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I’m willing to bet your story is very similar to mine. And the reason you’re reading this post is that you want to be able to answer the tough faith questions when your friends or family ask. You want to have an answer when skeptics and nonbelievers raise objections to your faith at work or even online.
In recent years, I’ve had many discussions with nonbelievers, skeptics, straight up atheists, and even other Christians who doubt the validity of the Bible. And those discussions always tended to end with a faith question or objection that I just could not answer.
And let me tell you, it’s not a good feeling!
My inability to answer these legit faith questions in a knowledgeable way probably only further convinced these individuals that their worldview was correct; that God does not exist, and the Bible is a fairy tale.
Boy, did I feel like I let God down. And even worse, at times these faith questions would even rock my own faith. Why did I not have answers to these questions?
And that is why I created My Humble Apology; to explore some of those challenging questions.
Below, I’m going to share 12 Challenging Faith Questions that you might hear from a skeptic. Following each question is my “apology” or defense against the objection. And along with each question, I’ve included links to some of the resources I used to help shape my response.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
12 Challenging Faith Questions Your Skeptic Friends Might Ask
1. Why would I become a Christian when Christians are hypocrites?
This objection to Christianity is just lazy in my opinion. Since when do we judge and dismiss an entire belief system or worldview solely based on the “failure” of some to practice it “properly”. And if you are a Christian, I’m sure you can guess why I have those two words in quotes.
The “hypocrites” objection to Christianity is a weak argument and an almost unfair question.
I found this post by 1-Minute Bible Love Notes that does a great job breaking down why deciding against becoming a Christian based on others’ display of faith is not logical. Here is a great quote from the article: Hypocrisy is a human problem, not a “Christian problem.”
Essentially, every religion, political group, organization, you name it, has a group of people that gives it a bad name.
The fact that there are some Christians that do a poor job representing the faith does not suddenly do away with the truth claims of the Bible. Their poor behavior does not define Christianity. Their hypocrisy is not enough to completely discredit the entire Christian worldview.
Not to mention the fact that Jesus died to save the unrighteous. Christians shouldn’t be perfect. Their imperfections are why they need Jesus.
2. What about the atrocities Christians have committed?
Much like the answer to number one, it would be unfair to blame human atrocities historically committed by Christians on the entire faith. That would just be irresponsible and again…lazy.
Humans are capable of some horrid things, and you can find these evils in every religious or people group throughout history. Evil is not bound to Christianity. Christians are people who struggle with sin just like everyone else. Some of us get it right, some of us get it wrong. But none of us gets it right all the time. That can be applied to anyone, not just Christians.
This article from Jesusisnotfakenews.com is a great resource to help tackle this faith question: https://jesusisnotfakenews.com/why-should-i-become-a-christian-when-theyve-done-horrible-things/
3. Isn’t Christianity just a crutch to make people feel better?
The word ‘crutch’ usually has a sort of negative connotation, right? If something is a ‘crutch’, that means it’s hindering you, holding you back, enabling your weakness.
But if we really pay attention to what a crutch is, it’s help! A crutch is literally an object that someone can use to help them walk. Now tell me, why in the world is that a bad thing?
The truth of Christianity is my help and comfort, and it is also true at the same time. And it’s a truth grounded in reason and evidence. Here is a helpful resource covering this faith question: https://www.zachariastrust.org/is-christianity-just-a-crutch
4. Isn’t being a good person all that really matters?
This is an innocent enough question. But my first follow up question would be: “What is your standard of good?”
There must be an objective moral standard that we all follow, whether we acknowledge it or not. Otherwise, how do we know what “good” is? Something that seems “good” to me, might not be “good” to you. So, who decides which person’s view of “good” is correct?
But, for argument’s sake, let’s just say Jane Doe is good all her life, but just does not believe in God. Isn’t that enough to get her pass the pearly gates? Well, first off, no one is truly, 100% good. That’s just the facts. Everyone sins in some capacity.
No one makes it to heaven for being “good”, because none of us meets God’s standard of good. The level of “good” required for heaven is high. That is why we need Jesus. By accepting Jesus as our Savior, we are covered, and it’s His goodness that goes before God in our stead.
So no, Jane Doe’s “goodness” does not meet the standards required for Heaven. Only Jesus meets those Holy standards. So without Jesus, you cannot make it to heaven.
5. What about those who’ve never heard about Jesus?
The Bible tells us that everyone will have the opportunity to choose truth. Let’s look at what scripture tells us:
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will comeMathew 24:14
So according to scripture, all nations will be reached before the end. However, I can understand the skeptics objection. How can we KNOW that every single individual will have the opportunity to receive the good news and have the choice to choose?
Well, for one, because scripture tells us that all nations will be reached. And God is able to do that because He is God.
But secondly, if you’re still doubting, take a look at this quote from John Piper:
“God always punishes people because of what they know and fail to believe. In other words, no one will be condemned for not believing in Jesus who has never heard of Jesus. Does that mean that people will be saved and go to heaven if they have never heard of Jesus? No, that is not what God tells us in the Bible.” – John Piper
God is just. That is part of his nature. And he will be sure to judge each of us accordingly.
6. But isn’t the Bible filled with errors and contradictions?
The Bible is God-breathed, and the authors of each book were inspired by God to know what to write.
However, the authors were still human, and moreover, the scribes who copied down the scriptures prior to modern technology were not perfect. We may find a handful of “clerical errors”, if you want to call them that. But, you will not find any major errors or contradictions in the Bible of any significant issue.
The core story of the Bible is not impacted by the minor clerical slip-ups one might find throughout the Word. When approached by someone with this faith question, it’s important to ask them to give a specific example. A lot of people will use this objection to Christianity not because they did their own research, but because they are merely repeating what they’ve heard others say.
There are different types of errors. Behthinking.org breaks down the different types of errors nicely in this post. But essentially, you have error in fact, verbal transmission, written transmission, and contradictions. And it’s important to take each “error” and handle them independently.
All in all, you will not find one error in the Bible that destroys the overall message. The writers of the Bible were still human, and after years and years of transmissions and translations, the Bible still holds its core message.
7. If God is so good, why is there evil?
Frank Turek, a great apologist of our day (his online debates and lectures are what sparked my interest in apologetics) put it this way: You can take rust out of a car, and still have a car. But you cannot take a car out of rust because there would be nothing.
In other words, good must exist first before evil can. But evil cannot exist independently of good. Without good, there would be no standard which to judge evil.
Now, the direct answer to this question is evil exists because God allows free will. And because we have the freedom to choose, we are free to reject God. And when we make that choice, we give ourselves over to the only alternative, which is evil.
“If evil is not an actual thing, then God cannot be the author of evil. God is the author of good, but we make moral choices that result in evil.” ~ Robert Velarde (https://www.focusonthefamily.com/faith/how-can-god-allow-so-much-evil-and-suffering/)
8. If there’s a hell, why would a loving God send people there?
In my opinion, this is probably the most difficult question of all the faith questions. And if I’m honest, I still struggle with this one, even as a believer.
But ultimately, Hell is a choice. People choose Hell when they don’t choose God, because apart from God, Hell is the only other choice. Harsh, yes. But truth is truth whether we like it or not.
Why not just wipe out everyone who is bound for hell? Well, God created us in His image. This means that our life, made in His likeness, is of high value to Him. So just wiping out everyone in the end is not an option for Him.
Why give us free will if He knew how it would end? Well, God respects human choice. He respects our free will so much, He is willing to give us up to our own desires if we wish, even if it’s not for our own good.
God is holy. We can’t fully understand what that means in our limited human capacity. But sin cannot exist in His full presence. And since we are only covered by the righteousness of Christ, if we reject Christ, we have nothing to cover and protect us from God’s holy fire.
In addition to the resource I list below, the book “The Reason for God” by Timothy Keller tackles this question well in chapter 5, titled “How Can a Loving God Send People to Hell”.
9. Why does the Bible condone genocide?
This is another big one that people get hung up on. So let’s take a closer look at a specific example in the Bible where God commands “genocide”.
The author of this article breaks down an example in the Bible where God instructs Joshua to “utterly destroy” a people group. And if we look at the context, the words “utterly destroy” might not mean what we think they mean.
He uses Joshua 11:21 (KJV) as an example:
And at that time came Joshua, and cut off the Anakims from the mountains, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the mountains of Judah, and from all the mountains of Israel: Joshua destroyed them utterly with their cities.
According to Joshua 11:21, the people were utterly destroyed. However, in Joshua 15:12-15, we learn the people were driven out. So, which is it? Utterly destroyed or driven out?
Uh oh…did we just find a Biblical discrepancy?!
No, we did not. Let’s dive in a little deeper.
In today’s world, this type of language used in Joshua to describe the dealings of war would be called hyperbole. A hyperbole is an exaggerated term not meant to be taken literally, as defined by dictionary.com.
We use hyperbole all the time. How often do you hear sports fans say things like, “Did you see the game last night? Team A completely demolished Team B!” But clearly, the world “demolish” is not meant to be taken literally.
I highly recommend you read the article that I share in this section. It brought me so much clarity. He shares so many biblical examples of this. This is why it’s so important to truly study the Bible to understand it, and not just read it on a surface level.
10. Does the Old Testament Endorse Slavery?
One of the best quotes I’ve seen tackle this faith question is: “Just because the Bible describes slavery and regulates the already existing institution doesn’t mean God thinks it’s ideal.”
If you read the old testament’s laws and regulations, you will see that God actually had protections and rights built into the “slavery” system of the time. The type of slavery allowed in the Bible was more a employer-to-employee relationship. It was certainly not the same type of slavery brought in through the Transatlantic slave trade.
Here is an example of what I mean by protections built in. Take Exodus 21:26-27 for example:
When a man strikes the eye of his slave, male or female, and destroys it, he shall let the slave go free because of his eye. If he knocks out the tooth of his slave, male or female, he shall let the slave go free because of his tooth.
The slavery that taints our American history was nothing like this. Masters were able to treat their slaves in any way they wished. There was no hope of receiving freedom, only a false hope. They were beaten, tortured, raped, and more, and there was no rule to grant them justice. But as you can see in the Bible, these “slaves” were allowed justice and even had laws to protect them.
Read here for more great examples like this one: https://crossexamined.org/does-the-bible-promote-slavery/
11. If God truly wants people to believe in him, why does he not simply show himself to them like he did to Paul?
Oh, let us dive into this question, shall we.
If you read the stories of the old testament, you will see that God showed Himself often to the Israelites. He showed Himself through miraculous signs. The Israelites heard God’s booming voice on Mount Sinai. Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy elders saw the glory of God on the mountain. God did so much for the Israelites, miracles that should have kept them believing for an eternity.
Not to mention God came down in the flesh and walked among us!
However, as we see, even after witnessing all that God showed to them, the Israelites still grumbled and complained. And in the wilderness, when Moses came back down from the mountain, the Israelites were worshipping a golden calf! After all that they saw God do, they still decided to turn from God and worship idols!
What does this tell us? It tells us that no matter what God does to show Himself to us, there will always be people who reject Him. The angels lived up in heaven with God, and still chose to reject Him and rebel!
History proves that simply revealing His glory to us is not enough.
12. If the bible has all the answers, why are there literally hundreds of Christian denominations that all think they alone are right and all the other Christians are wrong?
I dive into this topic a little more in my post I Can’t Believe There are This Many Christian Denominations. But essentially, the fact that there are 100s of denominations does not prove that God and the Bible are false.
It just proves that we are human, and none of us have ALL the answers.
The Bible is sufficient. But unfortunately, man takes their own interpretations of what it means instead of seeking understanding from God. Our own biases, interests, likes and dislikes can easily blind us from what the Word is saying. Not to mention that Satan is at large down here, and he is working hard to blind and deceive man.
And please note, not all denominational differences are heaven or hell issues. Some of them are just differences in style, priority, and preference.
I hope this post helped to answer some of your faith questions and helped you to see how you can answer your skeptic friends and family.
If you’re looking for additional resources, here are three books that have helped me with some of these questions:
(You can read my book review of Mere Christianity here!)
What challenging faith questions have you encountered? And how do you tackle those questions?
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