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54 Questions for the Not-Yet-a-Believer, Part 1 of a two-part series
by Daryl E. Witmer, AIIA Executive Director
In order to maintain objectivity in the debate about matters of faith, it’s not only the Christian who must be called to the witness stand. Even those who dispute or are otherwise skeptical about Christianity have some questions to answer. In fact, considering the evidence, it may very well require more faith to stand outside the circle of those who believe than to join it. To ensure integrity on the part of all of our readers who are not yet believers, here are a few issues about which you too should be able to give an account.
If every effect has a cause, and if God Himself is the universe (i.e. is one with the universe), what or who then caused the universe? Since absolutely no Bible prophecy has ever failed, how can one realistically re-main unconvinced that the Bible is of Divine origin? Are you able to live consistently with your present worldview? From whence comes humanity’s universal moral sense? Explain how personality could have ever evolved from the impersonal, or how order could have ever resulted from chaos. In what sense was Jesus a ‘Good Man’ if He was lying in His claim to be God? Wouldn’t it make better sense, even pragmatically, to live as though the God of the Bible does exist than as though He doesn’t? If the Bible is not true, why is it so universally regarded as the ‘Good Book’? If Jesus’ resurrection was faked, why would twelve intelligent men (Jesus’ disciples) have died for what they knew to be a lie? How do you explain a single uneducated and virtually untraveled man, dead at age 33, still radically changing lives and society today?
“I spent a long time trying to come to grips with my doubts, and suddenly I realized that I had better come to grips with what I believe. I have since moved from the agony of questions that I cannot answer to the reality of answers that I cannot escape. And it is a great relief.” -Tom Skinner in Confident Leadership
Why have so many of history’s greatest thinkers been believers? How do you account for the origin of life considering the irreducible complexity of its essential components? How do you reconcile naturalism, the Law of Entropy, and the existence of human intelligence? Why does the Bible alone, of all of the world’s ‘holy’ books, contain such detailed prophecies of future events? How do you account for the hundreds and hundreds of meticulously fulfilled prophecies that are detailed throughout the Bible?
On what basis can the Bible (interpreted as per historic Christian orthodoxy) be challenged as a sole final truth-standard (Galatians 1:8)? How do you explain the empty tomb of Jesus in the light of all of the evidence that has now proven essentially irrefutable for twenty centuries? Is it absolutely true that “truth is not absolute” or only relatively true that “all things are relative?” Is it possible that your unbelief in God is actually an unwillingness to submit to Him? Account for the odds (1 in 10 to the 157th power) that even just 48 (of 300) Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in one person, i.e Jesus. Did you know that the Bible has been the number one best-seller every year since the 1436 invention of the Gutenberg printing press?
“Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand. But the passages that bother me are those I do understand.” -Mark Twain
How do you account for the vast archaeological documentation of Biblical stories, places, and people? Does your present worldview provide you with an adequate sense of meaning and purpose? How do you explain the radically changed lives of so many Christian believers down through history? How was it possible for the Old Testament prophet Isaiah to have predicted the virgin birth of Jesus (Isaiah 7:14) 700 years before it occurred? How can anyone doubt the reliability of Scripture considering the number and proximity to originals of its many copied manuscripts? Are you aware that every alleged Bible contradiction has been answered in an intelligible and credible manner? If Jesus’ claims to be the only way to God are true (John 14:6), how can Christian truth be anything but exclusive? Are you aware that the Old Testament alone claims to be God’s inspired word at least 2600 times? Do you think that Jesus was misguided in affirming the truthfulness of Scripture, i.e. John 10:35, Matthew 24, Luke 24:44? How can the Second Law of Thermodynamics be reconciled with progressive naturalistic evolutionary theory?