“questions to ask yourself”
by Zhou (Chew) Hong Jie
Is it not foolish to close one’s eyes to the reality that much of the Christian faith is simply impossible to accept as fact? And is it not a fundamental error to base one’s life on theological concepts formulated centuries ago by relatively primitive men who believed that the world was flat, that Heaven was “up there” somewhere, and that the universe had been created and was controlled by a jingoistic and intemperate deity who would punish you forever if you did not behave exactly as instructed?
Some questions to put to yourself:
- Is it not likely that had you been born in Cairo you would be a muslim, and as 840 million people do, would believe that “there is no God but God and Muhammad is his prophet”?
- If you have been born in Calcutta would you not in all probability be a hindu and, as 650 million people do, accept the Vedas and the Upanishads as sacred scriptures and hope sometime in the future to dwell in Nirvana?
- Is it not probable that, had you been born in Jerusalem, you would be a Jew and, as some 13 million people do, believe that Yahweh is God and that the Torah is God’s Word?
- Is it not likely that had you been born in Peking, you would be one of the millions who accept the teachings of the Buddha or Confucius or Lao Tse and strive to follow their teachings and example?
- Is it not likely that you, the reader, are a christian because your parents were before you?
- If there is a loving god, why does he permit – much less create – earthquakes, droughts, floods, tornadoes, and other natural disasters which kill thousands of innocent men, women and children every year?
- How can a loving, omnipotent god permit – much less create – encephalitis, cerebral palsy, brain cancer, leprosy, Alzheimer’s, and other incurable illnesses to afflict millions of men, women, and children, most of whom are decent people?
- How could a loving heavenly father create an endless hell and, over the centuries, consign millions of people to it because they do not or cannot or will not accept certain religious beliefs? And, having done so, how could he torment them forever?
- Why are there literally hundreds of christian denominations and independent congregations, all of them basing their beliefs on the bible, and most of them convinced that all the others are, in some ways, wrong?
- If all christians worship the same god, why can they not put aside their theological differences and cooperate actively with one another?
- If god is a loving father, why does he so seldom answer his needy children’s prayers?
- How can one believe the biblical account of the creation of the world in six days when every eminent physicist agrees that all living species have evolved over millions of years from primitive beginnings?
- Is it possible for an intelligent man or woman to believe that god fashioned the first male human being from a handful of dust and the first woman from one of the man’s ribs?
- Is it possible to believe that the creator of the universe would personally impregnate a palestinian virgin in order to facilitate getting his son into the world as a man?
- The bible says that god is jealous. But if you are omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal, and the creator of all that exists, of whom could you possibly be jealous?
- Why, in a world filled with suffering and starvation, do christians spend millions on cathedrals and sanctuaries and relatively little on aid to the poor and the needy?
- Why does the omnipotent god, knowing that there are tens of thousands of men, women, and children starving to death in a parched land, simply let them waste away and die when all that is needed is rain?
- Why would the father of all mankind have a chosen people and favor them over the other nations of the earth?
- Why would a god who is “no respecter of persons” prohibit adultery and then bless, honor, and allow to prosper a king who had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines?
- Why is the largest christian church controlled entirely by men, with no woman – no matter how pious or gifted – permitted to become a priest, a monsignor, a bishop, an archbishop a cardinal, or pope?