36)? curse someone's innocent children to wander in the wilderness for forty years (Numbers 14:33-34)? ruin a good man for no reason (Job 2:3)? curse someone to eat their own family members (Lev 26:27-29, Deut 28:53, 57, Ezekiel 5:10, Jeremiah 19:9, Lamentations 2:20)? raise up evil against David (2 Samuel 12:11)? bless those who dash children against rocks (Psalm 137:9, Hosea 13:16, )? make people speak different languages to keep them from being able to work together (Gen 11:7)? order the killing of old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women (Ezekiel 9:6)? demand human sacrifice of firstborn sons (Exodus 22:29)? give people rules that they could not follow and make them sacrifice their firstborns so that they knew that it was Lord (Ezekiel 20:25-26)? threaten to lift up people's skirts over their faces that their shame may be seen (Jer 13:26)? Why would a loving god want its followers to hate its enemies (Psalm 139:21-22)?
Sex slavery
Why would a loving god order an army to kill all the boys and every woman who has slept with a man, and to save for themselves every girl who has never slept with a man (Numbers 31:17-18)? How did they find out which girls had slept with a man? How does God feel about child sex slavery? If God said to spare the virgin girls, not for use as sex slaves, but out of concern for their well-being having just had all their caregivers murdered, why not spare all the disabled people, little boys and seniors too? Is it evil for ISIS or Boko Haram to take sex slaves? How about Moses or Joshua?
The disabled
Why would a loving god deny entrance to the temple to anyone who is blind, lame, disfigured, deformed, crippled, hunchbacked, or short (Leviticus 21:17-23)? Why were men with damaged testicles or missing penises forbidden from entering congregation (Deut 23:1)? or people without married parents (Deut 23:2)? How does God feel about the disabled?
Why would a loving god tell people to beat fools with a rod (Proverbs 26:3)?
God is late
Why would a loving god for the first 100,000 to 250,000 and last 2,000 years of human history sit idly by and watch as people suffered? Do you think that the universe was created just for human beings, but for the first 14+ billion years and over the expanse of billions of billions of billions of cubic light years, save Earth, was devoid of these creatures for which it was expressly made? Did God have a favorite species of animal before homo sapiens evolved?
Unhelpful god
Why wouldn't a loving god protect the 11 million people killed in the holocaust? the 75-200 million people killed by the Black Plague? the 50 million people killed in the 1918 influenza? the 10,000 to 100,000 worshipping men, women and children killed in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, tsunami and fires that struck on All Saints Day? Why, on a bet, would a loving god allow Satan to kill Job's whole family and then make him destitute (Job)? Why would a loving god help Jephthah slaughter the Ammonite men, women, children and babies in exchange for his murdering his only daughter (Judges 11:29:40)? Why didn't this same loving god send Gabriel to Jephthah with a last-minute order not to kill his child, as it did with Abraham?
Loving god insult
If you were a loving god, would you be insulted by creatures who believed that you were a monster who demands servility and subjects its creatures to eternal torture for trivial offenses? Would you be offended if your creatures divided themselves and fought wars against each other in your name? Why would a loving god want its creatures to waste any of their scarce time worshipping it when they could instead be doing the things it created them to do?
God vs Jesus
If Jesus IS God, and not just a close begotten associate of God (John 10:30), how can this single, eternal, immutable character have at different periods of history such diametrically opposite positions on genocide, rape, tolerance, compassion, indifference to human suffering, the afterlife, war and peace?
Bad Jesus
Why did Jesus give tacit consent to the murder of people who refused to be his subjects (Luke 19:27)? If Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), why did he not come to bring peace but a sword (Matt 10:34), and why did he tell his followers to sell their cloaks and buy swords (Luke 22:36)? When the Gentile Canaanite woman asked for his help in curing her daughter, why did Jesus first ignore her then compare her to a dog in contrast to his followers whom he considered beloved children (Mark 7:27, Matt 15:21-26)? Why would Jesus threaten people who don't follow and tell them they will be cast into a fire and burned (John 15:6)?
Bad Peter
Why did Peter magically murder the couple in his communist Christian community for disobeying his order and keeping some of the proceeds when they sold the property that they owned (Acts 5:1-11).
Inhospitable John
Why did John tell the lady not to invite into her home or even greet a person unless they are Christian (2 John 1:10)?
Do you think that Hitler was an atheist? If Hitler wasn't religious, why did the belt buckles of Nazi uniforms display the words "Gott Mit Uns" (God with us)? Why did Hitler outlaw the German Free Thinkers League and convert its meeting hall to a Christian outreach center? Why didn't the Catholic Church excommunicate Hitler? Is it worse to murder millions of people (not grounds for excommunication) or to report a pedophile priest to secular authorities (grounds for excommunication)? Stalin and Hitler both had mustaches. Does having a mustache cause people to commit genocide? Did these dictators kill in the name of their disbelief in Zeus, Brahma or some other god? Harry Truman was Christian and killed hundreds of thousands of Japanese. Did he kill these people in the name of his belief in Yahweh? Did he kill them in the name of his disbelief in Brahma?
Two genders
Is it more moral for a society to recognize five genders as the Native Americans did before Christian colonization, or for a society to recognize only two genders and leave people who don't feel like either of them to live lives of persecution, self-loathing and alienation? Why do men have nipples?
Concern or command
Which of these is more virtuous: a person helping the poor out of concern for their suffering, or a theist doing so because he thinks the creator of the universe wants him to do it, will reward him for doing it and will punish him for not doing it?
Compare countries
Which countries have the highest percentage of believers? Which countries have the weakest economies and poorest health? Which countries have the lowest percentage of believers? Which countries contribute the highest percentage of their wealth to social welfare and foreign aid, and have the lowest CEO-employee pay disparities?
Compare states
Which US states have the highest percentage of believers? Which US states have the highest incidence of homicide, violent crime, poverty, obesity, diabetes, child abuse, unemployment, sexually transmitted diseases, consumption of pornography, and teen pregnancy and lowest levels of education? Which US states have the lowest percentage of believers? Which US states have the lowest incidence of homicide, violent crime, poverty, obesity, diabetes, child abuse, unemployment, sexually transmitted diseases, consumption of pornography, and teen pregnancy and highest levels of education?
Hate groups
How many hate groups recognized by the Southern Poverty Law Center openly identify as Christian? How many identify as atheist?
Do churchgoing Christians spend more time and money on church attendance or helping the needy? Which is more important to God: stained glass church windows or well-fed veterans with safe places to sleep? Why does the Church in America only spend about $5 billion annually on charity out of a total operating budget of $170 billion? If priests take vows of poverty, why do they have rectory chefs, housekeepers, cars, paid international travel, retirement plans, and an overall higher standard of living than the poor and homeless? Do you think that multi-millionaire Joel Osteen and all Catholic priests should continue to be allowed to deduct their housing expenses on their tax returns? Should fire fighters, police officers, social workers, teachers, nurses, and daycare workers be allowed to deduct their housing expenses on their tax returns?
Church art
What benefit comes from the Church's ownership of billions of dollars worth of artwork? Who receives this benefit?
Slow sorries
Why did the Catholic Church wait until 2000 to apologize for the Crusades, the Inquisition, the persecution of Jews, injustice to women and the forced conversion of indigenous people? until 1999 to apologize for the public square burning of Czech reformer Jan Hus for having protested against the sale of indulgences? until 1995 for the African slave trade? until 1992 for the persecution of Galileo? until 1995 for the legalized torture during the counter-reformation? until 2016 for the incitement to murder by priests and nuns in the Rwanda genocide of 1994? until 2011 for the forced adoption of 150,000 babies in Australia during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s?
Overdue sorries
When will the Church apologize for, in the 16th century, burning at the stake William Tyndale, whose only crime was translating the Bible into English? for signing the Concordat treaty with the Nazis which dissolved the Catholic opposition party? for signing the Lateran pact with Mussolini that pledged the Pope's perpetual neutrality in international relations? for the rule of Father Jozef Tiso in the Nazi puppet state in Slovakia and his aid in deporting Jews to extermination camps? for the heresy conviction and sentencing of Michael Servetus for correctly describing pulmonary blood flow? for harboring Ante Pavelić, the banished fascist Ustaše Croatian leader and orchestrator of terror against Serbs, Jews, Gypsies, and anti-Fascist Croats and Bosniaks? for supporting Spanish dictator Francisco Franco and Portuguese president Antonio Salazar in their brutal authoritarian takeovers? for helping to provide free legal defense for Tariq Aziz, torturer, mass-murderer and Saddam Hussein's right-hand man and spokesman? for killing pagans and destroying pagan art, cultural treasures and scientific documents? for Fr. Diego de Landa's extermination of every last person who understood Mayan heiroglyphs? for cutting to pieces the great librarian Hypatia, whose remaining body parts were dragged through the streets and the books of whose great library of Alexandria were all burned? for the slaughter and subjugation by Spanish Conquistadors of Native Americans? for wiping out hundreds of thousands of non Catholics in Croatia in the 1940s? for continuing to ban birth control in impoverished countries?
Golden rule
In 600 BCE, philosopher Thales said, "Never do ourselves what we blame in others." In 500 BCE, Confucius said, "Do not unto others that you would not have them do unto you"? Do you think that Jesus invented the Golden Rule? Is it better for a masochist to treat others as she would like to be treated or as the others would themselves like to be treated?
Good Christian
If you see someone respond peacefully to violence would you consider him to be acting in a "good Christian" manner or in a "good Jain" manner?
Do you think that apologizing to a priest reduces the debt to a person's victims? Do you think that waving a chicken over your head according to Jewish tradition does this? If God can hear your silent thoughts, why do you need to confess your sins to a priest? What business of a priest is it what sins you have committed? Do you think a priest has a special line to God? If it turns out that the priest had been sexually abusing children at the time of your confessions to him, and had thereby excommunicated himself without anyone knowing, do you and all others who had confessed to him need to redo your confessions to a different priest? If a priest rapes a child and then goes to confession, is he back in a state of grace? If a raped child has an abortion and then goes to confession, is she back in a state of grace? If you commit a sin, why would you ask for forgiveness from God instead of the person you hurt by committing the sin? If your sin did not hurt anyone, what is the point of asking for forgiveness at all?
Jesus politics
If Jesus were a living American voter would he be a Democrat or Republican? Liberal or Conservative? Based on his positions on which issues? What did Jesus, not Paul or anyone else who never met Jesus or anyone writing letters under the name of someone who never met Jesus say about lazy poor people (2 Thes 3:10)? about abortion or homosexuality? What did Jesus say about greedy rich people (Mark 10:25)? In which Bible verse does it say that God helps those who help themselves?
How could someone justify slavery if their morality were based on the principle of consent? How could they do it if their morality were based on a book containing a curse by God's chosen one of an entire lineage to a life of servitude (Gen 9:25)? How could someone justify persecuting mixed-race marriage with a moral code based on consent? How could they do it with a moral code based on a book containing a command not to intermarry (Deut 7:3) and a story of someone skewering with a spear a loving, mixed-race couple and then being rewarded by God (Numbers 25:8)? How could someone justify the punishment of a descendant for the actions of his ancestor if his principles of justice are based on personal accountability? How can someone do this if his principles of justice are based on an ancient book containing multiple instances of heritable covenants and curses? How could someone justify denial of medical care to her children if she based her parenting decisions on the consensus of experts in the fields related to raising children? How could she do it if her decisions were based on someone's interpretation of an ancient book written at a time when few children lived to be ten years old? What vile or cruel act could only a man of faith justify by pointing to some line of scripture as his motivation for doing it which a faithless man could not? What demonstrably kind or worthwhile act could only a man of faith perform which a faithless man could not perform too?
Heritable covenants
How can the unborn descendants of Moses and Noah be parties to covenants between these biblical characters and God? How can a contract be valid when either party is under duress? If these characters did not actually exist, can they have any descendants?
Why did God prohibit eating shrimp (eight times), approve of slavery (Lev 25:44), and sanction beating slaves so badly that they die in three days (Ex 21:20)? And by fulfilling and not abolishing a single jot or tittle of the law (Matt 5:17-18), a law that is harder to make go away than Heaven and Earth (Luke 16:17), why did God (as its Jesus person) reaffirm its support for slavery, not eating shrimp and all the rest of the Old Testament rules? Saint Paul (Ephesians 6:5, 1 Tim 6:1, Col 3:22) and the unknown author of 1 Peter (1 Peter 2:18) said that slaves should respect their masters even when they are cruel and serve especially well if the masters are believers. Do you agree? Do you agree with Jesus that slaves should get more lashes if they knew what their masters wanted (Luke 12:47)? Why do African Americans embrace Christianity, a religion foisted upon their ancestors by slave masters who used the Bible to justify slavery (Gen 6:9, Gen 7:1, Gen 9:25, Gen 24:35, Gen 17:12, Gen 16:8, Gen 26:12, Deut 24:27, Ex 21, Ex 22:2, Ex 12:44, Ex 20:17, Lev 22:11, Lev 19:20, Lev 25:39, Lev 25:44, Deut 15:12, Deut 20:10, Deut 20:14, Joshua 9:23, Luke 12:46, Luke 17:7, 1 Cor 7:21, Eph 6:5, Col 3:22,, Col 4:1, 1 Tim 6:1, Titus 2:9, 1 Peter 2:18)? Why did the Jesuit priests of Georgetown University own 272 men, women and child slaves until selling them in 1838? If Jesus was a Palestinian, why is he depicted as a European in most art?
Family values
How could a loving god tell the Levites to kill everyone including their brothers, friends, and neighbors (Exodus 32:26-29)? promise to dash parents and children against each other (Jer 13:14)? Why did Jesus demand that each of his followers hate his family (Luke 14:26)? Why did he "come to turn a man against his father" (Matt 10:35)? Why did he say "anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me" (Matt 10:37)? Why did he promise rewards to those who abandoned their families (Matt 19:29)? How is this different from similar anti-family directives of death cult leader Jim Jones? is it wrong for the Unification Church to isolate members from their families? How can you love an undetectable character from ancient Jewish literature more than your own child (Matt 10:37, Gen 22:2)? Do you in fact love Jesus more than your own children? Do they know? Do you have enough faith to murder your own child at God's request? Would you like your faith to be strong enough that you could murder your children at God's request? Why would a loving god curse people to eat their own offspring, but not share any of the flesh with their wives, brothers or other children (Deut 28:53)?
Do you believe in someone named Satan who is a real supernatural being, can influence behavior and lives in Hell? What is the evidence that Satan exists? Why do Christians think that the serpent in the book of Genesis was Satan but the book never suggests this and Jews throughout history including Jesus did not think this? If the serpent was Satan and was cursed to crawl on its belly all the days of its life (Gen 3:14), how could it have been able to walk around in Job (Job 1:7)? How did "Satan" transform from a conceptual inclination to do evil in ancient Jewish times to a theatrical comic relief character in the Middle Ages to a cunning and terrifying tormentor in modern times? If Satan leads people to have premarital sex, does that mean Satan leads rabbits to have premarital sex too? If Satan likes evil and you do evil things, does it make more sense that it would punish you or reward you? Is it evil to kill people with floods, plagues, and armies? How many people did Satan kill with floods, plagues, and armies? How many people did God kill with floods, plagues, and armies? If Jesus was God and knew it and Satan as a fallen angel also knew that Jesus was God, why would Satan tempt Jesus with offers to give him some of the things in a universe that Jesus himself had entirely made and therefore already possessed? "Lucifer" means "light bringer". What's wrong with enlightenment? Is God light?
Existence of Hell
Do you believe in Hell? What is the evidence that Hell exists? Why isn't the Christian concept of Hell mentioned in the Old Testament? When someone goes to Hell to be tortured for eternity in a manner more horrible than can be imagined, is that justice? If a person doesn't ask to be born, and he only sins in order to meet needs that result from being born, what is the justice in his eternal torture? If God created evil (Isaiah 45:7), why did it punish people for doing evil things? Why would an omniscient, omnibenevolent god create a soul that it knows will suffer in Hell for all eternity? If Hell is outside of space and time, then how can someone suffer in Hell for an infinite amount of time?
Benefit of Hell
What is the benefit of a soul being tortured in a lake of fire for eternity (Mark 9:43, Matt 13:50, Matt 18:8, Matt 25:46, Thes 1:9, Rev 14:10, Rev 21:8, CCC 1035)? Who receives the benefit?
Self served Hell
Do people put themselves in Hell? Do you think that rejecting an imaginary, narcissistic, genocidal tyrant is the same thing as choosing to be tortured for eternity instead of choosing to live in perfect happiness for eternity? Does an atheist put herself in Hell by rejecting an offer that she doesn't believe exists from a god that she doesn't believe exists? How can someone reject an offer of anything that she doesn't believe exists? If a human father put his children in a torture chamber for many years because they chose not to love him, obey him, or appreciate the sacrifices he had made for them, would that be fair, just, and moral? If God allows people to choose Hell without knowing that it exists much less what it is actually like to be there, why doesn't God allow people to choose Heaven once they are burning in Hell and clearly know what it is actually like?
Compulsory love
Is it moral to demand love from someone on penalty of eternal torture (Mark 12:30)? How is compulsory love possible?
Take Hell seriously
If Hell exists, and odds are that you are going there (Matt 7:13-14) to spend eternity burning in its lake of fire (Mark 9:43, Matt 13:50, Matt 18:8, Matt 25:46, Thes 1:9, Rev 14:10, Rev 21:8, CCC 1035), or even a greater than zero chance, why would you risk it and do anything other than pray during every waking moment of your entire, brief life on Earth? If there were even a remote chance that it would help, why would you not sell all of your possessions and give the money to the poor (Luke 12:33, Luke 18:22)? Why would God make the evidence of the existence of Hell so weak that nobody with their god-given capacity to assess plausibility does this? How much sleep have you lost worrying about suffering for eternity in Hell for not worshipping Allah in the manner mandated in the Qur'an?
Why reproduce?
If Hell exists and eternal damnation is highly likely or even just possible, how can you justify having children? Should non-Christians stop having children if the probability of their conversion is less than 10%? less than 1%? Are 99 souls suffering in Hell for eternity a price worth paying for one soul going to Heaven for eternity?
Life without Hell
Without the Bible's foundational threat of eternal burning in a lake of fire (Mark 9:43, Matt 13:50, Matt 18:8, Matt 25:46, Thes 1:9, Rev 14:10, Rev 21:8, CCC 1035), how would you treat people differently?
Life's a test
Is life essentially just a test? With eternity being so much longer than the average human lifespan, is the goal of every action you take during your short time on Earth ultimately to secure for yourself a heavenly eternal afterlife? If God is omniscient, then why would there need to be any tests to determine who does and does not get into Heaven? If it were proven that there is no afterlife, how would you live your life differently? How do you reconcile certainty that your departed loved ones were good enough for Heaven while being uncertain that you are good enough?
Baby limbo
What new evidence did the heads of the Church use in 2000 to overturn the prevailing Church teaching that unbaptized babies go to Limbo?
What is Heaven?
What is Heaven like? Do you think you will be reunited with lost loved ones in pre-rapture Heaven? How will you recognize each other without having eyes and bodies? Do you think you will meet up in post-rapture Heaven? Would you be able to enjoy Heaven knowing that some of your friends and family are burning in Hell for eternity? If in Heaven God wipes your memory of your condemned loved ones but leaves the rest of your memory intact how would you make sense of the gaps? If your mind is so altered that the eternal suffering of your loved ones no longer bothers you, how would you still be you? What about people whose only loved ones were animals? Wouldn't Heaven be better with pets? What about people who have snakes for pets? If dogs and cats make it to Heaven, do pigs and cattle too? If livestock is slaughtered at 100 times the rate that humans die, and 98% of "human beings" die before being born, will Heaven be overrun with chickens and zygotes? If there are only human souls in Heaven, wouldn't that make it a very dull, horrible place? Will we have clothes in Heaven? Why do ghosts wear the same clothes they had on when they died? Do we have to wear the same thing for eternity? Why aren't ghosts naked like Adam and Eve were? Are there decency laws in the afterworld? If two people in Heaven want mutually exclusive things, what do they do? For example, if I want to be with someone but they don't want to be with me, or if we both want to live alone on the same stretch of heavenly beachfront property what do we do? Is everyone the same in Heaven? If not, how do they not get jealous of each other? What do people eat in Heaven? Do cows die on Earth, then go to Heaven only to be slaughtered again to become meat? Do you have to spend all of your time watching over your loved ones on Earth from above? How many generations of loved ones do you have to watch over? If you gave up a child for adoption, do you have to watch over them or do the adoptive parents? Is Heaven up for people in China and down for people in North America or the other way around? Does everyone in Heaven get 72 virgins as it says in an ancient book?
Is Heaven good?
Would you enjoy spending eternity in Heaven? Without any evidence about the nature of Heaven, how do you know that you will enjoy it? Assuming that in Heaven there will be no imperfections, nothing to fix, nothing to improve, nothing to strive for, no comeback stories, no falling in love, no making up after breaking up, no mysteries to solve, no one in need and so no satisfaction of helping someone, nothing to tear down, nothing to maintain, nothing to build, no issues to debate, no need to exercise, no need for food or drinks, no golf courses, no bowling alleys, no baseball or NFL, no movies, no pornography, no gambling, no practical jokes, no white lies, and no raucous comedians - what will you enjoy about Heaven? Will you spend your time in Heaven worshipping God nonstop? If that is so good, why don't you do it now? Can you imagine doing your favorite things for a trillion trillion trillion years without getting sick of them?
Heaven bodies
How can bodies and souls be reunited on judgment day if the matter of one body decomposes and then makes its way via the food chain into another body? If you are eaten by a cannibal, do you get the eaten parts or does the cannibal? What about organ donors and recipients? If you get a nose job, will your old, ugly nose be restored? Do you get a body aged to your age at death? Do short, fat, and disabled people, siamese-twins and spontaneously aborted fetuses get the same bodies? What hands will someone get who died as a zygote before he had hands? How can a body be reunited with its soul and also replaced by a different, better body?
Eternal praise
Would you like to live in North Korea and spend your life worshipping and thanking a mass murderer? Would you like to go to Heaven and spend eternity worshipping and thanking a mass murderer? Do you consider Donald Trump's insatiable need for praise to be a virtue or a vice? Is a demand to be worshipped, on penalty of extreme punishment, a characteristic of a "good" person? How could the creator of the universe crave love from its creatures? How can the creator of the universe be jealous (Deut 6:15)?
After afterlife
If there were no afterlife, would life be meaningless? If there is no Afterheaven, would life in Heaven be meaningless? Why would anyone in Heaven get up in the morning if they have eternity to get things done? Why does a dog, a fish, or a cockroach resist being killed if it is not going to go to Heaven?
Heaven cheapens life
How can someone who believes in an afterlife in paradise value life as much as someone who believes that this life is all we get?
Bombs to Heaven
What good is Mutually-Assured Destruction as a nuclear war deterrence to people who believe in an afterlife that is better than the current one?
Ignorance bliss
What happens to a person's soul when they die if they had never heard about Jesus? If their soul goes to Heaven, then isn't it best to not tell anyone about Jesus?
Eternal dichotomy
Why is there only one eternal reward and one eternal punishment even though there are as many different degrees of moral rectitude as there are people? Do you consider it justice to send one person to Hell for eternity and the very next better person on the goodness spectrum to Heaven for eternity? If two people take the Lord's name in vain and then one of them dies before she has time to ask God for forgiveness and the other asks for forgiveness the next day and then dies, does the first one go to Hell to be tortured in a lake of fire for all eternity (Mark 9:43, Matt 13:50, Matt 18:8, Matt 25:46, Thes 1:9, Rev 14:10, Rev 21:8, CCC 1035) and the second go to Heaven for all eternity? If someone has committed one mortal sin, what is his incentive not to commit a million more mortal sins? Can you name a single finite transgression deserving an infinite punishment? Why are judges in courts of law given any discretion in sentencing? If God's justice is proportional and fair rather than binary, how can it be said that the ordering of the commandments doesn't matter, that is to say each of them - from working on Saturday to first-degree murder - carries the exact same punishment - eternal conscious torment? What is the scriptural support for the concept of Purgatory? Why did Jesus tell the others being crucified with him that they would be in Paradise that very day, without any layover in Purgatory (Luke 23:43)? Are souls in Hell liberated to Heaven when the Church leaders revise Catholic doctrine to declassify mortal sins?
Do you think that suicide should be a mortal sin? If "grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide" (CCC 2282), does that mean that the Catholic Church thinks it is possible to die from suicide without having grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture? How is that possible? Do you think so too?
Birth circumstances
Given any other set of genetic, temporal, environmental, political, geographic, and socioeconomic birth circumstances, would you have made the same moral life decisions? Did you choose your own character and birth circumstances? Did the saints determine theirs? Did Hitler? In other words, if someone does not determine her birth circumstances and her moral decisions are dependent on them, how can she receive credit or blame for them? Do you think that God gave us free will? Why did God give some people a sort of free will to make good decisions and others a sort of free will to make bad decisions?
Do you think that Einstein, Gandhi, Malala and everyone who does not pledge allegiance to Jesus are tortured for eternity in a lake of fire (Mark 9:43, Matt 13:50, Matt 18:8, Matt 25:46, Thes 1:9, Rev 14:10, Rev 21:8, CCC 1035)? Do you think that Charles Manson who repented before his death and every serial killer who pledges allegiance to Jesus go to Heaven? Do those who died before Jesus or died without hearing about Jesus spend eternity in Hell? How is that fair? Do they receive posthumous, undeniable evidence of Jesus and an offer to pledge allegiance to Jesus? How is that fair to people who have to pledge allegiance to Jesus on faith alone?
Unconditional love
Does Jesus love all of us unconditionally? What does the word "unconditionally" mean? Do you think that someday Jesus will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead (CCC 678)? What does the word "judge" mean? What do you think will happen to those on whom Jesus renders an unfavorable judgment? Why would Jesus choose to render a judgment on someone he loves unconditionally that sends them into a lake of eternal fire (Mark 9:43, Matt 13:50, Matt 18:8, Matt 25:46, Thes 1:9, Rev 14:10, Rev 21:8, CCC 1035) or something equally unpleasant and unwanted by the person if he could instead render a judgment that doesn't do this? Why not just cause the bad souls to not exist anymore instead of subjecting them to eternal torture or a presumably very unpleasant separation from God that doesn't benefit anyone? How can a god love you unconditionally but bring upon you eternal hellfire unless you have some water splashed on your forehead as a baby and have a prayer said over you on your deathbed? Aren't splashed water on foreheads and deathbed prayers conditions? Do you think the creator of the universe would institute a system whereby one's eternal disposition hinged on these things? If salvation is a gift that cannot be earned, then why bother declaring "Jesus is Lord" (Romans 10:9-10), being baptized (Acts 2:38), giving money to the church (1 Corinthians 16:1-2), witnessing, reading the Bible, having regular family devotionals, voting Republican, choosing the correct denomination or participating in every church activity?
Gaming God
Do you believe in a god that punishes honest atheists who take the question of its existence seriously enough to reject it when they don't see it supported, and at the same time rewards insincere religionists who profess belief in order to avoid eternal personal suffering? How can you choose to believe something? If you pretend to believe in God would God know that you are just pretending?
End times
Do you think Jesus will return and there will be an apocalypse? Do you look forward to it? Would you like it to happen during your lifetime? How can you be a true believer without hoping for the ultimate destruction of the world and the death of all living things? Why didn't any Old Testament prophets say anything about a Second Coming? Who will take care of the pets after their owners are raptured up to Heaven?
We're still here
Why hasn't the world come to an end yet even though Jesus said that it would happen before the end of a generation (Matt 24:34)?
Child sex abuse
What evidence links homosexuality and pedophilia? When a male priest rapes a boy, does homosexuality cause him to do it? When a male priest rapes a girl, does heterosexuality cause him to do it? Is it more dangerous to leave a child alone with an openly gay stranger in a satisfying relationship or with a single stranger of unknown sexual orientation who lives alone, regards sex as potentially wicked, holds a unique position of power in the community, is believed by children to hold their eternal fate in his hands, has an iron-clad cover story for why he doesn't have an adult girlfriend, and works for an organization with a limitless pardoning policy, a fundamental belief in afterlife justice that obviates secular justice and more to lose (and reason to cover up information) from a public scandal of extreme immorality than other organizations due to its self-identification as the arbiter of morality? After the laity of Boston demanded his resignation for covering up the abuse of children by priests, why was Cardinal Bernard Law given the post of Archpriest of the Basilica di Santa Maggiore in Rome? Should priests in South Australia obey the law and report confessions of child sexual abuse or not do this and disobey the law as directed by their archbishop? Why did the pope wait until 2019 to order Catholics to report abuse to secular authorities? Why has the pope not advocated for the extension of statutes of limitations? for reform of the RICO law? Why are pedophile priests only defrocked and not excommunicated? Why did the Catholic Church spend $10.6 million to lobby against legislation that would benefit victims of child sex abuse?
What is the benefit of a priest taking a vow of celibacy? Who receives this benefit? Was Pope Alexander VI still able to enter Heaven after having sex with his daughter Lucrezia, whom he sold off repeatedly to wealthy merchants? or Innocent VIII after having fathered at least eight illegitimate sons? or Sixtus IV after having six illegitimate sons? or Boniface VIII after ménages with a married woman and her daughter and declaring that having sex with young boys was no more a sin than rubbing one hand against the other? or Clement VI who was called "an ecclesiastical Dionysus" by the poet Petrarch for the number of mistresses and the severity of his gonorrhea? or Benedict IX, "a wretch who feasted on immorality," wrote Saint Peter Damian, after debauching young boys in the Lateran Palace? or John XII after sleeping with his two sisters and ultimately being killed by the husband of one of his mistresses? or Sergius III after having a son with the prostitute Marozia? When did priests stop heeding the advice of Jesus to cut off their testicles (Matthew 19:11-12)?
Gay sex
Is it okay with the creator of the universe if adults of the same birth gender have consensual sex or marry? Is it okay with you? Was Pope Julius II still able to get into Heaven after having sex with and contracting Syphilis from Rome's male prostitutes? or Pope Julius III after falling in love with a young beggar boy he spotted brawling with a vendor's monkey in the streets?
Does God think homosexuality among sheep is disordered and unnatural? How are the morality and physiological determinant of homosexual attraction different for humans and for sheep? 8 - 12 percent of people are left-handed. 3 - 20 percent of people are attracted to people of the same sex. Is left-handedness disordered and unnatural? Is homosexuality disordered and unnatural? Is the celibacy of priests ordered and natural?
Orientation choice
Throughout history, have homosexual people been severely persecuted for their sexual orientation? Do you think that being gay is a choice? Did you choose to be straight? Choose to be gay. Did it work? Are you now gay?
Conversion therapy
Do you share the GOP's official support for unlimited parental control over what therapy, including gay conversion therapy, is provided to children? Is it okay for parents to put their left-handed children through therapy to make them right-handed? Do you support an extremist Muslim father's right to train his sons to self-flagellate?
LGBTQ adoption
What is the evidence linking sexual orientation to parental fitness? Did the Vatican do anything when the Kansas Catholic Conference and US Conference of Catholic Bishops rallied the faithful to support laws in Kansas and Oklahoma permitting discrimination against gay adoptive parents?
Utah kid suicides
Do you think the 2007-2016 tripling of the teen suicide rate in Utah and its fifth in the nation ranking in teen suicides are related to the strict Mormon doctrine against homosexuality?
Gay outrage
Why is religious outrage over homosexuality (mentioned twice in the Bible/Torah) greater than religious outrage over eating shrimp (mentioned eight times in the Bible/Torah)? If religious people don't like abortion why don't they like gay people who never have abortions?
Jesus on gay
What did Jesus have to say about homosexuality? Why was the disciple whom Jesus loved reclining on Jesus's bosom (John 13:23, John 21:20)? Why should it matter what an ancient book has to say about sexual attraction?
What is the evidence that masturbation causes harm? What is the harm? Who receives this harm? Is it okay for anyone at all, ever to masturbate? What about soldiers who are deployed away from their spouses? What about people who have trouble meeting partners or those who live in remote places without very many other people? How often do you masturbate? Is it worse for someone to masturbate or to force himself on another person when his urges become unbearable? Do you think that the creator of the universe watches you while you masturbate?
Jesus on birth control
What did Jesus say about birth control?
What is the harm in using artificial contraceptives? Who receives this harm? Are you among the 72% of Catholics who think you can use contraception and be a good Catholic? Are you among the 98% of non-virgin Catholics who have used artificial contraception? If contraception is wrong because it prevents the opportunity for life to be created, is it also wrong for two married people to spend time doing anything at all other than having unprotected sex, and thereby preventing the opportunity for life to be created? If it is a sin to use contraceptives, is it also a sin to eat a grape without burying the seed in the ground? Is it a sin to spay your dog? If one spouse in a married couple has AIDS is it okay with God if they use condoms? When a couple uses Natural Family Planning to deliberately and successfully prevent fertilization is it the will of the creator of the universe for them to not get pregnant? If an STI is transmitted in the process is that God's will? When a couple uses condoms to deliberately and successfully prevent fertilization is that a violation of the will of the creator of the universe for them to get pregnant? If an STI is not transmitted is that a violation of the will of the creator of the universe for an STI to be transmitted? What did Jesus say about NFP and condoms? Should the United States continue to pay for abstinence-only billboards in Africa after it has been shown to make no difference in behavior after $1.4 billion was spent on it?
Did you support Mother Teresa's campaign against condoms in Africa where over 20 million people live with HIV? Was beatified Pope John Paul II right in opposing condom use in Africa? Was Pope Benedict right that condoms cause HIV to spread?
Birth control for poor
Is it ever possible to be so poor that using birth control to prevent unaffordable children is better than having a child who will lack all basic necessities?
Ectopic pregnancy
In cases of ectopic pregnancies, why are doctors in Catholic hospitals allowed to cut or remove the fallopian tube entirely, making future pregnancy much more difficult if not impossible, but not allowed to administer Methotrexate and solve the problem without destroying the fallopian tube?
Openness to kids
How many children must a couple have to prove their openness to having children?
Fruitful and multiply
Do you think that God actually said "be fruitful and multiply" (Gen 1:22, Gen 9:1), "Where are you [Adam]?" (Gen 3:9), "Let Us make man in Our image" (Gen 1:26), and "dust you [the snake] will eat. All the days of your life" (Gen 3:14)? How do you decide which, if any, words in the book of Genesis are true God quotes and which are not? Why don't snakes eat dust? If the snake is really a symbol and not an actual snake, why would it be cursed to eat dust? How fruitful and multiple is fruitful and multiple enough? Could it ever be possible to have too many people on Earth where only 15% of the surface is habitable?
Fun sex
If a young woman has a hysterectomy or an old woman goes through menopause, so that pregnancy is no longer possible, is it okay with God if she has sex without being married? Is it okay with you? Is it okay with God for a married woman to have non-procreative sex while she is pregnant and unable to become pregnant? Should people only have sex in order to make babies? What's wrong with sometimes doing something just for fun and sometimes doing it to make a baby? Is it okay to sometimes take a joy ride and other times drive to work? Where did God clearly state that all activities that are sometimes unitive and procreative must not be done by unmarried people? Why do priests wear clothes made of mixed fibers when God clearly states that this is prohibited (Deut 22:11)? Why did God give humans year-round interest in sex rather than just seasonal interest like most other species have?
Jesus on sex
What did Jesus say about having sex without being married? Was it a sin to have sex before marriage existed?
Unmarried sex
Is it okay with God if unmarried male and female adults have consensual sex? What is the evidence? Is it okay with you? Do you think that "Thou shalt not commit adultery" means "Thou shalt not have sex without being married to the other person regardless of your promises to other people"? Do you agree with God that a man has a duty to impregnate his brother's widow without being married to her (Gen 25:5-10)?
Unmarried makeouts
Is it okay with God if unmarried male and female adults hold hands? kiss? kiss with tongue? touch each other's genitals? touch each other's chest? sleep naked in the same bed? have oral sex? have anal sex? What is the evidence? Is it okay with you?
Why did Judah have sex with a prostitute but also order his unmarried daughter-in-law Tamar to be killed for prostitution (Gen 38:16-24)? If it became known that Tamar was prostituting herself doesn't that mean she was doing it with more than just Judah? How can we know that Judah is the real father of her twins? Why was it okay for Judah's lineage to continue through his sex with his daughter-in-law but not through his half-Canaanite sons? Is it a sin for the Dutch to provide taxpayer-funded sex workers to the disabled who would otherwise go their entire lives without ever having sex?
Sex compatibility
How important is sexual compatibility to the health of a marriage? Do people divorce because of sexual incompatibility? Without having sex before getting married, how can two people determine their sexual compatibility?
Pragmatic sex rules
Up until a hundred years ago, women frequently died in childbirth, there were no cures for sexually transmitted diseases, and about 1 out of 4 kids died by age 9. There were also no paternity tests for securing property rights that used to go entirely to firstborn sons. Since then we have made huge advances in obstetrics, pediatrics, and cures for sexual diseases, and 50 years ago we got effective birth control. Is it more likely that ancient societal sex rules had to do with spiritual purity or public health and property inheritance? Is it more likely that the creator of the universe cares what people do with their genitals or that the originators of the Bible prohibitions wanted to control people with threats of eternal torture?
Traditional marriage
If a marriage is between one man and one woman, why did God give inheritance rules to follow if you have two wives (Deut 21:15-16)? Does it still count as a traditional marriage if your wife gives you her slave as your second wife (Gen 16:3)? Were Gideon, his many wives and a concubine part of a traditional marriage (Judges 8:30-31)? Did Solomon, his seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines form a traditional marriage (I Kings 11:1-3)? Was Moses's marriage to both the Midianite Zipporah and the Cushite woman a traditional marriage?
Marriage edge cases
Is it okay with God for adults to marry anyone at all if they are sterile or don't want kids? What is the evidence? Is it okay with you? Intersex people and redheads each represent about 2% of the population. Is it an abomination for people to have red hair? Which gender can someone marry who went through Guervedoces (born female and became male at puberty)? if they have both XX and XY chromosomes? if they have XXY chromosomes? if they have one ovary and one testicle? if they have neither ovaries nor testicles? if they have ovaries but no uterus?
Should people stay married if they hate each other? What if one of them beats the other? What if one of them beats the children? What if the husband has syphilis but the wife does not and would pass it on to children if she did? Campaigning in Ireland for the preservation of its Catholic-based law against divorce by all citizens Catholic and Protestant alike, Mother Teresa of Calcutta helped ensure the continued conflict between these two groups and the perpetuation of spouse abuse. Does divorce cause greater harm than perpetual Irish conflict and wife beating? What is the harm and who is harmed? Would you like divorce to be illegal in the United States as it is today in Vatican City and the Philippines?
Does God value the life of a 150-cell blastocyst more than, less than or the same as the life of a sixteen-year-old person? If you could save the lives of either one sixteen-year-old person or a million blastocysts what would you do? Does God care more about the single aborted fetus used to develop the measles, rubella and shingles vaccines or the millions of people saved by them? Why does God value people under one month old at zero shekels, boys from one to five years at five shekels and girls one month to five years at three shekels (Lev 27:6)?
Abortion lies
What is the evidence that abortion might cause breast cancer as clinicians in Alaska, Kansas, Mississippi, Texas, and West Virginia are required by law to tell women seeking abortions? Do you agree with the information given to pregnant women by "pro-life" "crisis pregnancy centers" that 35% of suicidal behavior among women may be attributable to abortion? Do you think that if someone is raped and has an abortion then this destroys the evidence and the rapist will get away because the only way to determine that someone was raped is for her to carry a pregnancy to term and give birth?
God is "pro-abortion"
If God wants it to be a crime to have an abortion, why did it design the human reproductive system such that 50% of all fetuses, embryos, and zygotes are spontaneously aborted? Why did it drown pre-born babies in the flood (Gen 7:17, Matt 24:37), incinerate them in a fire (Gen 19, Gen 38:24, Matt 11:24), curse the fruit of the womb (Deut 28:18), curse you to eat your own children (Deut 28:53), cause women suspected of adultery to abort (Numbers 17), execute pregnant women by Moses's army (Numbers 31), have no mercy on the fruit of the womb (Isaiah 13:18), cause spontaneous abortion (Hosea 9:14), rip open women's wombs (Hosea 13:16, 2 Kings 15:16, 2 Kings 8:12), curse unborn children (2 Samuel 12:14), curse everyone to death including the unborn (Jer 44:7-8), prescribe an abortifacient for adultery suspects (Numbers 5:11-31), and damn unborn babies along with the rest of the unrighteous (Matt 24:19, Revelations 20:11-15)?
Fetal souls
Do the souls of spontaneously or deliberately aborted fetuses automatically go to Heaven? If so, why do you want to stop abortion and prevent these souls from automatically going to Heaven? Is there any greater act of heroism than to bring eternal suffering upon yourself so that another soul can automatically go to Heaven with no risk of taking the Lord's name in vain and then spending eternity burning in the eternal lake of fire (Mark 9:43, Matt 13:50, Matt 18:8, Matt 25:46, Thes 1:9, Rev 14:10, Rev 21:8, CCC 1035)? Do these souls automatically go to Hell? If they never had the chance to try to be good Christians, why would a loving, just god send these souls to be tortured in Hell for all eternity, especially given that most of them died spontaneously at the hand of God who alone determines the birth of every human being? Why would anyone take the chance of ever getting pregnant when it is very possible that she could have a spontaneous abortion and cause a soul to spend eternity in Hell?
Bad life vs Heaven
Which is morally superior: 1) to bring to term a fetus that will go through life without the basic necessities and then, in trying to meet unmet needs, sin and burn in Hell for eternity, or 2) to cause a soul to automatically go to Heaven for eternity?
Fetus funerals
If a woman has a spontaneous abortion should she be allowed to have the dead fetus removed or should she have to wait for it to come out somehow on its own? Should she be forced to have a funeral service for it? at her expense?
Lost wanted fetuses
What has the Catholic Church done to reduce the deaths by spontaneous abortion of 20% of all wanted fetuses? What does it do to keep out of prison women in El Salvador who are imprisoned for losing fetuses they wanted? What does the Church do to support any women whose wanted pregnancies spontaneously abort? How much money have you donated to research into improved prenatal interventions and prenatal care for the poor? How much have you donated to church administration and priest retirement?
Later abortion
How many women pay $30,000 to abort non-threatening, healthy fetuses after seven or more months just because they changed their minds and didn't feel like having them after all?
What is the difference between euthanasia and murder? Do you support the right of doctor-informed family members to make decisions about administering life-support for elderly family members who are unable to do so? for newborn family members who are unable to do so?
Life beginning
If heartbeats are the official indicators of human life, why did God never say so in the Bible but rather said at least six times that breath is the indicator of life (Gen 2:7, Gen 7:22, Psalms 33:6, Ezekiel 37:7-10, Job 33:4, Job 34:14-15, Isaiah 42:5, John 27:3)? Is someone dead when they are in the middle of having a heart transplant? How can life begin at conception if the sperm and egg are both alive before conception? What is the difference in a sperm cell before and after it dies? What about a cat? a person? an engine? Where does a flame go after it is extinguished and leaves the candle? Why do people celebrate birthdays but not conception days?
Bodily autonomy
How long should a man be put into prison if he chooses not to quit his job or school and donate part of his liver to save the life of a son or daughter he has never met? How long should a person be put into prison for not donating blood? Should big government be allowed to harvest organs from a corpse without obtaining any consent to save someone's life? Does a live person have more or fewer rights than a dead corpse? Should big government be allowed to force a woman to use her body, without her consent, to sustain the life of a fetus? Should big government be allowed to force a woman to donate part of her liver, without her consent, to sustain the life of her 2-year-old child? Does a fetus have more rights than a 2-year-old child? If someone wants an abortion but is denied an abortion by the state and then dies during labor, how should the state compensate her orphaned children? How long should the newborn baby be sent to prison for killing her? How long should the driver of a vehicle be put into prison for not donating part of his liver to save the life of a passenger injured in an accident he caused? How long should someone be put into prison for not buying a ventilator machine for a child who will die without one? Does it make any ethical difference to you that human fetuses develop inside another body and not in external shells the way birds develop? Why didn't God make women lay eggs like birds do and solve the whole abortion problem? Is it okay for someone to live inside your house and tear up your genitals without your consent or do you have a right to use deadly force, per the Castle Doctrine, to forcibly remove them? If your 200-lb adult child threatens your life, would you be morally justified in killing him or her to save your life? If a 2-lb fetus is threatening your life would you be morally justified in killing it to save your life? At what point in a pregnancy is the lethal risk to the pregnant person zero?
"Human beings"
Do you think that abortion is murder of a human being? If abortion is legal and murder is unlawful killing, how can abortion be murder? How do you define "human being"? Is something a "human being" if it has human genetic material and the ability to grow? Is a tumor a human being? Should people who have tumors removed be charged with murder? Is something a "human being" if it has human genetic material, the ability to grow, fully developed human anatomy and behaves in a certain way? Is a person still a human being if he is brain dead and cannot do anything? Will you be a "human being" the moment before you die? Will you be a "human being" a moment later, while most of your cells continue to function? how about two hours after that? Is something a "human being" if it has distinct DNA, can move and can survive apart from another organism? Is a human sperm cell a human being? Do elecrically pulsing heart cells in a petri dish comprise a "human being"? Is an acorn an oak tree? Is a five-year-old child a "human being"? Why can't a five-year-old child drive a car, vote or buy alcohol? Why is it okay to eat a pig but not a dog in the United States? Why is it okay to eat a chicken but not a cow in India? Why is it okay to kill millions of innocent civilian baby "human beings" in a military attack or aid blockade or by poisoning them with underregulated water supplies in minority communities? If fetuses are "human beings", why didn't God want sons younger than one month old to be counted in a census (Numbers 3:15)? Are daughters human beings too? If God regards fetuses as equal to people, why is God's penalty for killing a fetus without its mother's consent only a fine, but the penalty for killing a person is death (Ex 21:22)? Now that corporations are people, is it murder to put a corporation out of business? Is it a scientific fact that California is a part of the United States? Was it a scientific fact that California was a part of Mexico before 1850?
Sex punishment
What benefit does the inclusion of negative consequences add to certain types of pleasure? Who receives this benefit? Which types of pleasure ought to include negative consequences and which should not? Do you agree with Mother Teresa after losing her faith that suffering is a gift from God? Do you think that the pain of childbirth is really a punishment for original sin? If I am aware that there is a remote possibility that I could get raped if I stay home but I decide to stay home anyway and get raped, am I responsible for being raped? If I am aware that there is a remote possibility that a fertilized egg could implant into my uterus if I have sex but I decide to have sex anyway, am I responsible for the fertilized egg implanting in my uterus?
Adoption option
How should a woman make her mortgage payments and support her children if she quits her job in order to deliver a baby that another couple might want if it is born healthy and the adoption is not blocked by the baby's abusive birth father? Why is the cost to adopt a white infant tens of thousands of dollars more than the cost to adopt a black infant? If a woman wants but can't afford her baby, is it better, from the baby's point of view, to give the baby to rich adoptive parents of a possibly different race or for these rich people to give money to the baby's real mother so that she could afford to keep and raise it until it can support itself? How would you feel if you were a child and your mother had another baby but then gave it away? How many unwanted babies have you adopted?
Women's right to life
Do you care about the welfare of pregnant women? If a woman in El Salvador attempts to abort her pregnancy illegally by herself using a coat hanger or by falling down stairs, would you prefer for her to be okay or to be harmed/die in the process?
Criminal tragedy
Would you like stillbirth and spontaneous abortion to effectively be crimes in the US punishable by 30 years in prison as they are today in majority Catholic El Salvador where abortion is illegal in all situations including rape of girls? What official statements have the popes made in opposition to this legislation? If you suffered a spontaneous abortion, would you like for the police to conduct an investigation?
Bad old days
Would you like things to return to how they were before Roe v. Wade? Would you like to reopen "The Home", a place for ostracized unwed mothers run from 1925 to 1961 in Ireland by Catholic Bon Secours nuns where remains of 800 children were found in a septic tank and never given proper burials? Would you like to reopen the Bethesda Home for Girls where, as recently as 1980, parents sent their disobedient and pregnant daughters who were censored, beaten, imprisoned and forced to give up their babies for $250?
Bad model countries
The 2011 World Health Organization study found that 11 percent or at least 2,000 women who had illegal abortions in El Salvador between 2005 and 2008 died from them. Amnesty International found that suicide now accounts for 57 percent of deaths of pregnant females ages 10-19 in El Salvador. Would you like the US abortion policy to be the same as that in El Salvador? Would you like the government to monitor women's menstrual cycles as they did in Romania?
Emergency abortion
What should a woman in Mississippi do if she has a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy and the nearest abortion provider is hundreds of miles away? What should a pregnant mother do if she has cancer and the only treatment would kill her developing fetus? What should an eleven-year-old girl do when she is raped and gets pregnant?
Rapist paternity
Would you like to raise a child with your rapist if you were raped and lived in a state with paternity rights for all men including rapists?
Fetal pain
Do you think a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks? What do you know that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists does not know? Do you think a baby boy can feel the pain of circumcision and recovery at 9 months? Do you support mandatory pre-abortion sonogram viewings? Do you support mandatory viewings of circumcisions by parents considering that procedure?
Prohibition futility
How well have laws against narcotics kept people from getting these drugs that make you feel good for a few minutes? How well do you think legal prohibitions would keep people from getting RU 486 that prevents the complete destruction of a young woman's dreams and potentially frees her from poverty? or anti-ulcer medicine Misoprostol which can also be ordered online, delivered and used to abort a pregnancy for only $2 with 90% effectiveness? If Argentina has laws against abortion, how can 500,000 abortions still happen there every year? After millions of years of humans and pre-human species having non-procreative sex how well do you think effectively criminalizing it will work to eliminate this practice? What is the abortion rate in countries with abortion bans? What is the abortion rate in countries with legal abortion?
Consensual vice crime
After they enacted a needle exchange program in Washington DC new HIV cases dropped 70%. In every city where Craigslist offered an escort services site, female homicides dropped. The war on drugs has cost 60,000 lives in Mexico alone in only the last ten years. Before abortion was legal, 17 percent of all deaths due to pregnancy and childbirth were the result of illegal abortion. Today, less than 0.3 percent of women undergoing legal abortions sustain a serious complication requiring hospitalization. After enacting the Volstead Act (Prohibition), 10,000 people died from drinking unsafe industrial alcohol. In Colorado, they enacted a program of low cost, long-acting, reversible contraception. After five years the birth rate and abortion rate for Colorado teens aged 15-19 had fallen 48 percent. During the same period, the overall US rates dropped only 36 percent. Can you name a time when criminalizing consensual vice for adults reduced harm overall or a time when providing a means to engage in the activity more safely or cheaply increased harm overall? In your prayers to end abortion, do you ask God to expand the Colorado program that reduced abortion by 12% in five years? When should you base decisions on empirical data and when should you use feelings?
Planned Parenthood
How many abortions has Planned Parenthood prevented? How many abortions has the Catholic Church prevented? How many unwanted pregnancies has Planned Parenthood caused? How many unwanted pregnancies has the Catholic Church caused? Why wasn't Planned Parenthood defunded in the years between 2001 and 2007 when Republicans controlled the House, the Senate, the Presidency, and the Supreme Court?
If a soul provides consciousness to a body, what provides consciousness to a soul? How does an immaterial soul interact with or provide consciousness to a material body?
Twins and Chimeras
Does a soul enter flesh at the moment of conception? How many souls are there right before and after a human embryo divides to form twins? How many souls are there right before and after two human embryos combine to form a chimera?
Fetal incarnation
If souls are real and can be attached/detached from flesh in various situations (conception, embryo division, embryo combination, out of body experiences, death), perhaps the souls of aborted fetuses simply reattach to other fetuses later on. Perhaps this happens under potentially better physical, environmental or socio-economic circumstances. Is there any way to know whether fetal soul reattachment is true or the probability of it being true? Is it more likely that a loving god prefers souls to be attached to flesh under good circumstances or under the circumstances of their very first fetal attachment no matter how good or bad the circumstances are? If God is omnipotent and does indeed ensoul human beings with souls could it create ensoulment mechanics in which this really happens or is God unable to make it work this way?
Who has a soul?
Do you agree with St. Thomas Aquinas who lived long before the discovery of DNA that humans have immortal souls and animals have mortal souls? Why don't chimpanzees which share 98.8% of our DNA have immortal souls? What kind of soul did Australopithecus have? What about Homo Habilis? Homo Erectus? Neanderthals? Asparagus? Bacteria? What is the evidence? If scientists someday produce a human-chimp hybrid would it have a mortal or immortal soul? How many souls would two human clones have?
Body thetans
What is the reasoning flaw in Scientologists' belief that clusters of body thetans exist, infest human bodies causing physical and mental ailments, are reincarnated periodically over quadrillions of years, and retain memories of prior lives?
Ensoulment correction
Why until the 1800s, did God, as understood by the Catholic Church, ensoul boy fetuses after 40 days and girl fetuses after 80 days? What made God, as understood by the Catholic Church, change its mind?
Souls and brains
If a soul can think, choose, form words, retain memory and process stimuli without a body or brain, then why do we need the parts of our bodies and brains that serve these functions?
Split brains
If the right and left hemispheres of someone's brain are disconnected from each other, and if by alternately closing one eye, reading a written question and pointing with the opposite-side hand to either the word Yes or No, the person professes belief in God in one case and disbelief in God in the other case, does the person have one soul or two? Which of the two belief systems will determine whether the person goes to Heaven or Hell when they die?
Given that one out of eight people has a hallucination while awake and almost everyone has a vivid dream while asleep, and that scientists are able to induce spiritual experiences with brain electrodes and psychedelics, which is more likely: an abnormal release while awake of DMT - the psychedelic naturally produced in the brain and released when you dream, or an actual supernatural experience with characters from the religious stories you happened to have been taught as a child through the accident of your birth and no such experiences with characters from other religions, and the same thing for people of other religions with characters from their religions and not yours? How can someone tell whether they are hallucinating or having a supernatural experience? whether the voices in their head are internally or externally sourced? Why did everyone claim that the Emperor had clothes on? Why do men, women and children members of the 600-million-member Pentecostal churches regularly speak in gibberish and writhe around in mass fits of spastic convulsion during services? but people in other religions don't? Do you believe alien abduction reports? Do you believe the reports of Jesse Duplantis, Louisiana television pastor and owner of three private jets, that he saw aborted fetuses hugging Jesus and that he needs a fourth private jet? Do you accept the placebo effect as a natural phenomenon or a supernatural phenomenon? How do you distinguish between inordinate credulity and strong faith? Do you accept the near-death experience reports by Hindus of seeing their deities?
Why don't atheists ever get possessed by demons, but theists in undeveloped, illiterate cultures so often do? Why are there no demons in the Old Testament?
Church Magic
Do you think that saying certain words causes bread and wine to change into flesh and blood? What do the words "flesh" and "blood" mean? How can something material change into something immaterial? How can the whole substance of the Eucharistic species change into something else while the outward characteristics of it remain unaltered (CCC FAQ 283)? What does the word "whole" mean? What does "change" mean? Which part or parts of Jesus's body does the bread turn into? Does it turn into the same part(s) for everyone who eats it? If so, how can Jesus have so many of the same parts of his body? How is Jesus able to function while his body is being eaten and his blood is being drunk? Why would Jesus want to be sacrificed on an altar thousands of times over and over again? Does the resultant mass of Jesus equal the initial mass of bread? What happens to Jesus's body when it is pooped out? How is the transubstantiation process affected when food is consumed within one hour before mass starts? What is God's opinion of ritualistic cannibalism? If you think that saying a few words over your pancakes is going to turn them into the body of Elvis Presley, should you seek psychiatric treatment? If the eucharistic miracle stories are bona fide miracles, why are they published on the website of some guy in Milan and not the official Vatican website? Why did the pope turn down offers by scientists everywhere to test and publish whether consecrated hosts and wine are indeed Jesus's body and blood? Why do bars and restaurants wash their glasses instead of just wiping the edges of each one with the same section of a dry cloth? Do you think that Dionysus's followers in 1500 BCE could achieve communion with this god through omophagia by consuming flesh (raw meat) and blood (wine)? For the form of the Eucharist, why did the Roman Catholic Church choose the same flat, round wafer shape used by Vestal virgins in Rome and Egyptians worshipping Ra? If a mortal summoning the supernatural to come down from Heaven into this dimension and embody wafers of bread is not witchcraft, what is? If you don't think that bread and wine actually turn into the body and blood of a first century Jew can you still be a priest?
Holy water
What evidence is there that something changes about water when a priest says particular words while standing in front of it? Does chanting the Buddhist medicine mantra 108 times over a glass of water give it healing power as Buddhists have believed since hundreds of years before the time of Jesus? If blessing water improves it, why don't priests just bless an entire ocean? How many gallons of water can a single priest bless in a single blessing? Does the blessing benefit to water decay over time? How long is the half-life of water blessedness? If there is no decay, then why does water still need to be blessed after all these centuries of doing it and water recirculation? Do you think it is a good idea to put on your face water that has been in contact with hundreds of unwashed hands and contains E. Coli, enterococci, Campylobacter, and fecal matter? Should parents who direct their children to do so be liable to prosecution?
If you have been baptized, what difference does it make how you behave in life? If being baptized makes no difference then what's the point of doing it? Do you support the still prevailing canon law that you may baptize a baby without its parents' consent? If the Church once again had police power would you support the seizure of secretly baptized children from their non-Christian parents as happened to Edgardo Mortara in Italy after his nanny secretly baptized him in the 1850s? Do you support the decision of Pope Pius IX, beatified by Pope John Paul II, who rejected pleas from the parents of Edgardo Mortara to return him to them? Was it okay for the Spanish nuns and priests during the Franco dictatorship to take away babies from their dissident parents by the tens of thousands so that they could be baptized and raised by Catholic parents without ever knowing who their real parents were? for the Catholic Church to forcible put up for adoption 150,000 babies during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s?
Does it bring good luck and prosperity when Hindus drop babies from the roofs of buildings, or when they have a holy man smash coconuts over peoples' heads? when people throw goats out windows in Spain? when Filipinos nail themselves to crosses? when Orthodox Jews swing chickens over their heads? when Bulgarians suspend their dogs between two poles and spin them? Does wearing the Hindu bindi on one's forehead have any effect on anything? Does wearing ashes on one's forehead have any effect on anything? Does stringing wire from pole to pole all the way around Manhattan actually keep Orthodox Jews compliant with the law of the creator of the universe not to carry anything from a private to a public space on the Sabbath?
Pagan mimicry
Why did the Church adopt practices from pagan groups of people they were trying to assimilate? Is it more likely that Easter bunnies were introduced because they have something to do with Jesus or because a prolific procreator animal would appeal to people who worshipped fertility gods? Do you see anything pagan about observing Easter on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox, around the time when Pagans traditionally offered sacrifices to Eastra, the goddess of spring? Why did Christians adopt as their Jesus fish symbol the vesica piscis symbol that had been associated with the goddesses Atargatis and Venus because it resembles female genitalia? Why did the ancient Israelites adopt the pagan practice of offering foreskins as a rain/fertility ritual? Why do Christians celebrate Christmas using cut down trees when this pagan practice is brutish and foolish (Jeremiah 10:2-8)?
God's priorities
Why would God answer a prayer for good weather at a picnic but not an end to suffering? How does God decide which football team's prayers to answer? Is God responsible when poor people win lotteries? Is God responsible when rich people win lotteries?
Omniscience and prayer
If God can read our minds, doesn't it already know what we want? Why would we need to tell it what we want? Does it already know whether or not we will tell it what we want? Can God hear us when we pray? Can God see us when we poop?
Wrong prayee
If you worship the wrong god, does the right god get mad every time you pray?
Prayer formalities
Is God able to hear your prayers better when your hands are folded and your head is bowed? Does a prayer still reach God's ears if you don't say "amen" at the end? How does kneeling help you communicate with God? Why didn't Paul need to be kneeling for God to reveal itself to him on the road to Damascus? Do you need to pray over main courses? appetizers? salads? desserts? What are the consequences of not doing that?
Prayer efficacy
Do you think prayer helps heal people? If faith healing works, why don't faith healers spend all of their time in hospitals? Why do Catholic hospitals have operating rooms but not faith healing rooms? Why do prayerful Christians suffer sickness, bad test scores and bankruptcies at the same rate as everyone else? Why are Muslims generally worse off than Christians even though they pray so much more often to Allah who is Yahweh by another name?
Yes no wait
How do you know that God really does answer prayers with "yes", "no", or "wait"? How do you know that a jug of milk does not answer prayers with "yes", "no", or "wait"? If God actually did not answer a prayer with "yes", "no" or wait", how would you know? Are prayers to Yahweh answered more reliably today than prayers to Zeus were when that god was as popular?
Prayer and action
Does prayer drive or substitute for more action?
God vs amputees
Why has God never cured an amputee? Why does God only effect cures that can be explained by coincidence? Was Jesus lying when he said, "all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours" (Mark 11:24 and moreover Matt 7:7, Matt 17:20, Matt 21:21, John 14:12-14, Matt 18:19 and James 5:15-16)?
Public prayer
Why are there churches if Jesus said to pray alone in our rooms (Matt 6:5-6)?
God's Plan
Why bother praying?
If God has a plan, what is the point in trying to influence its behavior through prayer? What is the benefit of singing songs of praise to God? Who receives this benefit? Why do you pray for help in the event of a disaster to the same god who permitted that disaster to occur? And, if God wanted that disaster to occur (which is implied by its non-intervention), does that mean that it wanted the consequences of that disaster to occur? Why do you seek to avoid those consequences, if they are the will of God? Isn't doing so going against the will of God and thus contrary to your stated intention to follow the will of God? If you help a friend fight cancer but God still takes her, have you crossed God for obstructing its plan? When should you ask God for forgiveness for standing in the way of its plan?
What is/n't God's plan?
How do you know when the death of a person, fetus, embryo or zygote is part of God's plan and when it is not? How can things happen that are not part of God's plan? If God's plan is good and murder and abortion happen, and nothing can happen without being part of God's plan, are murder and abortion good? If a person doesn't buckle up and dies in a car crash according to God's plan, should we stop using seat belts? Is a bad thing only part of God's plan in cases when someone was aware, able and tried to stop it? If it is possible for things to happen that are not part of God's plan, does God need to be constantly interfering with free will in order to keep its plan on track? Do you think that the Holocaust might have been part of God's plan? Can you name a thing that could not be justified by saying that it was part of God's plan? Was the sinfulness that lead God to regret having made man and subsequently destroy the world by a big flood part of God's plan? If God regretted making Saul king, does that mean God makes mistakes (1 Samuel 15:11)?
Butterfly effect
If God deviates from its plan and answers a seemingly insignificant prayer, how does it avoid the butterfly effect and not cause dramatic changes to the rest of the course of human history contrary to its original plan? If it does this millions of times per day over thousands of years, how is it possible for the course of history to even remotely resemble a plan made at the beginning of time?
Apathy excuse
If someone thinks that climate change is part of God's will would she be more or less inclined to take action to fight it? Should she be punished for fighting it?
Initiative killer
Are you more likely to make a good life for yourself if you think that it is entirely up to you to determine, or if you think that God has a special plan for you and you need to wait for God to tell you what it is in a manner that other people testify to being 100% able to understand and therefore if you are not likewise so certainly informed it means God has not told it to you, so you must continue to just wait for this revelation that is perfectly clear to other people?
Jesus vs forethought
If we should take no thought for tomorrow, as Jesus says (Luke 12:34), why do we have to plant trees, recycle, care for the planet, go to school and learn job skills?
Life without God plan
If God didn't actually have a special plan for you and therefore it was entirely up to you whether your life turned out okay, how would you live it differently?
Planned rape
If every human birth is the will of God and a rape results in human birth does that mean that the rape was the will of God? If every human birth is the will of God and consensual sex between unmarried people results in human birth does that mean it was God's will for them to have sex?
Planned IVF
If two people are unable to have children after three IVF attempts, does that mean it is God's will that they should not have children? If they are able to have a child after eight IVF attempts does that mean it is God's will that they should have children?
Planned starvation
Does God have a special plan for each of the 18,000 children who starve to death every day?
Playing God
What does "playing God" mean? How is playing God different from practicing medicine? What did Jesus say about biotechnology, gene therapy, and embryonic stem cell research?
Mysterious ways
Why is there evil and indiscriminately-visited suffering in the world? Is suffering one of God's mysterious ways that is mysteriously in the best interest of the sufferer (Job 1:22)? If you don't know the explanations for bad things happening, how can you be certain it was God when good things happen? Are you able to imagine a bigger-picture, God-view of reality in which thousands of children dying in a tsunami actually can be a good thing? Is anything possible with God? If it became possible to administer a vaccine without pain, would it still be moral to administer this vaccine with pain? When a kindergarten is massacred by a white, Christian gunman, is that one of God's mysterious ways? If God allows evil in order to mysteriously bring about a greater good, are you offending God by praying that kindergartens not be massacred anymore, in defiance of God's mysterious will? Should we allow children to be raped because in God's plan a greater good will come out of that lesser evil? If a priest rapes a child is that God working in mysterious ways? If a raped child has an abortion is that God working in mysterious ways?
Free will
Is suffering an unfortunate consequence of giving people free will and The Fall? With tracheas and esophaguses so close to each other, how did Adam and Eve avoid choking on food before The Fall? If we suffer because of The Fall, why do some suffer so much more than others when everyone was equally (not at all) responsible for The Fall? Is there evil or suffering in Heaven? Do the souls in Heaven have free will without sinning or the possibility of a Fall? How and why is God able to make that work there, but not here on Earth? If the souls in Heaven don't sin because they don't have the free will necessary to sin, and if making people on Earth robotic without free will would have been cruel during their short time on Earth, is it also cruel for God to do that to robotic, heavenly, unable-to-sin souls for all eternity? When police, doctors and parents intervene to reduce and avert suffering does that make robots of those affected by their interventions? Why does God allow children to suffer before they have reached the age of reason when a person is able to take responsibility for their decisions? Why do nonhuman species suffer? Does each species of creature that suffers have an ancestral original sinner?
Is suffering punishment for sin (Amos 1:3, Isaiah 1:4)? Why do some good people suffer while some bad people do not suffer?
Is suffering a way for God to test our faith and strengthen our character? Why would an omniscient god need to conduct tests to obtain information? Why do most people not come out stronger after suffering? Should you allow your child to get hit by a car in order for you to strengthen your character?
Religious suffering
Does lack of belief in God cause human suffering? Can you name an instance of suffering that was caused by excessive rational thought, skepticism or rejection of claims found to be unsupported by evidence? Can you name an instance of suffering that was caused by strict observance of ancient religious teachings? Can you name a society that embraced the teachings of rational non-believers and fell into a state of tyranny and suffering? Can you name one that did so while guided by belief in the supernatural?
Handled with God
Does God ever give us more than we can handle? Does God give people who die more than they can handle? If God keeps us from all harm and watches over our lives, why should we take any precautions (Psalm 127:7-8)?
Just-world hypothesis
If you could either prevent child rape or punish the rapist afterward (unless he repents), which would you do? Which does God do? If a rapist is only punished after he dies, how can he learn a lesson and use it to help prevent other rape? If you could allow someone to suffer but make it up to her after she dies, or just prevent her suffering in the first place, which would you do? Which does God do? If your life is incrementally less pleasant than that of someone else, will your experience of Heaven be incrementally more pleasant than theirs? Do you support the just-world hypothesis? On what evidence? Is it justice for 18,000 children to die of starvation every day? If you believe that all suffering will be offset after death, why bother working to reduce suffering during this life?
Epicurus on evil
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? If so, how can it be omnipotent? Is it able, but not willing? If so, how can it be benevolent? Is it both able and willing? If so, then why is there evil in the world? Is it neither able nor willing? If so, then why worship it?
Christian USA
Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli between the United States and Libya, drafted by George Washington and signed by John Adams states, "As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion..." Thomas Jefferson wrote "The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the Supreme Being in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter." He also took a razor to a bible and removed all of the miracle stories. And more recently, Catholic president John F. Kennedy said, "I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute." Do you think the United States is a Christian nation? How could it be a Christian nation if Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, James Madison, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, John Q. Adams, Millard Fillmore, William H. Taft, William Henry Harrison, Lyndon B. Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes and Abraham Lincoln were not Christians? Was it patriotic of Reverend Duche, the prayer leader of the continental congress, to flee to England and urge George Washington to abandon plans for independence? Why did only three or four people at the constitutional convention want a prayer which was therefore never said? Why isn't God mentioned anywhere in the U.S. Constitution? How could the founding fathers have launched a rebellion against the British authorities, if they were Christian and the Christian Bible says that you must obey the authorities (Romans 13:1)? Why wasn't "under God" in the pledge of allegiance until 1954? Why wasn't "In God, we trust" on the back of dollar bills until 1956? How many Bible quotes and Christian images are contained in architecture in Washington D.C.? How much pagan imagery is there? Why did Presidents John Quincy Adams and Franklin Pierce swear on law books at their inaugeration? Where does the Bible teach democracy, consent of the governed, peaceful protest, freedom of speech, habeas corpus, separation of powers, innocence until proof of guilt, protection from self-incrimination or gender equality? Where does the U.S. constitution enshrine the biblical principles of cruel, unusual punishment (Hell), vicarious redemption, heritable fault, chosen people, compulsory love, capital punishment, misogyny and slavery?
What's more important to you - Christianity or democracy? Ideally, would you like Christianity to be the official religion of the United States? Ideally, would you like the United States to be a Christian theocracy with a leader from the clergy? Do you think laws from an ancient book supersede laws established through the processes of democracy? Do you agree with Peter and the apostles that we must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29)? Do you think Wahhabi Muslims in Saudi Arabia must obey God rather than men? Do you agree with St. Paul and Jeff Sessions that everyone needs to submit to the authorities (Romans 13:1)? Do you think there should be civil laws against adultery, masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual acts as prescribed in the Catholic Catechism and enacted in majority Catholic Philippines? What is the Vatican doing to keep out of prison Filipinos convicted of these things? Do you think bacon should be banned with civil laws because it offends Muslims? Should an employer be allowed to deny insurance coverage of blood transfusions if he is a Jehovah's Witness? of all doctor intervention if he is a Christian Scientist? Why didn't Maurice Bessinger have the religious right to deny service to black people on the grounds that "serving members of the negro race would violate his sacred religious beliefs"? Should insulting someone's religion be a crime in the US like it is in majority Catholic Philippines? Do you think that the Bible should be the basis of laws? What about the Qur'an? What about the Hindu Epics?
Religious right
Do you think that Bob Jones University was unfairly stripped of its tax-exempt status after denying admission to black people? Do you agree with 1960 Bob Jones that "if you are against segregation and against racial separation then you are against God"? If, in response to this action by the IRS, Jerry Falwell, Paul Weyrich and their friends at the Heritage Foundation had chosen to demonize adultery instead of abortion, would you call for the biblically mandated death penalty of adulterers instead of the deaths of women and doctors that are ordered nowhere in the Bible?
How do you decide which Bible rules to obey and which to ignore? Do you wear clothes made of two different materials (Lev 19:19)? eat shrimp (Lev 19:12), trim the hair at your temples (Lev 19:27), plant crops with two different kinds of seed (Lev 19:19), have any tattoos (Lev 19:28), have any contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev 15:19), work on Saturday (Exodus 35:2), or approach the altar without having 20/20 vision (Lev 21:20)? If you are female, do you sacrifice two doves before entering church after your period (Lev 15:19) and avoid wearing gold at church (1 Timothy 2:9)? Do you give your things away to whoever asks for them (Luke 6:30, Matt 5:42)? Where did God say that the law of the Old Testament was only temporary? What does it mean to "fulfill a law" (Matt 5:17)? If I wanted to fulfill the law against driving through a red light, how would I do it? If Jesus did not abolish a single jot or tittle of the law (Matt 5:17-18), a law that is harder to make go away than Heaven and Earth (Luke 16:17), how are you able to pick up sticks on Saturdays with impunity? If the Noah's ark flood was actually only a regional event, then are the people from other places who lived and did not descend from Noah under any covenant with God at all? Is the Old Testament the inspired word of God with its characterization of God as a genocidal, narcissistic, petty, misogynist, jealous, vain, sadistic, pyromaniacal, nationalist tyrant? Besides providing the antiquity necessary to effectively market a religion during the first centuries, what good is the Old Testament? What makes the New Testament any more credible and inerrant than the Old Testament? If the concepts of thought crime (Matt 5:28) and eternal torture in the afterlife (Mark 9:43, Matt 13:50, Matt 18:8, Matt 25:46, Thes 1:9, Rev 14:10, Rev 21:8, CCC 1035) were not introduced until the New Testament, how is the New Testament kinder and gentler than the Old Testament where you were free to think with impunity and God's vengeance ended at death? Why didn't Jesus denounce slavery or the genocides committed by God in the Old Testament? If, in the New Covenant, God lifted the explicit capital punishment of homosexuality without any explicit endorsement of it, does that mean God started to actually support homosexuality, or that God still hated homosexuality but just no longer required homosexuals to be stoned to death? Does God still hate clothing made of mixed fibers but just no longer requires people who wear it to be punished?
Commandments constitution
Do you think that the US constitution is based on the Ten Commandments of the Bible? What does worshipping other gods, making idols or taking the Lord's name have to do with the constitution? Why does the constitution forbid forcing businesses to close on Sundays? How do you know whether the Bible's prohibition of murder and theft comes from the Ten Commandments or from the moral code of every other society that prohibits these things? Why isn't divorce and wanting something of someone else a crime? Are the constitutions of all the other countries also God given? How do you know which constitutions are given by God and which ones are not?
Which commandments?
Why did God give different sets of commandments (Exodus 20, Exodus 23, Exodus 34, Deut 5 and Deut 27)? Did God make a mistake the first time?
1st Commandment
If there is only one god, then why does the first commandment acknowledge the existence of other gods that ought not to be worshipped? Why did it not just say that there are no other gods in existence to worship? Why would you want to worship a god that demands that you worship it? What is the harm of not worshipping God? Who receives this harm?
Graven images
Why was the graven image commandment removed from the Catholic set (Ex 20:4)? Do you think that making an image is really the second worst thing that you can do? What is the harm of making a graven image? Who receives this harm?
2nd Commandment
God thinks taking its name in vain (prohibited) is worse than rape and slavery (not prohibited) (Ex 20:1-17). Do you think taking God's name in vain is worse than rape and slavery? Are Almighty God's feelings hurt when its name is taken in vain by puny human beings? Why did God list taking its name in vain (2nd or 3rd) before killing (5th or 6th)? Do you think that taking God's name in vain is worse than murder? If the United States was founded on the Christian religion, why is the lesser offense of murder a crime but taking God's name in vain is not a crime even though it is listed higher in the Ten Commandments? Would you like for the punishment for taking God's name in vain to be more severe than the punishment for first-degree murder, as it is in Pakistan? What is the harm of taking God's name in vain? Who receives this harm?
3rd Commandment
Why would the creator of the universe care which day of the week we take off? If God's true meaning was for us to take any day of our choice off, would God have been able to find the words to say so? Why would an omnipotent god need to rest on the seventh day? Is the Sabbath to be kept holy because God rested on the seventh day (Exodus 20:11), or because God freed the Israelites from Egypt (Deut 5:15)? If people who work on the Sabbath need to be put to death (Ex 35:2, Numbers 15:35), why wasn't Jesus stoned to death for performing miracles on the Sabbath? What is the harm of not keeping holy the Sabbath? Who receives this harm? Does God think it is okay to gather wood on the Sabbath (Mark 2:27), or not gather wood on the Sabbath (Numbers 15:35)?
4th Commandment
Should respect and obedience be automatic or earned? Is not honoring your parents (prohibited) worse than rape and slavery (not prohibited)? Should a girl honor her father if he rapes her? Do you think you should beat disobedient children (Proverbs 13:24, 20:30, 23:13-14) or kill them (Ex 21:15, Lev 20:9, Deut 21:18-21, Mark 7:9-13, Matt 15:4-7)?
5th Commandment
If someone strikes you on the right cheek should you offer the left one (Matt 5:39)? Why is it okay to kill in self-defense but not to end the suffering of a person who asks you to do it? Why did God deliver a command to not kill then command Moses to command the Levites to slay 3,000 of their brothers, friends, and neighbors (Ex 32:27-28)? Did people think that it was okay to kill people before they received the commandment to not kill? What was the penalty for breaking any of the Ten Commandments? Why did God give specific rules for who you are supposed to kill: unbelievers (2 Chronicles 15:12-15), followers of other religions (Deut 17: 2-7, Deut 13:6-12, Numbers 25:1-9), witches (Ex 22:18), fortune tellers (Lev 20:27), people who ignore priests (Deut 17:12), children for cursing their parents (Lev 20:9), adulterers (Lev 20:10), the child who hits his parents (Ex 21:15), gay people (Lev 20:13, Romans 1:26-32), entire towns if one person worships another god (Deut 13:12-19), women who are not virgins on their wedding night (Deut 22:16-21), anyone who blasphemes (Lev 24:10-16), anyone who works on the Sabbath (Ex 31:12-15). Why did God itself kill 42 children for making fun of a prophet's bald head by sending 2 bears to tear them to pieces (2 Kings 2:23-24), people for looking at the ark of the covenant (1 Sam 6:19-20), all of the firstborn of Egypt just to prove it was real (Ex 11:4-8), and everyone on earth except for Noah and his family? Why did it send a lion to kill a man because he didn't strike the prophet with his weapon when the prophet told him to (1 Kings 20:35-36)? Was it a violation of the 5th Commandment when canonized Pope Pius V ordered the murder of 2,000 followers of preacher Peter Waldo, or the murder of captured Huguenot Protestants in France? What does "kill" mean? Is it a sin to kill a human embryo? Is it a sin to kill a human sperm cell?
6th Commandment
Why wasn't King David stoned to death for committing adultery with his general's wife (2 Samuel 11:4)?
7th Commandment
Did God's commandment not to steal provide any value to anyone? Did the people think that stealing might be okay before God said it was not? Is it a moral absolute to not steal? Is it immoral to steal plans from terrorists and save thousands of lives?
8th Commandment
Why did God tell Moses to bear false witness (lie) to the Egyptian Pharaoh (Exodus 3:18)? If God was protecting Abraham, then why did Abraham tell his wife Sarah to lie to the Egyptians that she was his sister and not his wife in fear that they would kill him before taking her (Gen 12:13)? Is it okay to bear false witness against someone who is not your neighbor? If not, why didn't God just omit the "against your neighbor" clause to avoid confusion over this term that has been understood by scholars to refer only to other Israelites?
9th Commandment
Which fallible, mortal Church cleric decided to divide Exodus 20:17 into two separate commandments and reorder the parts putting wife coveting before stuff coveting? If God had meant that the commandment ordering didn't matter, why didn't it bother to make this vital clarification? If the order doesn't matter, why not just leave stuff (house) coveting before wife coveting? If the ordering doesn't matter, does that mean that taking God's name in vain is just as bad and carries the same punishment as first degree murder? How is it possible to not be attracted to a married person you find attractive? How would the species survive without people looking lustfully at other people? Do you agree with Jesus that if a man looks lustfully at a woman the best thing for him to do is to gouge his eyeball out (Matt 5:29)? Should women also gouge their eyeballs out if they look lustfully at someone?
10th Commandment
How is it possible to not covet another person's property? What would economic development be without the desire to have things that other people have? Why are wives allowed to covet their neighbors' spouses but husbands aren't? How can the Ten Commandments be regarded as applicable today and forever if its regard for women as chattel is no longer acceptable in modern culture? Why are houses listed higher than wives on God's list of property of your neighbor that you must not covet? If the Israelites were not supposed to covet, why did they seek to conquer and acquire the land of their neighbors?
Other commandments
God thinks you should keep the feast of unleavened bread (Ex 34:18), sacrifice every male firstling among your cattle, ox or sheep (Ex 34:19-20), observe the feast of weeks (Ex 34:22), and have all your sons appear three times per year before God (Ex 34:23)? Do you think so too? God thinks boiling a goat in the milk of its mother (prohibited) is worse than rape and slavery (not prohibited) (Ex 23:19, Ex 34:26). Do you think boiling a goat in the milk of its mother is worse than rape and slavery? Is it also worse to offer a blood sacrifice with leaven, or wait until morning to offer a passover sacrifice (Ex 34:25)? Do you think that without these commandments human morality would become relative and arbitrary?
Jesus's Commandment
How is it possible to love others as much as or in the same manner as yourself (Mark 12:31)?
Why is a woman unclean after giving birth? Why is she unclean for 14 days after having a baby girl but only unclean for 7 days after having a baby boy (Lev 12:1-5)?
Where in the Bible does it say that a woman's consent to sex is necessary or desirable? If Mary had said "no, thanks", would she still have been magically impregnated? Why did God curse David to have his multiple wives raped by the neighbor (2 Sam 12:11-14)?
God's gender
Why is sexless God referred to using male pronouns? Which components of God's nature distinguish it definitively as male and not female? If God can get angry and if God is actually female, does it make God angry to always refer to her with male pronouns?
Victim blaming
Do you agree with Toledo Archbishop Braulio Rodriguez that "The majority of cases of domestic violence happen because the woman's partner does not accept her, or rejects her for not accepting his demands"?
Hospitality misogyny
If a traveler is staying in your house and the locals come by to have sex with him, should you give your concubine to them and let them rape her all night instead of the traveler who has super powers and surely doesn't need any help defending himself against a few mere mortals (Judges 19:25-28)?
Slavery misogyny
Why do male slaves get freedom after six years but if you sell your daughter into slavery she can only be bought back if she doesn't please her master (Exodus 21:7-8)? Do you agree with God that you can sell your daughter into slavery and allow her master to rape her (Exodus 21:7-10)? Why would a loving God allow masters to rape their female slaves and then order the slaves to be punished (Lev 19:20-22)?
Sex double standard
In a Catholic wedding, why do fathers give their daughters in marriage but mothers don't give their sons in marriage? Why is it okay for men to divorce their unfaithful wives, but not for wives to divorce their unfaithful husbands (Matt 5:31-32)? Why is female virginity so important in the Bible but male virginity is not? If a woman is not a virgin on her wedding night should she be stoned to death on her father's doorstep (Deut 22:20)? If a man is not a virgin on his wedding night should he be stoned to death on his mother's doorstep? Why is it okay for men to speak in church but wrong for a woman to speak in church and if she wants to learn anything she should not ask in church but should ask her husband at home (1 Cor 14:34-35)? Do you agree with St. Paul that men are the image and glory of God, but women are only the glory of men (1 Cor 11:7)? Do you agree with St. Paul that women have to give birth in order to be saved (1 Tim 2:15)? Do you think that all women who do not have children will burn for eternity in the lake of fire (Mark 9:43, Matt 13:50, Matt 18:8, Matt 25:46, Thes 1:9, Rev 14:10, Rev 21:8, CCC 1035)? Why do women have to cover their hair but men don't (1 Cor 11:5)? Why is it better for a man's daughters and concubines to be raped by a mob than for his male guests to be raped by a mob (Judges 19:20-30)?
God on women
Do you agree with God that women should be stoned to death if they do not scream loudly enough when they are being raped (Deut 22:24)? Do you agree with God that if you rape a virgin you will be forgiven if you pay her father and marry her (Exodus 22:16-17)? Why did God promise to pull up the Israelites' skirts over their faces to expose them (Jer 13:22-26)? Do you think that the creator of the universe considers a person unclean if they touch the bed of a woman during her period (Lev 15:23)? Why do males get to eat holy meat but females don't (Lev 6:29)? Why do women choose to obey the Bible? If men and women are equal in the eyes of God, why did God curse women to be ruled over by men (Gen 3:16)? Why didn't God include Sarah in the discussion about murdering her son Isaac? God thinks that the value of a woman is 60% the value of a man and the value of a girl is 50% the value of a boy (Lev 27:1-8). Do you think so too? God thinks that husbands are the heads of households as Christ is the head of the Church and wives should submit to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22-23). Do you think husbands are the heads of households and wives should submit to them too? Do you think head scabs and exposure of private parts are a fair punishment, as God delivers, for women who are haughty, walk with stretched forth necks and wanton eyes, walk and mince as they go, and make a tinkling with their feet (Isaiah 3:16-17)? Do you think it is a good idea to banish women for seven days every month while they are on their period (Lev 15:19-24)?
Why can't women be priests? Why didn't Jesus have any female apostles? Why did Pope Innocent VIII declare, by papal bull, that witches were real and a threat, leading to countless innocent women being burned alive?
Genital mutilation
Do you support genital mutilation of girls? Do you support genital mutilation of boys? Why did God intelligently design foreskin that it wanted to be cut off?
Child abuse
Do you support presenting unsupported, extraordinary religious claims - eternal torture, talking donkeys and bushes, unicorns, living in a whale stomach, virgin birth, resurrection, infallible popes, invisible, surveilling angels, an invisible boogeyman living at the center of the Earth, etc - as truth to impressionable children at their most credulous, imaginative time of life, when they have not yet developed the critical thinking skills, experience or brain physiology necessary to judge truth? If the official Catholic doctrine for the age of reason - when someone is able to discern right and wrong - puts it at age seven, why do churches begin religious education at age three? Is it moral for Muslims to lie to children about very serious things? Is it moral for Christians to lie to children about very serious things? Do you support telling children stories of parents willing to murder their children at God's request or eating their children (Deut 28:53, 2 Kings 6:29, Jeremiah 19:9, Lam 4:10, Ezekiel 5:10), or claims that a child's friends of other faiths will be tortured for eternity because they never had some water splashed on their foreheads as babies? Do you consider terrifying children to be a form of child abuse? Do you think religion would exist today if it were not presented to people as children? Why do you think that Hitler made his Nazi training camps for children?
Republicans vs college
Do you agree with 58% of Republicans that colleges and universities have a negative impact on the US? Do you agree with 72% of Democrats that colleges and universities have a positive impact on the US? Do you agree with Jehovah's Witness leader Gerrit Losch, that going to university is like shooting yourself in the head?
Don't think
Why does God want to destroy wisdom and cleverness (1 Cor 1:19), and discourage trusting one's own understanding (Proverbs 3:5), and forbid knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:9) but there is nothing written in the Bible in praise of human intelligence, the most distinguishing characteristic of the human species? Did the originators of the Bible stories have anything to gain if their listeners just followed them without thinking critically? How could God create a scientific marvel like the universe and create us in its image but discourage scientific inquiry? Do you agree with Jesus that people who believe something without proof are blessed (John 20:29)? Are Flat-Earthers blessed for believing that the Earth is flat? When is it best to accept something without proof and when is it best to require proof before accepting something? If you believe you are Napoleon on no evidence should you see a psychiatrist? What is evil and adulterous, as Jesus claimed, about people asking for evidence (Matt 12:39)? According to the Bible, every one of the Eleven and Paul believed only after perceiving something extraordinary. What is wrong with the rest of us insisting on seeing clear evidence before believing? If the Jews of Jesus's day were there, and if they knew their Scriptures, and if they believed in Yahweh, and if they believed in miracles, but they didn’t believe God raised Jesus from the dead then why should we believe it? Do you believe that God will reveal itself to anyone who sincerely asks? Does it seem reasonable to you that we can only enter Heaven if we have the faith of a child, a person who can be fooled into believing that Santa Claus is real, that you can dig a hole to China and that the nice man in the van really has candy as he claims (Matt 18:3)? Why does the Church use sheep/shepherd metaphors? Why is it a slur to refer to someone as a sheep if we should aspire to being sheep?
Suckers and skeptics
If God wanted more than anything else for people to believe things without evidence, why would it create people with the credulity to believe charlatans who claim to speak for God but do not? Why would it give people critical thinking skills that make them skeptical of the existence of God?
Do you think that every religious person should or should not ask these questions of their religious instructors and religious parents? Why did the University of Notre Dame grant club status for Jews and Muslims but not atheists? Why is the Campus-Crusade-taught policy for handling questions from skeptics to not answer the questions because it puts the Christian on the defensive? If something is true, what does it have to lose by being challenged? If something is not true, what does it have to lose by being challenged? Do you agree with the author of 1 Peter that you should always be prepared to explain why you believe what you believe (1 Peter 3:15)? What kinds of questions should Christian students ask and not ask? What kinds of questions should Muslim students ask and not ask? Do you think that the followers of cult leaders Jim Jones, David Koresh, and Marshall Applewhite should or should not have asked them questions?
Jesus vs skeptics
Do you agree with Jesus that people who give kids a list of questions that lead them to doubt Christian teachings ought to have a stone tied around their necks and drown (Matt 18:6)? Do you think that followers of Poseidon should not put their god to the test? Do you think that followers of Yahweh should not put their god to the test (Deut 6:16)? Do you agree with Paul of Tarsus that you should prove all things and only keep what's good (1 Thes 5:21)?