Challenge: Give Us Your Challenge Questions

Posted: March 29, 2011 by Brett Kunkle in Weekly Challenge

Every Tuesday, we post a challenge to Christianity and ask you to weigh in.  Then we share our response in a Thursday video.

Well this week, we’re taking a break from the “Weekly Challenge” but we still REALLY want to hear from you.  We want your ideas for future challenge questions.  Has a classmate stumped you with an objection to God?  Has your teacher bashed some aspect of Christianity, leaving you tongue-tied and without an answer?  Have you seen a news report about some difficult ethical question that you couldn’t answer?  Tell us about it!

In the comments section below, write a challenge question that you want us to answer in a future post.  Here are a few guidelines:

  • Don’t be too broad. For example, don’t ask “Can you defend Christianity?”  You would need to be more specific
  • Don’t be too narrow. For example, don’t ask “What’s the influence of 1st century acclamations on the praise utterances in Revelation 4:8?”  Maybe you and your dog are interested in that question, but not a whole lot of other people are.
  • Give us more than one. You’re not limited to one challenge.  List them all!
  • Make it concise. Don’t write 50 paragraphs.  Keep it short and sweet — maybe 3 to 5 sentences.
  • Give us your info. This is optional but if you do give us your name, city & state, we’ll find some way to give you some credit on the blog or even in our video response.
Comments
  1. Rob says:

    Why do people who believe Jesus is who he said he was disagree on so many fundamental things? For example, some Christians think baptism is necessary for salvation and others don’t. Doesn’t this disagreement lead us to conclude that a ‘right interpretation’ of scripture is impossible this side of the grave, and is therefore a pointless endeavor?

    Why do we need a self-existent and eternal being to create the universe? Why can’t the universe itself be self-existent and eternal?

    -Rob from Jacksonville Beach, FL

  2. How can a God who is spirit interact with the physical world?

  3. Adrian Urias says:

    Well, I think you guys could have done some more doctrinal stuff. I really appreciated the Mormon theme this past week. But like, the 17 points, I think you guys could have expanded on that a lot more. You had 17 points to work with. So like, more cult stuff, that’d be great. Oh, like that one time, you guys were doing a period on the trinity…gotta say, I was kind of let down on how short that was.

    So for example:

    is Baptism necessary?
    is the church authorized to have divine authority/revelation?
    is divine healing still something to be continued?
    is papacy biblical?
    Is Jesus God in light of passage X?
    Is the spirit a force? a person? whats the difference between the spirit and the son?
    faith vs works

    so stuff like that to promote sound doctrine. would be interesting to see maybe some differing opinions for once. not just have everybody just reword the same answers.

    and then, of course, the other stuff.

    people die all the time and come right back. what makes the resurrection so special?
    what about those who never heard? (i cant recall if we’ve covered this one yet)
    are God’s attributes contradictory? (grace and justice, existence and our existence, and other things like that…I find that I have trouble with these…)
    is sending someone else to die for us ethical? why was a sacrifice necessary? why couldnt God just say, ‘ok, youre forgiven’?
    Why is God so hidden? I’m a rational unbeliever, so if God really wanted to be in a loving relationship with me, he’d make himself a lot more obvious.
    Scripture A contradicts scripture B. See, Bible is false! how does one answer that?
    God’s existence is not very likely in light of all the evil in the world. there is probably suffering that is totally not necessary.

    and then maybe some more culturally relevant stuff, like when alan does the abortion stuff. Maybe a few issues on same sex marriage. I live in California, and man, I get overwhelmed with just …stuff…so

    Can homosexuals marry? isnt it bigoted and unloving to not allow someone marry someone else?
    can homosexuals adopt? for all the poor orphans in the world, you christians sure wont let gay couples help. you ignorant fools. hahahahaha (just throwing stuff out there, i dont really mean that)
    can a hermaphrodites be considered gay? (no, seriously guys, this was asked to me when I did a lesson on same sex marriage…ive never felt so stumped…)
    can homosexuals rehabilitate? or stop being gay, if that was politically incorrect…

    I live in Long Beach…a very um…accepting community…these are real questions, I understand if they may seem a bit funny.

    And there other questions I cant really categorize.

    Can Christians be rich? eye of the needle kind of thing.
    If capitalism is run on greed, can Christians be capitalist?
    does the bible support communism?
    how can a temporal creation come from a non temporal being? (never understood that…)
    how bout womens issues eh? is the Bible oppressive towards women? what does it mean when the bible says a woman should be silent?
    could you be happy in heaven? could you sin in heaven?
    could Jesus really be tempted?

    so yeah, I got a million and one issues, but I can’t think of the rest. Maybe I’ll post again later.

  4. Why should I believe your evidence when my evidence is equally compelling?

    Or…another version:

    Two experts, one on each side of an issue, bring compelling, yet contradictory evidence of the view to the table. Who do we believe?

  5. Maria says:

    First of all – thank you for these challenges. I teach 8th grade logic in a Classical Christian School and we talk about the questions and then watch your response.

    My ONLY major question.
    Why would God create people and cause them to be born into this world when he did not intend/predestine them to be his children and be with him in heaven? I know that God is glorified in this (that is the answer)..but it doesn’t answer my heart.

  6. Chuck says:

    In your definition of the Trinity, could you define/compare/contrast what you mean by “being” and “persons”? Thanks.

  7. Carmen Villegas says:

    Thank you for everything you guys do!

    Here are a few objections that I don’t really know how to answer:

    (1) Muslim apologists (like Shabir Aly) always say the gospels grew and became legendary and they cite Mark as the first gospel and John as the last more legendary one. I don’t think they see the gospels as eyewitnesses.

    (2) How can I begin reading the Old Testament? What is poetry or historical and prophetic? I always get stuck.

    (3) I know God exists but how do I answer objections to Gods presence by atheists as it being neurological or something like that.

    Again thank you very very much!! I can’t count the number of times I get encouraged by all you guys do!

    God Bleas You!

  8. Chuck says:

    Sometimes scientific facts are used to show that the Bible was written with supernatural knowledge/leading. How does this compare when Muslims do the same for the Quoran, such as seen on this website: http://www.islam-guide.com/ch1-1.htm

  9. jason tate says:

    Why is it that newer translations refer to lucifer as the morning star in Isahiah as well as Jesus as the morning star in 1Peter and Revelations? Are newer translations other than KJV commiting a heresy by referring to Christ and Satan by the same name and is this not a stumbling block for young believers?

  10. Gail Cipiti says:

    Here are comments from a friend……..
    “…I am especially interested in “moments of conversion” or whatever underlies the story, if your current form of faith was actually something that evolved since we were in school.
    In any case I am especially interested in bible passages that are thought to support the Nicean Creed. It was developed and officially became doctrine some 300 years after the death of Yeshua ben Yousef (the apparently proper Hebrew name for the Prophet).
    I find it odd that Saul of Tarsus (aka the Apostle Paul) became such from a seemingly momentary experience on the Damascus road, following a Pharisiacal career that featured direct participation in the murder of Christians. I am unclear if any of the remaining Apostles had much to do with his conversion or assumption of leadership status, nor were even consulted about any verification of the earnestness of his abrupt change in faith. I gather also that he was the only person in his traveling party who claimed to hear the word of God/Jesus/Somebody, exhorting him to change his ways. While I am somewhat interested in those details, I’m sure you will appreciate that there is no way to prove or disprove the genuine-ness of his implied claim. And it is further ironic to me that the Nicean Creed seems more based upon Saul’s teaching than that of the other Apostles (for example the emphasis of “Jesus the redeemer of souls”).
    So I am naturally interested in where you think these notions become facts. And whether you arrived at your faith based on that…”

  11. Albert Listy says:

    I have been talking to a friend on Facebook about how he believes and I asked him to give me a run down so that I could get a better understanding.

    This is what he said:
    “I am what I would refer to as a neo-perennialsit (in contradistinction, though inclusive of, …what is called traditional perennialism). This pretty much means that I believe that ultimate reality (or the Sacred) can manifest Itself through mediums that are very particular to certain selves, but in such a way that He/She/It is difficult to discern from very particularized religious positions looking at other very particularized religious positions. I am a neo-perennialist with a strong proclivity toward following the ways of
    Jesus as I understand them in our contemporary age. Here is an excellent video that sums up very well my position, as taught by a well-known teacher within the more mystical Christian Tradition, Marcus Borg. I believe that this hour-long video will help you to understand me much better, and we can certainly begin to work our way from there if you should continue to like to do so. The url is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHIv-c-Rpzw. So if you get the time to check into it, I do believe it will offer quite a bit in terms of clarification concerning my overall religious position.”

    Can you help to do understand the best way to work through getting him to see the fallacies in his thinking?

    I can’t use historical facts from what I read here so I don’t know if there is anyway for me to proceed that is not futile.

    Any insight you can share with me would be greatly appreciated. And if you don’t answer this in the video, it would be awesome if you could email me back some sort of information that I could refer to.

    I have been using the Colombo tactic and it has help greatly to getting this guy to open up and most Christian’s he deals with shut him down with “He is just wrong” type comments. He has really opened up to me, though he is a tough cookie to understand.

    And he used to be a 5 point Calvinist so he is well versed in Christian thinking.

    Thanks!

  12. Albert Listy says:

    Quote of the Day, by Richard Swinburne on Faith by John W. Loftus

    I suggest that, if the probability of the existence of God on someone’s evidence is not too low after adequate investigation, it would indeed be a best act to worship and repent before God. After all, if you receive a very expensive and much-desired present and it is unclear who has sent it, it would be bad not to write a very grateful letter to the person most likely to have sent it (even if it is not very likely that that person has sent it). You might express your gratitude in a conditional way (‘I’m assuming that you sent this’), but not to express any gratitude at all would be a bad thing. And if you have damaged the present, it would be bad not to apologize. A fortiori, if—although it is unclear who (if anyone) gave you life but the most likely candidate is a God—it would be very bad indeed not to express a very great amount of gratitude, and very considerable repentance.

    –From the 2nd edition of Faith and Reason, page 223.

    What’s this about sending a letter to thank someone for a gift who is not very likely to have sent it, but the most likely to have done so? What’s that mean? What does it mean to think the probability is “not too low”? How low can you go? Is this considered good apologetics? Oh, and one more thing, since we’re talking about god here, which one? Usually believers will just conclude that they should thank the culturally dominant one.

    How should we respond?

  13. Albert Listy says:

    How would you respond?

  14. Evan says:

    What about ex-christians who seemed to be saved?

  15. Damien says:

    I have a friend who says he believes morals are “inherent,” meaning that they have developed over time out of chemical processes. How can I best explain to him that this is logically impossible?

    • Sam Harper says:

      Damien, I think you should first get a clarification from him on whether he means moral BELIEFS developed out of chemical processes or whether he means moral OBLIGATIONS developed out of chemical processes.

  16. Why does the OT consistantly refer to the covenants as being “everlasting” and using “never ending” type language with the exception of Jerimiah, but the NT is in fact a new/different covenant rendering the old obselete (Heb)?

  17. Elliot Neff says:

    For me personally, I feel like I can fairly easily deal with any contradictions thrown at me. Even if some require a few minutes of research, I know where to go and how to reply to an objection quickly and effectively.

    However, there is one topic that I still have not been quite able to reconcile: evolution. Although evolution, even if it were true, in no way can disprove the existence of God, it does seem to degrade the value of mankind (who is made in the image of God). I feel like this is the one subject upon which Atheists have some ground to stand. They champion Darwin’s theory as if it were the savior of the world. The evidence seems to be overwhelming and the arguments in rebuttle at least appear to be desperate attempts to cover up the truth.

    How can I be sure that this is not true? How can I be sure these arguments against (macro)evolution are not just excuses? Or, if it is true (as some Theists would argue), how do humans still have value?

  18. Kevin Walker says:

    My first question is concerning the laws of logic (just the big 3, LI, LNC, LEM). Are these laws PROVABLE? Or are they simply brute givens in all argumentation, language, etc.? The usual response is that they are true because to deny them is to actually USE THEM in the VERY PROCESS of denying them, so that they are actually undeniable. But the yet FURTHER response is that this begs the question because, for example, the law of noncontradiction is being used as the BASIS to prove the law of noncontradiction. The laws of logic are being used to prove the laws of logic, which is completely begging the entire question. Any thoughts here?

    The second question is concerning the idea of children being born “tabula rasa.” Are children really born as “blank slates” and all knowledge is acquired empirically via the senses”? Or are there some innate ideas had from birth? If so, how are these acquired if not empirically? Any thoughts?

  19. Philip Motes says:

    Kevin, what’s so wrong with “begging the question”? That counter-argument itself assumes the laws of logic, which is just a further case in point that one has to use logic to try to disprove logic.

    There are many questions I have been wrestling with as I am taking a New Testament course at a public community college. I have found in my apologetic studies that issues pertaining to the New Testament can be very technical and are often the most difficult to answer. The basic challenge I want to raise is the idea that there is much more Paul in Christianity than there is Jesus. My NT professor claims that Paul didn’t care one bit about Jesus’ historical life and teachings, not even those about the Kingdom of God, which was central to His ministry. Rather, Paul came up with his own unique gospel and theological interpretations about Jesus based on his visionary experience of Him, which was totally independent from the original disciples, as Galations 1 seems to indicate. Paul’s gospel spread rapidly among the gentiles and eventually “won out,” becoming the basis for what we consider orthodox Christianity. In short, Paul founded Christianity, not Jesus. How would you respond to this challenge? Thanks!

  20. Chuck says:

    Matthew 24:36-38 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

    1) If Jesus is omniscient/God, why did He not know?
    2) Does this verse exclude the Holy Spirit from knowing, therefore rendering Him to not be omniscient?