Answering “Questions Christians Can’t Answer” #49 Why do Christians Evade Questions?

Over the course of this ten-article series, this column has examined a list of questions leveled by skeptic R. E. Puckett in his Yahoo Voices segment entitled “Top 50 Questions Christians Can’t Answer“. Once a believer himself, Puckett became convinced that Christianity does not hold up under the light of intellectual scrutiny, and that when the curtain is pulled back, the basis of Christianity is a naive optimism that blinds the believer to the harsh realities of the rational world.

When examined, Puckett’s questions reveal a number of preconceptions about Christian beliefs that do not match up with what the majority of Evangelicals hold. Possibly most damaging among them, Puckett seems to believe that Christians must confess every sin they commit individually as they commit them, or risk being damned. The majority of Protestant Christians believe that, in fact, the repentant Christian falls under God’s grace, and that even when they sin, they are covered by the protection and forgiveness that Christ’s sacrifice affords them.

It is with this in mind that a second assumption that Puckett holds is addressed: Puckett seems to believe that, if Christianity were true, Christians should be saintly humans, unaffected by temptation or error. In fact, Christians are as capable of error as anyone. However, a true Christian will recognize and repent of their missteps rather than justifying or defending them.

In fact, Puckett’s persistent attacks on the actions and character of Christians is evidence that Puckett himself holds a conviction that humans are prone to bad behavior. If Puckett can recognize that bad behavior exists and should justly be condemned, he has already taken the first step toward a Christian understanding of the world.

In this series of questions, Puckett attacks a wide variety of what he believes are Christian views. It is important to note that even if Christians can answer none of these questions; if they can show with evidence that Jesus actually rose from the dead, the second step of the Christian worldview has been taken.

Puckett himself shows that humans need to be redeemed from their ill behavior, and evidence shows that just such a redeemer exists.

Ultimately, the proof of Christ’s resurrection is the single point upon which Christianity stands or falls. Mountains of evidence to support this fact have been presented over a 2000-year span; and these facts require an answer of all who want to disenchant believers. Puckett, and anyone else who seeks to dismantle Christian beliefs need only show that Christ was not raised, and they have accomplished their purpose. No other question need be asked.

Within this list Puckett has criticized drunken irresponsibility, tyranny, deception, divorce, murder, discrimination, condemnation of the innocent, intentional ignorance, and incest. Clearly Puckett has set up a standard from which it is possible to condemn these things, however Puckett makes no defense for his standard of right and wrong. If Christianity is “wrong,” it is incumbent upon the critic to show what is “right,” and by what standard right and wrong are determined.

Without further commentary, here is the second-to-last question on Pucket’s list:

Why do Christians evade questions?

49 – Why is it that when a Christian is faced with questions that have huge negative implications towards the logic of their faith, they conveniently say that it is in God’s plan? Is the scope of their own understanding of the religion and God they have offered their souls to so limited that their only answer is ‘God’s plan’? Judging by the above mentioned failures, God’s plan does not seem to be a very good one. 

 

 

 

 

To say that all Christians everywhere throughout time embrace ignorant assumptions rather than to deeply explore and question reality as it relates to their own beliefs seems to be a statement that ignores the mountains of Christian philosophy, debate, and commentary. In fact, modern Western society owes a tremendous debt to Christian thinkers, politicians, and theologians. An astounding number of monolithic intellects have existed and continue to exist that are deeply devoted Christians. To dismiss all of these without even considering the things they wrote and said about their belief is not simply foolish, but intentionally ignorant.

Milton and Dante wrote epic poetry of fall and redemption which remain timeless classics. Augustine of Hippo and Thomas Aquinas formed dense and complex philosophies, the brilliance of which formed the foundation of Western thought. The scientific leaps of William of Ockham, Isaac Newton, and Blaise Pascal practically created the scientific method, laying the foundations of modern science. Pascal especially was a genius who made equally impressive contributions to mathematics, philosophy, and theology as well as being a talented poet. Speaking of poetry, Christian novelist Leo Tolstoy remains one of the most celebrated writer of classic literature.

In modern times, one considers such thinkers as Paul Copan, professor of philosophy at Palm Beach Atlantic University currently holding the Pledger Family Endowed Chair of Philosophy and Ethics as well as president of the Evangelical Philosophical Society; John Lennox, mathematician and philosopher of science; William Lane Craig a philosopher, theologian, and apologist – winning countless debates on the subject of Christianity – whose contributions to the philosophy of science have revolutionized the modern concept of how time and space interact. One might also consider such names as J.P. Moreland, Alvin Plantinga, and Ravi Zacharias; all considered brilliant men in Christian and non-Christian circles, alike.

If one studies the argumentation of all of these thinkers, and is still able to soundly conclude that all Christians stupidly dismiss all criticisms as “God’s plan,” then this objection might stand.

These thinkers have offered far more considered and deep responses. This does not, of course, prove them correct (at least not without examination) but it does show that Christians are not all mindless followers of a system that is obviously false, and anyone who deems them so is guilty of the same mindless neglect that they accuse Christians of embracing.

Before one attacks Christianity, it is simply a matter of responsibility to examine the answers that have already been given.

It is one thing to toss around questions that question the Christian worldview; but it is quite another to interact with the responses. Someone who asks Christians to take a closer look at their beliefs would be hypocritical not to do the same.

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