A printer-friendly version of this document is available here. (There is a very attractive PDF version of this document here, which requires some sort of PDF viewing software; you can get Adobe's Acrobat Reader here if it's not already installed on your computer.) Please see this page for information about this document and for other documents describing its context.
Presented to: ________________________
I come here to combat the fraud and illusion of your conventional, institutionalized religion. As with all such religions, your institution moves toward cowardice, it moves toward mediocrity, inertia, and self-satisfaction. —Frank Herbert, Children of Dune
If you're reading this paper, it means I've given it to you because you were proselytizing to me and you are a Christian. I'm giving you this paper to save us both some time; you see, I'm not a Christian, although I used to be. I'm a secular humanist, and I became one for both logical and emotive reasons.
Since I've been a Christian, I do know quite a bit about the religion, although I might not know much about your particular sect. (I use the word sect instead of the word denomination because I think it unfair that Christians get denominations, which is a nice-sounding word, while everyone else gets sects, which is an evil-sounding word.) I became a non-Christian because I didn't like what I knew about the Christian religion. If you want to even begin attempting to convert me, you have to settle those problems. Specifically, you have to answer the questions below. Answers to each question should be typed or neatly handwritten on a separate sheet (or sheets) of paper, and no answer should exceed 100 words. This is because one of the reasons I left Christianity is that it was so complex, and I've found that the simplest answer to a question is usually the right one. Quotes from scripture count for bonus points as long as you can refute other quotes from scripture that contradict the passage that you are quoting. If you return this paper to me personally, or if you mail it to me, and if I think that your answers justify my return to Christianity, then I will get in touch with you.
You should also read and study the attached papers, as you will be quizzed on them if I decide I like your answers to these questions; they describe, in part, my own religious beliefs, and I don't see why I should bother to learn about your religious beliefs if you won't take the time to learn about mine.
The questions follow. Under no circumstances will "The LORD works in mysterious ways" or other arguments in that vein be acceptable. If a question does not apply to your particular sect, explain why.
If necessary, use this space to explain any unique or unusual beliefs your sect has about the nature of your god, heaven, hell, the Bible, the Holy Spirit/Ghost, Satan, or other theological matters.
Explain why your god's only son had to die so we can go to magic happy land when we croak.
Did everyone who died before Jesus died go to Hell? Justify your answer.
If a Catholic, justify the Inquisition and other persecutions of "heretics" throughout the centuries, concentrating on why the Pelagianists, the Priscillianists, and the Manichaeans were persecuted; if a Protestant, justify the witch trials and the way that Protestants constantly hunted down native Americans until there were so few that the government could simply take their land; if a member of an Eastern Orthodox church, justify the persecutions of the Old Believers after the reforms of the seventeenth century.
Explain why your sect (whether Catholic, Protestant, or Eastern Orthodox) pursued, tortured, and killed people who were not Christian.
Explain why your sect (whether Catholic, Protestant, or Eastern Orthodox) pursued, tortured, and killed people who were not members of your particular sect.
Explain why I should believe that your god is all-good when the only real information we have about him is the Bible, which clearly describes him as both good and evil. (See Isaiah 30:32, Luke 14:26, Numbers 31:17-18, Matthew 10:34, Amos 3:6, Deuteronomy 18:8, Deuteronomy 20:16, Exodus 20:5, Exodus 32:27, Isaiah 45:7, Psalms 52:5, Luke 22:36, and Jeremiah 18:11 for a small sample of Biblical passages which describe Jehovah as having an evil morality at times).
Explain why, when racism is clearly wrong, Jesus was clearly a racist (see Mark 7:25-29). NOTE: under no circumstances will I believe that racism is morally acceptable.
Explain why, when discrimination against women is clearly wrong, the Bible clearly supports the oppression of women. Answering this question entails refuting 1 Cor 11 and 1 Tim 2:11-15. NOTE: under no circumstances will I believe that discrimination against women solely on the basis of sex is morally acceptable.
Explain why, when slavery is clearly wrong, the Bible clearly supports slavery. Answering this question entails refuting 1 Peter 2:18. NOTE: under no circumstances will I believe that slavery is an acceptable way to structure an economy.
Explain why children should submit to their parents' decisions even when those decisions are clearly evil. Answering this question entails refuting Deuteronomy 21:18-21, Proverbs 13:24, and Hebrews 12:7-8.
Explain why, if your god loves us all, more than half of us are going to Hell after we die. Specifically, refute or explain the following words of Christ, as presented in the New Testament: "Many are called but few are chosen," and "Straight is the gate, and narrow is the way that leadeth unto salvation, and few there be that find it." If your god loves all of us, couldn't he find a better way?
Explain what type of offense could possibly justify eternal, unbearable torture in Hell; if your sect does not believe in Hell, then refute every passage in the Old and New Testaments which describes Hell (such as 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 and Revelation 20:15). (Do not exceed 100 words.)
Explain how your god can be both just and merciful, when these terms apparently contradict each other.
Explain why possession by demons and/or other evil spirits was common during the time of Jesus, but hardly mentioned at all in the Old Testament, and apparently has been explained completely away today by things such as epilepsy and schizophrenia.
Explain why, if the personality resides in the soul, things like drugs and brain damage can affect someone's personality.
If heaven is a place where everyone is perfectly happy, then explain how I could be happy in heaven if I had loved ones in Hell.
What is Heaven like?
What is Hell like?
Explain why original sin exists. Why should I be eternally tortured for something that a pair of naked fruit-munching simpletons did in a garden over six thousand years ago? If you believe that children are born stained because they were conceived sexually, explain why I would be punished for something my parents did by your merciful and just god. If this does not apply to your sect, explain why.
Explain why getting dunked in or sprinkled with water will prevent me from being eternally tortured for the actions of the naked fruit-munching simpletons mentioned in #19.
If your god did not want Adam and Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, why did he put the tree in the garden of Eden (and at the center, no less)? Was it for shade? If so, why use something so dangerous as a shade tree? If the purpose of the tree was to tempt Adam and Eve, explain why it's OK for your god to engage in a practice that our modern-day courts of law refer to as "entrapment."
Explain why sex, potentially one of the most wonderful, beautiful things in human nature, is considered "bad" by your particular sect. If your sect does not consider sex to be "bad," then refute Matthew 19:12, 1 Corinthians 7 (particularly verses 1 and 9), Galatians 5:17, 1 Thessalonians 4:3, James 1:14-15, Matthew 24:38, Luke 17:27, and Revelation 14:4.
Explain why, if Jesus was perfect, he thought that the end of the world was coming soon, when it has clearly not come yet. (See Matthew 16:27-28.)
Explain why some people (James, Peter, Paul, Thomas, etc.) should get convincing physical proof of miracles, while the rest of us are supposed to take these happenings on faith.
Why are the stories of the crucifixion and resurrection inconsistent?
If you are a Protestant or a member of an Eastern Orthodox church, explain why you are still using the Catholic Bible, which was formalized by a vote among (supposedly divinely inspired) cardinals and bishops in the fourth century CE, when you disagree with the idea that the Pope, who is higher in the Catholic hierarchy, is divinely inspired; if a Catholic, explain why your church accepts the canonical Bible while rejecting the Apocrypha. (Do not use the "divinely inspired" argument: Because I am not religious, I do not give it the credence that you do).
If your god is kind and gentle, why do some animals have to eat meat?
If your god is kind and gentle, why did he create parasites?
If your god wants us to worship him through our own free will, why does he threaten us with Hell? (The most common claim that Christians make involving God's motivation for desiring worship is that he desires worship springing from the pure love of the worshipper. Doesn't his threat of Hell mean that a large number of worshippers worship him out of purely selfish motives?)
Why would your god deliberately cause sinners to sin? (See Romans 9:15-23 and numerous parts of the book of Exodus where Jehovah says, "I will harden Pharaoh's heart.") Are these sinners still responsible for the sins which your god forces them, against their will, to commit? Justify your answer.
If Jesus did have to die, why did someone (specifically, Judas) have to be damned in order accomplish the death and resurrection of Jesus? (Jesus was at least a volunteer for the cross; I doubt that your god asked Judas if he was willing to go to Hell so that the resurrection could be accomplished.)
If Judas was willing to go to Hell for humanity (see #31), didn't he make more of a sacrifice than Jesus, who spent only three hours in pain? Shouldn't we then be worshipping Judas?
Why should we accept the words of the gospel writers as truth when they are known to be liars? (See Romans 3:7.)
Do you believe that your god is anti-homosexual? If so, explain why he would create homosexuals in the first place. If not, refute or explain away Leviticus 20:13 and Romans 1:26-27.
Explain why prayer is OK, but spell casting is not, when both amount to the same thing: requesting that a superior supernatural force to intercede in a way that would be impossible according to the normally accepted laws of physics.
According to the Gospels, from the Christian standpoint, Jesus was the most important person to ever live. From the Roman standpoint, Jesus was a huge pain in the ass because of his political activities. Explain why nothing was written about his life for over thirty years after his death, and nothing except the Gospels was written until the third century CE.
Explain why you believe a person whose life is so poorly documented (see #36) was even ever born.
Define the word "Christ," including references to the pagan origins and meaning of the word.
Explain why Jesus, who was anti-Gentile (see Mark 7:25-29) and anti-sex (see Luke 14:26 and Matthew 19:12), would want to be anointed with oil in a pagan sexual rite after his death (see your definition for #38).
In light of Matthew 10:34, explain why Jesus is called "the Prince of Peace."
The name "Jesus" has been anglicized. What was the original (Hebrew) name of Jesus? Where did you get this information? This is a bonus question.
If your god requires that people believe in him and follow his orders through their own free will, why do Christians push their views on public policy?
Explain why being a good Christian requires you to push your beliefs on others. If you do not believe that you have to push your views on others (no matter how much this annoys them), explain why you do not believe this despite the fact that the New Testament seems to suggest that you must do this to get to Heaven (for instance, in Matthew 28:19-20).
Explain why spreading the "truth of Christ" requires you to spread lies about other religions, such as the idea that Wiccans (so-called "white witches") worship the Christian devil. (Incidentally, they don't, and this rumor has been persistently spread by Christians since the second century CE).
At no point in the four Gospels did Jesus claim to be the son of your god. (He said "son of man" quite frequently, and at one point referred to himself as "a son of god," but that was a common Hebrew expression at the time. Someone who was "a son of god" was a Jew. This reflected the Israelites' belief that they were the chosen people of your god. See also Job 1:6). Why, then, do you believe that Jesus was divine? If you don't believe that Jesus was divine, then why do you call yourself a Christian?
Given the fact that Jesus did not say anything original (the Golden Rule and the "turn the other cheek" idea were plagiarized from Buddhism; and the Beatitudes were common in the Jewish devotional literature at the time), why do you see Jesus as such a great thinker/philosopher/ethicist?
When Jesus said, "Resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also," why do you suppose that most Christians fight for their rights? To put it another way, why don't we, as a country whose population is 85% Christian, let the government abuse us?
Why are so many Christian holidays on the same day as Pagan holidays? Couldn't the early Church fathers have converted pagans only by appealing to their reason and/or faith if Christianity really is the true religion?
Explain how your god can be "just and merciful" in light of Exodus 20:5.
Do you believe that the Old Testament should be accepted as part of Christian theology? If so, explain how you can worship such a cruel, sadistic asshole (see Numbers 31:17-18, Deuteronomy 20:16, Proverbs 20:30, Amos 3:6, Deuteronomy 13:8, Psalms 3:7, Psalms 52:5, etc.); if not, explain how you can believe that Jesus is the promised savior sent by your god without the messianic prophecies and the ruling rights of the line of David, both of which are in the Old Testament in books such as Isaiah, Zechariah, Daniel, Psalms, etc. (as opposed to, say, believing that Jesus was an irritating nut wandering around saying things that people didn't like much).
Explain why your "just and merciful" god sent bears to kill forty-two children who called his prophet Elisha "baldhead." (See 2 Kings 2:23-24).
If prostitution is wrong, why are there so many examples of it in Genesis? (For instance, Gen 19:8, where Lot offers his daughters to a mob so that his guests can avoid gang rape).
What is the sin that people committed that is so incredibly bad that your god had to become flesh and die to correct?
Are all members of other faiths bad? Are they all damned to Hell? Justify your answer with quotes from the Bible.
Are all atheists/agnostics/humanists/heathens bad? Are they all damned to Hell? Justify your answer with quotes from the Bible.
What was your motive in proselytizing to me?
Where is Heaven?
Where is Hell?
Why don't animals go to heaven or hell when they die? What makes us so special?
Why does Satan try to get peoples' souls?
Once Satan has someone's soul, what does he do with it?
Is your god perfect? Justify your answer.
Where does our soul stay while we are alive?
Explain how you can believe in Satan when your faith is directly descended from the Jewish faith, when the Jews did not even believe in Satan until they absorbed the Egyptian god Set while they were captives in Egypt.
Why do evil people often prosper? Justify your answer.
Why do good people so often fail to prosper? Justify your answer.
When the end of the world comes, will your god raise our actual bodies, or just our souls? Explain.
Explain why your god lets airplanes with sinless infants on board crash.
What is sin, exactly?
If Jesus is perfect, justify the parable of the fig tree (Matthew 21:17-19, Mark 11:14-20).
Explain why Christians have harassed Wiccans ("white witches") for almost two thousand years now, when the central rule of the Wiccan ethical system is "an it harm no one, do what thou wilt."
Explain why Christians (yes, that includes all branches of Christianity) have spread the lie that Jews put Jesus to death when, in actuality, it was the Romans who put Jesus to death. (For a good example of New Testament anti-semetism, see 1 Thessalonians 2:15).
Explain why your god created humans as imperfect, then set his standards so high that no one could possibly live up to them, then punishes us for not living up to his standards. Doesn't this also constitute "entrapment"?
If we are created in your god's image and likeness (Gen 1:27), how can we also be imperfect?
Why was it OK for the ancient Israelites to sacrifice animals to their god, while it is wrong for modern religions to sacrifice animals to their gods? Justify your answer.
Why would your god confuse people? (See 1 Sam 7:10 and Gen 11:9). Isn't life confusing enough already?
Why would your god cause blindness, deafness, and dumbness? (See Ex 4:11)
Why would your god want to damn people by making them believe false things? (See 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12).
Should the book of Revelation be taken literally? If not, how should it be taken? Explain and justify your answer.
Would it be good for men to castrate themselves? Justify your answer, taking Matthew 19:12 into account.
What exactly is faith?
All of the various Christian sects ignore parts of the Bible, usually because those parts of the Bible are inconvenient. Explain which parts of the Bible your sect ignores, and explain why it is OK to ignore those parts of the Bible.
Why did your god allow Satan to do evil things to Job (Job 2:7 etc.)? Wouldn't your god better spend his time punishing unbelievers?
If Jesus and his father are one (John 10:30), then why does Jesus have to pray (i.e. Matthew 26:39)?
Explain your belief in heaven in light of Job 7:9 and Ecclesiastes 9:5.
Christ giving himself up on the cross was a great gesture, true, but wouldn't it have been more sensible for him to continue spreading his message until he died a less painful death? Answer this question in light of your answer to question #1.
What is your interpretation of the significance of the temptation of Christ by Satan in the desert (Matthew 4:5-8, Luke 4:5-9)?
In view of Matthew 6:5-6, shouldn't prayer in public schools be discouraged? Support your answer with scripture quotes.
Do you feel that the last words of Christ before his death were significant? If so, why do the four gospels attribute three different sentences to Christ as his last? (Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34: "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?"; Luke 23:46: "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit"; John 19:30: "It is finished").
Matthew and Mark say that the last words of Christ were, in Hebrew, El(o)i, El(o)i, lama sabachthani? This has traditionally been translated as, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" However, a more accurate translation would be, "My El, My El, why has thou forsaken me?" El is the name of a specific pagan god. Why would Jesus call out to a pagan god at the moment of his death?
A commonly recited litany in many forms of Christianity is "The LORD is my shepherd." (Psalm 23:1). Given the fact that the only reasons that people raise sheep are to rob them of their clothes and to kill them for meat, and the fact that sheep will often follow the shepherd to their destruction, do you think that this is any appropriate image for your god? Justify your answer.
Why is the theory of the big bang any more (or less) likely that the idea that your god created the universe? Justify your answer.
It is commonly asserted that the Christian god is everywhere at the same time, i.e. omnipresent. If hell is the absence of (or separation from) your god, how is this possible?
In the Genesis story, your god tells Adam and Eve that the day they eat from the tree of knowledge they will surely die (Gen 2:17). The devil tells them that they will not die, but that their eyes would be opened and they would know the difference between good and evil (Gen 3:5). Wasn't Satan telling the truth here? Is your god a liar? Justify your answer in light of Jeremiah 20:7 and Ezekiel 14:9.
If Lucifer is not as powerful as your god, then he cannot possibly be omnipresent. How could he possibly get as many followers as you seem to think he has?
The Bible constantly describes your god as male. In view of the fact that your god supposedly created everything, and creation is very much a female function, isn't this at least a little bit absurd? Justify your answer.
In light of the Trinity, angels, the Virgin Mary, etc., isn't Christianity polytheistic? If the Trinity is three who are one, why the three names? Justify your answer.
Have you read the entire Bible? If not, how can you be devoted enough to try and convert me to a religion that you don't know that much about? Isn't knowing as much as possible about something necessary to understanding it? Isn't understanding something necessary to being completely devoted to it?
Why is 2 Kings 19 exactly identical to Isaiah 37?
Is Jesus's three days in Hell really an ultimate sacrifice, when more than half of humanity going to spend eternity there? (See #11)
If your sect considers the King James Bible to be the official and/or authoritative translation, justify this in light of the fact that when King James commissioned his translation to be poetic rather than accurate. How can you possibly use an inaccurate translation as your reference for what is/is not the word of your god? If your sect does not use the King James Bible, what translation do they use? Justify the use of that particular translation.
Assume that I do not believe that Jesus died for my sins, or that if he did, that necessarily means I will go to your heaven. Name one thing that Jesus ever did for me.
Before Mary was knocked up by the Holy Spirit/Ghost, she was never asked for her consent. (She was warned; see Luke 1:31). Mary was also asleep when your god knocked her up; this strongly suggests that he didn't want her to protest. Does this mean that Mary was raped by your god? Do you think rape is wrong? Explain.
According to Luke, Mary knew that she was pregnant with the Messiah. Living in the times she lived in, she must have known the scripture; therefore, she must have known that he would have to suffer horribly during his life. Was it moral for Mary to carry her baby to term, or would it have been more humane for her to have an abortion? Explain.
If it was foretold that Jesus was to be crucified, and if he knew that this had been foretold and that it was necessary to the mechanism of the future redemption of sinners, and if he was the son of/identical with your god (and, therefore, presumably wanted sinners to be redeemed), why did he do everything he could to avoid being crucified? (See, for instance, Matthew 26:39).
If the Holy Spirit/Ghost is the father of Jesus (Luke 1:35), then why is the central figure of your trinity called "God the Father"?
Mary and Jehovah were never joined in wedlock. Does it bother you that Jesus is technically a bastard? How do you feel, in general, about sexual activity outside of marriage?
The original Hebrew word for the Holy Ghost/Spirit grammatically implies that the Holy Spirit/Ghost is female in gender. Isn't this rather silly when you consider the fact that the Holy Ghost/Spirit is actually the father of Jesus (Luke 1:35)?
Matthew 28:11-15 contains an account of a conspiracy between the Jews and the Roman soldiers to spread the story that the disciples stole the body of Christ. How could Matthew have known about this, since no Jews or Romans would have admitted to it? If it was such a transparent conspiracy that an outsider could have seen it, why didn't the other three gospels mention it? Why didn't the Roman soldiers get into trouble?
Most Jews seem to believe that people are basically good people and can work to overcome their sinful tendencies. Most Christian sects, following the teaching of Psalms 51:5, 1 Kings 8:46, Ezekiel 18:4, Isaiah 59:2, and Psalm 143:2, believe that people are completely debased and hopelessly lost in sin, and that only your god can lift us out of this state if he decides to bestow his gift of grace on us. Isn't this an incredibly negative view of people? Isn't Judaism a more mature faith just for this reason?
How do you, as an individual, feel about Psalm 51:5 and similar passages?
What does your sect teach about Psalm 51:5 (and 1 Kings 8:46, etc.), predestination, and similar matters?
Don't you think that the idea that, no matter what we do, we can never be good and righteous without help from your god (Isaiah 64:6) fosters an unnatural and unhealthy dependency on him?
Revelation 22:16 says that Jesus is the "offspring of David." Mary was not descended from David, but Joseph was. Doesn't this mean that Jesus wasn't the son of your god at all, but the (mortal and not divine) son of Joseph?
What would the correct thing to do be if your god gave you a command that was harmful and/or destructive to you? (A common argument, which has its source in Paul's writings, states that because clay pots don't complain about what the potter does with them, people shouldn't complain about what their maker - supposedly, your god - does with them, but this completely ignores the vitally important argument that clay pots have no sense of self-awareness and cannot think or feel love, pain, anger, etc. If you want to make this argument, you have to deal with this difference.)
What (or who) does your sect believe the number 666 represents? Justify your answer.
If your god is "just and merciful," why would he take Solomon's kingdom away from Solomon's son while not punishing Solomon, when it was Solomon himself who committed the sin of idolatry? What did Solomon's son do to deserve punishment? (See 1 Kings 11:12).
Why is Solomon commonly considered to be the paragon of wisdom by many Christians, when he constantly sinned against your god (1 Kings 11:4-10, etc.)? Personally, if I had a god talking to me, I'd do what he said.
Don't you think that an anti-sex position (see #22) is a rather silly position for your sect to take when the biblical book "Song of Solomon" is a piece of erotic poetry? (For instance, in Song of Solomon 8:2, the bride asks the bridegroom to "drink of spiced wine of the juice of the pomegranate." The pomegranate was a symbol of the female genitalia, and the "spiced wine" represented menstrual blood.)
Does it bother you that the cross, supposedly a Christian symbol, was actually stolen from the Egyptians? Why or why not? (The Egyptian cross, the ankh, was a male-female symbol similar in concept to the yin-yang. When the Christians stole the ankh from the Egyptians, they removed the female symbol, or yoni, leaving only the masculine symbol - a subtle way of reinforcing the idea that women are lesser beings).
How do you explain that Christians are twice as likely to have sadomasochistic tendencies as non-christians?
What is the incredibly important doctrinal difference that requires the fighting between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland?
Even if your god did create the universe, why does he want to be worshipped? Is your god an egomaniac?
What are your beliefs concerning Wicca? (Wicca is sometimes referred to as "white witchcraft.") How much do you know about Wicca?
What do you think the word "Satanist" means?
How do you explain the fact that the word "blood" occurs about 400 times in the Bible, depending upon the translation? Isn't this a rather savage and barbaric way to write a book that is supposed to be at the center of an ethical system?
Throughout the Bible, your god commands his followers to wage merciless war on unbelievers (Luke 22:36, Deuteronomy 13:8, Exodus 20:23-25, Deuteronomy 20:16, Matthew 10:34, Numbers 31:17-18, etc). If you are one of his followers, why are you sitting at your desk writing instead of out waging merciless war on unbelievers?
Numbers 23:21 says that your god "has not seen wickedness in Israel." If this is so, explain why your god burned Israelites for complaining (Num 11:1), why he sent a plague against them for eating the meat he had given them (Num 11:33), why he burned people for using incense (Num 16:35), why he sent a plague against the Israelites who accused Moses of wrongdoing (Num 16:44-49), and why he sent fiery snakes among the Israelites (Num 21:5). Is your god a liar, or was it just more convenient for him to lie at that particular place and time, or what?
What was it that was so bad about eating an apple that death had to result from that act?
What was it about humanity's torturing and killing of your god's only son that made your god so happy that he again promised eternal life to everyone who believed in him?
How do you explain the fact that Matthew and Luke give different genealogies for Jesus?
Matthew says that the prophecy given in Matthew 27:9 was given by Jeremiah. How do you explain that this prophecy was not given by Jeremiah at all, but by Zechariah (in Zech 11:12)?
Matthew says (in Matt 2:21) that Jesus dealt in Nazareth so that he could fulfill a prophecy stating that the Messiah would be called a Nazarene. Where is this prophecy in the Old Testament?
Matthew says that on the triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Jesus was riding on an ass and a colt (Matt 21:7) How do you explain that the original prophecy (Zech 9:9) stated that Jesus would be riding on only one ass, and the other gospel writers place Jesus only on one ass (Mark 11:7, Luke 19:35, and John 12:15)?
In Matthew 1:23, Matthew has the angel say that Jesus would be born of a virgin. However, the prophecy that Matthew is referring to, Isaiah 7:14, uses the Hebrew word almah, which simply refers to a "young woman." It has nothing to do with sexual experience; the Hebrew word for "virgin" is bethulah. How do you explain this?
Isaiah 7:16 seems to say that before Jesus had reached the age of maturity, both of the Jewish countries would be destroyed. Where is the fulfillment of this prophecy in the New Testament?
Matthew 1:23 says that Jesus would be called "Immanuel," which means "God with us." Why does no one (not even Mary and Joseph, who would be expected to be familiar with this prophecy/command) call him "Immanuel" at any point in the New Testament?
How many inconsistencies in the Bible, other than those mentioned in this paper, do you know of? Cite chapter and verse for as many as you have room for.
If even the contemplation of sinning is a sin (i.e. "sinning in your heart"; see, for example, Matthew 5:28) and if Jesus was tempted by Satan in the desert (Matthew 4:5-8, Luke 4:5-9), how can you say that Jesus was without sin?
Does your sect believe that the existence of your god can be established through a formal proof? Why or why not?
Pick a famous argument for the existence of your god, then criticize that argument. (Assume I mean for you to use the academic definition of the word criticize).
Pick an argument against the existence of your god. If it is not a famous argument, copy it down here. Criticize this argument. (Assume I mean for you to use the academic definition of the word criticize).
What does your sect think of the government? Read Paul's letter to the Romans, chapter 13. Now what do you think of the government? If necessary, reconcile the two views.
What is your definition of the word Christian?
Why do you think it is that the ancient Greeks, who had a very liberal sexual morality, had many fewer sex crimes (compared to the population) than the United States, which is 85% Christian?
If someone accepts Jesus, and is "saved," but then turns away from Jesus, is that person still saved?
Where did your god come from?
What are the requirements for being saved? Some sects says that faith alone is enough; others say that faith without works is dead. The Bible supports both of these viewpoints. What does your sect think?
If I decide I like the answers to the above questions, where can I get in touch with you? (Give name, address, phone and email if available).
What is the name of your sect?
How is your sect organized?
How can I get in touch with a priest (minister, etc.) of your sect?
The priestly type… of man has a life interest in making mankind sick and in so twisting the concepts of good and evil, true and false, as to imperil life and slander the world. —Friederich Nietzsche, The Antichrist (trans. W. Kaufmann)
You, bursting with holiness,
And yet you never preach! Astonishing
I call it… —Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac
Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,
Whiles, like a puffed and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads
And recks not his own rede. —William Shakespeare, Hamlet
There were people out there tonight telling you that [God and] they love you. If they love you so much, where have they been all your lives? Thank you for coming to our church tonight. —Marilyn Manson, concert in Salem, OR 1/19/97
Eternal damnation. What a cruel hoax your priests have inflicted on your people. Souls change. Only God is eternal- and what kind of God would damn any created thing eternally? What sin could possibly be so great? —A. A. Attanasio, The Dragon and the Unicorn
I'm going to rub your faces in things you try to avoid. I don't find it strange that all you want to believe in is only that which comforts you. How else do humans invent the traps which betray us into mediocrity? How else do we define cowardice? —Frank Herbert, Children of Dune
Return your answers to these questions to:
City, State, Zip:
Go back to the home page for the Heirophant's Proselytizer Questionnaire.