By Joel Settecase / 7-minute read
This post is designed to go along with episode 17 of the Think Podcast. You can listen to the Think Podcast here on this site or find it on your favorite podcast app by going to this link.
The other day I received a comment on one of my posts from a friend of mine who identifies as an atheist. He was offended by my post (it was about how science is not accounted for by atheism), and his comment really made me think.
My goal isn't to offend anyone, but in the course of putting so much content out on apologetics, it's bound to happen. I want to equip believers to be ready for any questions that they encounter about their faith. I talk about how to answer questions a lot, but in this episode I want to change things up a little bit, and talk about how to go on the "offensive" without being unnecessarily "offensive," and ask a few questions of our own. Of course, it’s common for Christians to be confronted with questions and objections from non-Christians about the Christian message.
We need to be ready for such questions (1 Peter 3:15). But we also need to be equipped with questions of our own. After all, we aren’t the only ones presenting a worldview.
The atheist, agnostic or skeptic also has a worldview. And like most everyone, there are likely to be aspects of that worldview he or she hasn’t fully thought through. Encouraging an unbeliever to really examine their own worldview can be a powerful apologetic tool.
The goal is not to win the argument but to engage in meaningful dialogue, to seek "truth in conversation" (the Think Institute motto) and, if the Lord gives the opportunity, to point the person to the Good News about Jesus that alone can give them forgiveness and eternal life. I hope you enjoy this and, of course, "I hope it makes you think."
What follows is content, slightly modified, that originally appeared on my personal blog.
Christians are constantly confronted with questions about the Christian message. We need to be ready for such questions (1 Peter 3:15). But we also need to be equipped with questions of our own.
Encouraging an unbeliever to really examine their own worldview can be a powerful apologetic tool.
Now, here are 30 questions for atheists, agnostics and skeptics (I go into these in greater detail in the podcast episode).
Are you certain that God does not exist, or that you can’t know whether He exists?
How do you know that?
Did you use your five senses to come to that decision?
Given that God is by definition a Spirit, how much sense does it make to decide whether He exists using your five physical senses?
Did you use your reasoning to determine God does not exist?
How do you know your reasoning is working correctly?
Did you use your reasoning to determine your reasoning was working?
Do you see the problem with that?
The Bible says that skepticism about God is the result of a mind suppressing what it knows to be true. Have you ever tried doubting your doubts about God?
The Bible contains hundreds prophecies fulfilled hundreds of years after they were written. How would that be possible without God?
The Bible says that objective moral values are based in God’s morally perfect nature. Without God, what do you think they are based in?
Jesus’ disciples went from being terrified of death, to being willing to die for their belief that Jesus rose from the dead. If Jesus didn’t rise, what do you think changed their mind?
There are hundreds of varieties of unbelief. How do you know yours is the right one?
Archaeology is constantly confirming the details of the accounts in the Bible. Why do you think that is, if the Bible isn’t true?
There is more evidence that Jesus Christ lived, died and came back to life than for just about any other event in ancient history. If God did not exist, or Jesus’ claims to be God were not true, then how would you explain his resurrection?
What do you think makes so many Christians able to live radically different lives from the way they used to live prior to becoming Christians–even to the point of forgiving their abusers for terrible crimes?
One of the most basic principles of philosophy, confirmed by science* is ex nihilo nihil fit (“out of nothing, nothing comes”). Without God, how do you think everything came into being?
The Bible says that we were created to live forever, and that death is an unnatural enemy, brought about by sin. If you are a naturalist who believes death is simply part of life, how do you explain why we feel like we ought to live forever, and why pain and death feel so unnatural and wrong to just about everyone?
If your brain is merely the unplanned result of evolution by natural selection, aimed at survival and nothing else, what makes you think you can trust your reasoning to discover the truth, rather than just whichever belief is best for survival?
If no God, why would anything objectively matter?
If no God, why is there so much good in the world?
If no God, how did our DNA get programmed with such incredibly complex language and instructions?
Is everything in the universe really just matter and energy?
If you just thought, “Yes,” was that thought made of matter and energy?
The Bible says every good and perfect gift is from the Father above (i.e. God). To whom are you grateful for the good things in your life?
Where do you think the laws of logic come from?
Are the laws of logic made of matter and energy?
What evidence would actually convince you that Jesus Christ is God, the Lord, and the only Savior?
How much do you know about the heart of the Christian message, AKA the “Gospel” or good news?
Are you ready to learn more about Jesus? Start here with the Gospel of John.
In the comments on the original article, someone objected that this is a philosophical, rather than a scientific principle. Yet science corroborates it and even relies upon it. Scientists such as Lawrence Krauss and others have proposed that the universe could have popped into existence from “nothing,” but they define “nothing” as an energy-neutral quantum field. If you have to redefine nothing, you’re no longer talking about nothing. The principle of ex nihilo nihil fit, therefore, turns out to be as true in science (excluding God, of course) as in philosophy. Can you imagine how useless scientific hypothesis and inquiry would be if we expected things to suddenly, causelessly, just come into being from nothing?