10 objections to
by Frank Harber
RECENTLY someone approached me with the following problem:
"Nobody can talk me out of being a Christian, but I can't talk anyone else into it. Can you help me?"
Perhaps she thought she was the only one struggling with this, but I've been asked this question hundreds of times. You see, I was once an atheist who set out to prove Christianity was untrue.
But during my investigation, I discovered overwhelming evidence that demonstrates the validity of Christianity. And because of a dedicated Christian who was prepared to answer my questions, my heart was reached.
Are you prepared to answer the spiritual seekers in your world? Are you wondering if Christianity's really true?
A hypocrite is an actor, a
person who pretends to be something he isn't. Jesus'
harshest words were reserved for hypocrites.
Although Christians can represent Jesus either poorly or well, the real question isn't whether there are hypocrites in the Church, but whether Jesus is a hypocrite.
The Bible, God's Word, presents Jesus as nothing less than perfect. Jesus' disciples testified that Jesus was without sin (1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5). Even Jesus himself challenged others to prove that he'd ever sinned (John 8:46).
Some blame Christianity for
religious wars, the Crusades, burning witches, the
Inquisition, slavery, even the Holocaust.
In reality, these people were Christian in name only. Focusing on their atrocities is a smoke screen to avoid the real issue.
than negative influences.
It's been instrumental in the formation of countless hospitals, schools, colleges, orphanages, relief agencies, and charity agencies. No other religion in history can compare.
Karl Marx, author of The
Communist Manifesto, said, "Religion is the opiate of the
masses." Critics such as Marx have charged . . .
Such individuals often claim to be "stronger" because they're brave enough to face life without a "crutch." To imply non-religious people don't need a crutch is misleading.
Dependence on drugs, alcohol, tobacco, sex, money, power, other people, and material possessions demonstrates some people's need for a crutch.
Rather than being weak, Christians are strong--not because they depend on themselves, but because they depend on Jesus. Everyone needs assistance.
The question is, what will you lean on? Christianity provides what atheism or other religions never can: spiritual fulfillment, peace, and forgiveness.
Jesus claimed he was the only way to God (John 14:6). Such a claim is either totally true or totally false.
then the issue is settled.
Some argue that even if a
person's religion is false, what really matters is that
she's sincere about being a good person.
One can be sincerely convinced of the truth--and be sincerely wrong. For example, many evil men such as Hitler were very sincere in their beliefs.
Such a question implies that God
lacks compassion because he's imposed his plan of salvation
Just as God sent the apostle Philip to the seeking Ethiopian (Acts 8:26-39),
Jesus promises all who seek will find. (Matthew 7:7-8)
Because the Bible is God's Word
and God cannot lie (Isaiah 55:10-11; John 17:17; Titus 1:2;
Hebrews 4:12), it's totally
Inerrancy isn't a theory about the Bible; it's the teaching of the Bible itself. What most people claim as errors in the Bible aren't errors but difficulties. People think they've stumbled upon apparent inconsistencies when they haven't taken the time to find out all the facts, or made an in-depth study of the passage.
Many Bible questions have been answered as new discoveries have been made in fields such as language, history, archeology, and other sciences.
The thrust of this charge is
that evil's presence disproves God's power. But is the
presence of evil consistent with the God of the Bible?
God hesitates to stop evil for an important reason. Just as parents often allow their children to make mistakes and suffer the consequences, God acts in a parental fashion with his creation.
But just as we don't yet have eternal bodies, evil has yet to be removed from the world.
Many hold that pain is evidence
against God's concern for humankind. However, pain can be
used for good and bad
Some suffering actually helps to bring greater good. This is best seen in Jesus' own suffering. Jesus traveled down the road of pain, loneliness, and death--a road that led to the cross. Jesus isn't just a Savior, he's our suffering Savior.
The cross is the ultimate example of innocent suffering. At the heart of this issue is the underlying challenge that God isn't fair.
To say God isn't fair is an extremely dangerous charge. If God gave us what we deserve, we'd be in trouble.
It would be foolish to ask God for justice; what we need is mercy. God's mercy and grace are so taken for granted that suffering and pain shock us.
God hates evil, and one day, evil will cease. While evil and suffering and pain are very real, they are also very temporary.
The day God deals with evil, he will deal with all evil. In the meantime, God strives for as many people as possible to accept Jesus' death and resurrection as payment for their sins, so they can live eternally with him.
For God to force people to go to heaven against their wishes wouldn't be heaven--it would be hell.
This article first appeared in On Mission (September/October 1999). Used by permission of the North American Mission Board, Alpharetta, Georgia. Frank Harber, evangelist-in-residence and professor of evangelism at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas, is author of Reasons for Believing (New Leaf Press)
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