As Keith and the Retrobots await a phone call, they enjoy a song. Requested by our number one fan, we listen to “Gold” by Nathan Caldwell.
Ideas for the podcast come from many sources. This one began by borrowing some honest questions that another blogger had asked on his web site. As he puts it:
Recently I challenged my friends and acquaintances, those who are skeptics, agnostics, non-religious and so on to raise their best questions regarding the Christian faith. I asked them to raise honest questions, questions that if answered would possibly clear the road for them to believe.
We avoided looking at his answers, so if we arrived at similar conclusions, it was done independently. , but check out the original blog article found at
Seven Honest Questions Regarding Christianity: A Challenge
For our purposes, as we try to stay cool on another hot summer day, the Retrobots, David and Callie ask us the questions.
Question One: If God made us who made God?
Both Nathan and Keith agree, the universe that we know is finite. It has a definite beginning in time, space, and matter. God is outside that realm, eternal. Though all we know has a cause, he is the infinite creator who has no cause. He created our universe, while being a creature outside of it. Similar to how a carpenter builds a box. He isn’t the box, or made from the same material. He existed before the box did, and continues to exists even after the box serves its purpose. Can he interact with the box, use the box, enjoy the box, fill the box, or empty the box? Yes, and god can do the same, but on a larger, and more intimate scale than any human carpenter.
Question Two: One question I can’t figure out is why do people pray? If God has a master plan for everyone, what good is praying for someone as that would only seem to be trying to change God’s mind regarding his divine plan?
We agree that God knows everything, but also point to the account in Exodus 34. To summarize, the people had made a golden calf to worship. God pointed it out to Moses, then went on to claim he would destroy the nation, and rebuild one out of Moses. Moses prayed, and God seemed to have changed his mind on the matter, allowing the nation to live. God certainly knew, and knows the future. His claim of destruction was for Moses behalf. God wanted to point out how horrible their sin was. They certainly deserved death. God is also all about grace, and Moses demonstrated god’s kind of grace for the undeserving people when he prayed for them. Through the instance, it was Moses who had a better understanding of who God is, and what he wants for his people.
Should we pray for the sick, those in financial need, or other dire circumstance? Yes. Just because God knows the outcome, and what he has in store, the process of the conversation of prayer will help us to understand that person’s emotions and struggle. They matter to God, and they should matter to us.
Question number Three: How is Christianity any different than the myths before it?
Though Nathan has some trouble in where this question is coming from, he makes an excellent point that nothing preceded it. There’s a timeline through the history of Israel that predicts, and leads right into the time of Christ. He also brings up the point that myths have no historical evidence, where Christianity has plenty of historic evidence to support the Bible accounts. Keith tries to explain what little he knows about the alleged myths. The real problem is a modern thought problem. It’s easy to look back over the centuries, and wonder over any similarities of long forgotten myths. In a recent podcast, hosted by J Warner Wallace, he makes the comment that though few today know about the myths, those gods were still actively worshipped in the time of Christ and the early church. If early Christians stole those myths, or set up meeting places in the temples and shrines to them, there would be public outcry. History has no evidence of any such claims or outcries, especially in the first 2 centuries, when people were still very active in worship of the mythological gods.
Question number Four: Every Christian must accept Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross in order to go to heaven. What about those people who have never heard of Jesus?
God knows the heart of every person. He knows who will believe, if only they heard the gospel. He knows the ones who won’t. If there was an unreached person, presumably in a foreign jungle somewhere, God is big enough that he would somehow place that tender heart in the path of a missionary. That’s not such a crazy idea.
There’s really an underlying question or two here. Ones that the asking person may or may not be aware of. Since Christ is the only way, many “good” people are being sent to hell. The answer is that God doesn’t send good people to eternal punishment. However, it might pay to use the right label, or definition of what “good” means. God’s definition may surprise you. Only a rare few can actually meet the standard of God’s demand for “good.” His demand is actually perfection. Fortunately, we don’t have to meet that moral standard because of the price Jesus paid. So salvation is less a moral perfection, and more about where you stand with Jesus. What about those remote people who have never heard the good news? God knows who might believe but we don’t. That’s why it’s important to pray, and go tell them.
The most important unspoken question here is this: Clearly you have heard about Jesus. What are you going to do about him? Take care of your own eternal needs first, then because your heart is broken for those remote people who haven’t heard… pray, and go tell them.
Question number Five: What about those dinosaurs? Seems to me that it would take a pretty sick sense of humor to stick a bunch of animal bones into the ground that “never existed.”
Why can’t science and Christianity coincide?
Isn’t it possible that human error occurred in the writing or, rewriting of translations of the original texts when speaking of creation and the age of the world?
Religion has always had political affiliations so isn’t it possible in the rewritings that the original message had been perverted or changed entirely to suit the needs of that government?
OK, there’s a lot here. Most Christians don’t dispute the existence of dinosaurs. They even seem to make an appearance in the Bible. The thing to remember is the Bible has never made a claim to be a science book. Where it overlaps in scientific areas, are usually to praise God for his amazing creation. Nathan and Keith never make it to the discussion of the old earth, or young earth debate, sorry,, maybe another day.
We have more to say on the matter of whether the hand written transcripts of the Bible have been perverted to suit the demands of political, or government agendas. Oddly enough, there’s just too much evidence that the writings are accurate, and come to us, despite any translation issues, just the way the original texts were.
Can religion be distorted, polluted, corrupted, and the like? Certainly. Several times, make that many times, religion has been corrupted through the influence of the culture. Or some political reason or other. But when it happens, it’s because the focus has been taken away from the scripture, and human agendas pushed in to distort religion.
The corrupt system collapses when people return to teachings from the scripture. Reformations become driven as believers casts off the corrupt ways. Believe it, or not, even social reforms like abolishing slavery in America came about due to religious practices returning to what scripture really says.
Question number Six: Why are some Christians hypocrites? They claim to go by Jesus’s saying “Judge not, Lest you be Judged” but then they turn around and start judging and condemning people like homosexuals saying they’re going to hell and all that stuff. I don’t agree with homosexuality, but I don’t like those “hypocritical Christians” telling me not to associate with them. I’m not gay but I have a lot of gay friends and I don’t want to give up their friendship.
We don’t disagree. Don’t give up your friends. Introduce them to Jesus, and let him do the rest.
The real issue here is less about hypocrisy, and more on the issue of tolerance. Jesus never condemned using judgement. It’s actually a virtue when done correctly. Grace may be the greater virtue though, when it comes to introducing the sinner to him. Speaking of sin, the Bible is very clear that practicing homosexuality, or any sexual act outside of marriage is sin.
When people demand tolerance, what they actually want is forgiveness, long suffering, or being long on allowance. We’re all for that, as long as it goes both ways. I’ll give you plenty of slack in dealing with your sin, if you give me the same allowances. There’s one more thing folks demand, claiming it to be under the banner of tolerance, and that is to be affirmed, or condoned. Now that crosses a line.
Condoning bad behavior is not the way. It only encourages to a person to be a better sinner. Even Jesus told the woman caught in the act of adultery: I forgive you. Go and sin no more.
Question number Seven: How do you deal with hypocrisy within Christianity itself without becoming disillusioned or cynical?
Christians don’t corner the market on hypocrites. There are in every walk of life and social group. How does anybody deal with people behaving badly, without becoming cynical? Pray, and make the effort to see them as the valuable, cherished people that God sees them.
Hypocracy, or christians behaving like the rest of the world, is the top reason people are turned off by the church. But if people are behaving poorly, where else can they hope to learn about good behavior, if not in the church? People are on different phases in their journey, and some have more to work on than others. We don’t condone the sin, or encourage it, instead we encourage overcoming, being restored, and helping others where possible. To do otherwise would be hypocritical to the faith.
The show is a little longer than expected, but the Retrobots help sign off with a bonus question, and a closing thought.
Though we tried to give an honest answer to each question, if you feel we sold one short, or didn’t give it proper attention, point it out, and we’ll gladly return to it.