Thursday, August 07, 2008

Some questions for moderate believers

From the Celtic Chimp. My comments in red.

Here are some questions then for moderate believers.

1. Do you think the bible is the inerrant word of God? If not, why not?

No, simply because Jesus Christ is the inerrant word of God. Treating the Bible this way is a Protestant innovation, by and large.

2. If you answered no to question 1, why do you think that a) it is reasonable to believe that a man wielded magical powers and b) rose from the dead and c) was a god and a man at the same time; I am assuming that you do not generally believe in these things. What is it about the Jesus case that is so compelling as to make believing the impossible reasonable?

a) I don't think Jesus did anything which isn't (in principle) available to the rest of us to do.
b) I think i) the historical evidence is robust, and ii) science doesn't have anything to say about it.
c) My understanding of God (and man!) is different to yours.

3. Why does God command and condone evil acts in the bible (genocide, Rape, slavery etc.) if he is good?

i) God is beyond good and evil, so my basic answer is 'I don't know'
ii) Some of what is predicated of God is a projection of local culture
iii) Some of what is predicated of God is about obedience or something else (Abraham and Isaac)

4. Why is it not more reasonable to assume that God is evil given his rampage of destruction throughout the O.T?

It's all in how you read the OT. I read it as the story of a people discovering that YHWH wasn't the bloodthirsty tribal God that they thought he was.

5. In what way would an evil God have acted differently and can you imagine a way in which God might have acted more morally at any point in the O.T.?

I have no view on the latter part, but on the former part - he would have resembled the Baals and the Molochs.

6. Why is Jesus’ character so different from the God of the O.T. if they are (inexplicably) the same person?

Technically that's Marcionism. The whole point of Christianity is that Jesus is NOT different to the God of the OT.

8. Is it conceivable to you that Christianity might not actually be true (in the sense that Jesus might just have been an irregular Joe.)?

Yes. It's perfectly conceivable that the resurrection didn't happen.

9. When considering the idea that there is no God, is your reaction one of distaste or disagreement and could you be happy living in a universe where there was no God?

More disagreement; specifically a sense that it was an incoherent perspective. I wouldn't know what to do with various things that I understand about the world (eg how to link together justice, integrity, knowledge and so on).

10. Why do you think (assuming you do) that Mohammed was not in direct contact with God (Allah)? There is a holy book and many witnesses who profess he was. If you are willing to believe such things are possible, why do you not believe this?

Mohammed was a completely different character to Jesus. He was more like Napoleon.

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