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Answering Tough Questions

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Title: When We Really Worship Isaiah 6:1-8 Author: NOBTS Last modified by: Robert Stewart Created Date: 5/17/2009 1:07:53 AM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Answering Tough Questions


1
Answering Tough Questions
2
The first thing to do when confronted with a
tough question is to step back and ask yourself
some questions about the question.
3
Questions to Ask
  • Is this a sincere or a rhetorical question?

4
(No Transcript)
5
This shows us that questions and statements are
to some degree transposableone can be made into
the other. So the principles from this lecture
apply also to objections that people have to
Christianity.
6
Questions to Ask
  • Is this a sincere or a rhetorical question?
  • What type of question is this?

7
Types of Tough Questions
  • Biblical
  • Theological
  • Historical
  • Philosophical/Logical
  • Scientific
  • Ethical
  • Existential

8
These types of questions are not mutually
exclusive. Questions may be biblical AND
scientific or theological AND ethical, etc.
9
Questions to Ask
  • Is this a sincere or a rhetorical question?
  • What type of question is this?
  • What is this question actually asking?

10
Its important to know what is really being
asked. Sometimes people are not clear in their
languageor their answers. Clarity helps us
understand what others are sayingand helps
others understand what we are saying.
11
Questions to Ask
  • Is this a sincere or a rhetorical question?
  • What type of question is this?
  • What is this question asking?
  • What does this question presuppose?

12
Often people presuppose something in a question.
It is helpful to youand themto reveal what they
are presupposing. It may not be evident, or it
may not be trueor reasonableto presuppose it.
13
Oftentimes people presuppose the burden of proof
is on someone else. For instance, people
frequently presuppose that for an argument for
Gods existence to be sound it must be impossible
to deny it. This is raising the bar to an
absurdly high level.
14
Similarly, people sometimes assume that in order
to commit themselves to Jesus Christ they must
have 100 certainty. After all, were talking
about a radically existential commitment. But we
make radical commitments all the time without
100 certainty.
15
Questions to Ask
  • Is this a sincere or a rhetorical question?
  • What type of question is this?
  • What is this question asking?
  • What does this question presuppose?
  • Does this get the facts right?

16
Of the 5,000 early early manuscript versions of
the New Testament, not one predates the fourth
century. The New Testament as it exists today is
essentially a product of fourth-century editors
and writerscustodians of orthodoxy, adherents
of the message, with vested interests to
protect. Holy Blood, Holy Grail-
Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and
Henry Lincoln
17
Questions to Ask
  • Is this a sincere or a rhetorical question?
  • What type of question is this?
  • What is this question asking?
  • What does this question presuppose?
  • Does this get the facts right?
  • Is this question logical?

18
Questions to Ask
  • Is this a sincere or a rhetorical question?
  • What type of question is this?
  • What is this question asking?
  • What does this question presuppose?
  • Is this question logical?
  • What follows from this question?

19
It often helps to point out to people what
logically follows from believing something. Often
we dont believe what logically follows from
believing something. When thats the case, we
shouldnt hold the original belief either.
20
For instance, determinism logically follows from
affirming materialism (that only material
realities exist). But this implies that we are
not free, or rational. And if we are not free or
rational, then how can we believe in morality?
21
Questions to Ask
  • Is this a sincere or a rhetorical question?
  • What type of question is this?
  • What is this question asking?
  • What does this question presuppose?
  • Does this get the facts right?
  • Is this question logical?
  • What follows from this question?
  • What is at stake with this question?

22
Sometimes people put a great deal of weight on an
issue that is not fundamental to the Gospel. It
may be an acceptable interpretation of Scripture
but not the only way of understanding a passage
or a doctrine that may or may not be believed by
an orthodox Christian.
23
Biblical Questions
  • Questions about the Bible can come in various
    forms. A person might question its textual
    reliability, or insist that the Bible is an
    example of an ancient myth, or have problems with
    miracles, or pit one part of the Bible against
    another, or its canon (why not the Book of Mormon
    or Gospel of Judas?), or some such thing.

24
Example
  • Didnt Jesus say that the mustard seed is the
    smallest of all seeds? But modern science tells
    us that thats not true. So, how is the Bible
    true?

25
Theological Questions
  • Theological questions arise when people think
    about doctrines that are difficult or that they
    misunderstand. Often they arise from pitting one
    (mis)understanding of a doctrine over against
    another.
  • Apologetics is frequently just correcting bad
    theology (or bad interpretation).

26
Example
  • How can a God who is genuinely loving and fair
    send people who have never heard of Jesus to hell
    just for not believing in Him?
  • This question presupposes that God sends people
    to hell for not believing in Jesus but that is
    not the basis of our condemnation.

27
Historical Questions
  • Historical questions can be questions about
    historical method (how can you know . . .?) or
    questioning an event or events that the Bible
    speaks of. They may also come from reading
    popular literature that either gets the facts
    wrong, or states the facts without telling the
    whole story or ignores the context.

28
Example
  • If Greco-Roman political leaders routinely had
    miraculous stories told about their births, then
    why should we believe that Jesus was unique?
  • This question is incompleteit doesnt tell the
    whole story. There were miraculous birth stories
    about pagan leaderscenturies after their deaths!

29
Historical Questions
  • Do we have any non-Christian evidence that
    explicitly say that Jesus actually existed?
  • This question unfairly presupposes that a report
    is disqualified if it is in any way theological,
    or if it comes from a follower of Jesus.

30
Historical Questions
  • It also shows a good bit of confusion about how
    history works. Historians try to make sense of
    the evidence that they have. The explanation with
    the most explanatory power is deemed the best.
    Conspiracy theories or theories that insist that
    ancient people lacked common sense are never the
    most plausible.

31
Philosophical/Logical Questions
  • Philosophical or logical questions generally
    arise from perceived incoherence of parts of the
    Christian worldview.

32
Example
  • Given the uniformity of nature, how can anyone
    reasonably believe in miracles?

33
Scientific Questions
  • Scientific questions arise from misunderstanding
    what science tells us, or how science works, or
    what the Bible actually says. For instance, many
    think that science and Christianity are at war or
    that one contradicts the other. Others think that
    science has disproved miracles or creation or
    Gods existence but such is not the case.

34
Examples
  • How can anyone believe that the universe was
    created in only 6 24-hour days?
  • How can there be life after death if the body,
    particularly the brain, has decomposed?

35
Ethical Questions
  • Ethical questions may arise from the behavior of
    Christian leaders, or from an issue in the
    persons life.
  • They may also arise from reading a historical
    section in the Bible out of context, or inferring
    something that the Bible does not teach.

36
Examples
  • How can I believe in a God who would order his
    people to commit genocide, to entirely wipe out
    another people group?
  • Why are Christians so homophobic?
  • Doesnt the Bible approve of slavery, abuse of
    women, and polygamy?

37
Existential Questions
  • Existential questions have everything to do with
    TRUST. That is the fundamental question of
    existentialism To whom or what can I commit
    myself?

38
Existential Questions
  • Given the frequency of religious wars why should
    I commit to any religion, much less become a
    Christian?

39
Thomas Crean
  • Still, one point is worth making in answer to
    the authors claim . . . that religion causes
    people to do evil things. Insofar as this is
    true, it has no tendency to show that religion is
    itself a bad thing, or that its message is false.
    Love causes people to do evil things so does
    patriotism. The love of a man and a woman can
    lead to unfaithfulness, to the

40
Thomas Crean
  • destruction of families and even to murder.
    Patriotism can lead to hatred and to the
    indiscriminate bombing of cities. None of this
    means that either love or patriotism is a bad
    thing. It simply means that the weakness of
    human nature is such that any great object or
    cause may stir our emotions as to lead us to act
    against our better judgment. If religion
    occasions evil as well

41
Thomas Crean
  • as good, this is no sign of its falsity, but
    simply of its power of attraction over human
    nature. That in the name of religion good men
    may do bad things is no argument against
    religion, unless crimes of passion are arguments
    against human love.
  • Thomas Crean,
  • God is No Delusion, 118-19
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