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Objections to Christianity
(note: Much of this conversation is based on a book by Alex McFarland called, ‘The 10 Most Common Objections to Christianity’. I highly recommend reading it and using the small-group study guide in the back of the book to bring out conversations about this topic in a safe, honest way in church small-groups or other similar settings.)
I am a Christian. I believe the bible is God’s Word and is without error. I grew up in a Christian home, had Christian parents, hung out with Christian friends, and eventually married a Christian woman. Today, I have three little girls who I hope and pray will choose to be Christians someday soon as well. But as we all know, there are some objections to our faith and there will objections to theirs too.
When it comes to having objections to Christianity, I know that some people even think that what I believe is on the brink or right alongside of many other made-up fairy tales like the Easter bunny, Santa Claus, and Jack and the Bean Stalk. (wait…scratch the Santa Claus bit. I’m still holding on to that one!) My kids may one day object, possibly, and certainly many of my favorite people in the world already do object to what I hold so dear. The truth is – some of the questions are not so easy to explain or address. In fact, I believe that some of the objections to Christianity are valid and worth careful investigation. The questions are valid if they are sincere. What all sincere objections are looking for is simple: the truth.
In this blog post (and the series of posts to follow) we will look at the over-arching context to some of the most objectionable issues that people have with Christianity. My hope is to introduce them as a way of bringing out what others are struggling with and to cause those who believe the tenants of the Christian faith (like I do, myself) to wrestle with these issues, research the answers, and find out what they believe and how to relate those beliefs with friends and loved ones who struggle to overcome each objection.
I am not a scholar or an apologist. I do not claim to be anything other than a follower of Christ who can appreciate other people’s sincere objections. I have the hope that those with honest questions will find Christians who will allow them to have their differing perspectives without trying to force them to believe immediately or be damned. In the end, I believe that questions are good and there are tough questions that some Christians (myself included probably) simply gloss over or address with simplified “Christianese” that needs further study and better answers. For example, you often hear Christians respond to tough questions with things like, ‘Well, God said it and that’s it. I just believe it’. I get that answer. I even agree with it on a certain level. I just struggle with it from the perspective of a person who doesn’t accept Christianity yet and hears an answer like that because it is not enough for them to change their mind. I think they are often right in not embracing our faith when answers like that are given. Sometimes (more often than not) a better answer is needed.
That being said, this series is not the correct format to give in-depth answers to some of these difficult questions and objections. Instead, it will simply introduce ideas but will not necessarily answer them in great detail. My ultimate hope in bringing out a conversation like this is that both Christians and non-Christians alike will be challenged to figure out what they believe about the issues at hand and will take the time to find out if the God that we read about in Scriptures is worth putting our full confidence and trust in or not. It is simply a matter of pursuing the truth and learning to defend what you believe about it.
Speaking of defending your position, let me introduce a word that will be used often in this series that may be new to some.
For those not familiar with this word, it is important that you understand it going into this. Apologetics is simply a word that means “defending what you believe”. It sounds kind of fancy, but this is the gist of it. When you are an apologist you do not simply go around saying, ‘I’m sorry…I’m sorry…I’m sorry’. That’s the wrong kind of apologist. A Christian apologist is one who attempts to give an explanation or defense for what they believe. Some of the best ones out there today are Ravi Zacharias and Dinesh D’Souza and I highly recommend you check them out as you begin your search for answers.
For many Christians today, we have turned the issue of defending our faith over to others – namely our pastors. We incorrectly say things like I just did a minute ago, ‘Hey, look, I’m not an expert and I don’t know very much about it.’ We pass the buck and find ourselves unfamiliar with the basic tenants of our faith and never make the effort to really explore these issues for ourselves. My hope, then, is that if that statement describes you that you will be challenged to find out more and explore the answers to what you are saying you believe.
If you will, you may just find yourself apologizing with a much deeper conviction than ever before.
Here are some of the objections that we will cover in this series:
- Nobody can know for certain that there is a God.
- The Creation story is not real and only evolution makes sense.
- The bible has too many errors and contradictions to be true.
- It is offensive and wrong to say that Jesus is the only way to get to heaven.
- If God is loving, then how can hell exist?
- If I just live a good life then that is enough.
- I don’t believe the bible because all Christians are hypocrites.
- Why is suffering allowed everyday if God loves everyone so much?
Consider this list of objections. How would you defend your position to an honest friend who struggled to believe what you believe when it comes to each issue presented? Like I mentioned earlier, these are tough but valid questions and deserve well-thought out answers and a gracious defense. Begin your study of these today and see where you stand on each one as we work our way through this series.