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20+ Questions for Theists

Posted by on Jan. 31, 2013 at 9:02 AM
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1 mom liked this
  1. The question “Why is there something rather than nothing” presupposes “nothing” as being the normal state of affairs. Why believe that? Why can’t we flip the question on its head? In other words, why can’t it be the case that the normal state of affairs is for things to actually exist and nothingness itself would be weird? (HT: Thy Kingdom Come (Undone))
  2. Given that the universe has a finite age, why did the universe begin with time rather than in time?
  3. Why is so much of our universe intelligible without any appeal to supernatural agency? Why does the history of science contains numerous examples of naturalistic explanations replacing supernatural ones and no examples of supernatural explanations replacing naturalistic ones?
  4. Why is the physical universe so unimaginably large?
  5. If you believe that visual beauty is evidence of God, why isn’t the universe saturated with auditory, tactile, or other non-visual types of sensory beauty?
  6. If you believe the universe is fine-tuned for intelligent life, why isn’t our universe teeming with life, including life much more impressive than human life?
  7. Why would God use biological evolution as a method for creation? Do you have any answer that is independent of the scientific evidence for evolution?
  8. Why would God desire to create embodied moral agents, as opposed to unembodied minds (such as souls, spirits, or ghosts)? Why is the human mind dependent on the physical brain?
  9. Did Australopithecus have a soul? What about homo habilis? Homo erectus? Neanderthals? Why or why not? (HT: Keith Parsons)
  10. How do souls interact with physical matter? Do you have any answer that is not tantamount to “I don’t know?” (HT: Keith Parsons)
  11. If you believe humans have free will, why would humans have free will if God exists? Why are we able to exercise free will in some situations but not others?
  12. Why are pain and pleasure so connected to the biological goals of survival and reproduction, but morally random? Is there some greater good that logically requires (or logically requires risking) that suffering be used to motivate animals to pursue the biological goal of self-preservation? Does some moral end make it desierable for suffering to continue even when it serves no biological purpose? For example, why do sentient beings, including animals which are not moral agents, experience pain or pleasure that we do not know to be biologically useful?
  13. Why do only a fraction of living things, including the majority of sentient beings, thrive? In other words, why do very few living things have an adequate supply of food and water, are able to reproduce, avoid predators, and remain healthy? Why would God create a world in which all sentient beings savagely compete with one another for survival? Why do an even smaller fraction of organisms thrive for most of their lives? Why do almost no organisms thrive for all of their lives?
  14. Why is there social evil, i.e., instances of pain or suffering that results from the game-theoretic interactions of many individuals?
  15. Why does God allow horrific suffering (and relatively little glorious pleasure)?
  16. Why does horrific suffering often destroy a person, at least psychologically, and prevent them from growing morally, spiritually, and intellectually?
  17. Why is there nonculpable (reasonable) nonbelief in God? Why are there former believers, i.e., people who, from the perspective of theism, were on the right path when they lost belief? Why are there so many people who gave their lives to God only to discover there is no God? Why are there lifelong seekers? Why are there converts to nontheistic religions and especially nonresistant believers who arrive as a result of honest inquiry at nontheistic experiences and beliefs? Why are there isolated nontheists, i.e., people who have never so much as had the idea of God?
  18. Why do some believers feel there is evidence for God’s existence on which they may rely, but in which God is not felt as directly present to her experience, and may indeed feel absent?
  19. Why are there such striking geographic differences in the incidence of theistic belief? Why does
    theistic belief vary dramatically with cultural and national boundaries? For example, why does a population of millions of non-theists persist in Thailand but not in Saudi Arabia? And why has the global incidence of theistic belief varied dramatically over time, i.e., during the existence of the human species?
  20. Why do only some people have religious experiences? In particular, why is it that most of the people who do have religious experiences almost always have a prior belief in God or extensive exposure to a theistic religion?
  21. For those people who do have religious experiences, why do they pursue a variety of radically different religious paths, none of which bears abundantly more moral fruit than all of the others?
  22. Why do so many people report not experiencing God’s comforting presence in the face of tragedies?
  23. Why does the the relatively new discipline of cognitive science of religion support the claim that we have a Hyperactive Agency Detection Device (HADD), which causes human beings to naturally form beliefs about invisible agents? Considering HADD’s poor track record of producing true beliefs about invisible agents in general, why should we trust it when it produces a belief about one invisible agent, the God of theism?
  24. Why does God allow such confusion or disagreement among people, including theists, about what is morally good or bad and morally right or wrong?
  25. Why should we believe that, of the innumerable deities worshipped by human beings over the ages, yours is the one that really exists? Why believe in Yahweh rather than Zeus, Odin, Marduk, Ishtar, Osiris, Quetzalcoatl, Madame Pele, Ahura-Mazda, etc., etc., etc.? (HT: Keith Parsons)
by on Jan. 31, 2013 at 9:02 AM
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Replies (1-10):
beachgal77
by on Jan. 31, 2013 at 10:00 AM

All very, very good questions.  These are some of the reasons I've recently begun questioning my religious upbringing and the things I've been taught. 

AdrianneHill
by Platinum Member on Jan. 31, 2013 at 4:25 PM
2 moms liked this
I've often wondered why the desert kicks out more paternalistic monotheistic religions than say a forest or jungle.
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stormcris
by Christy on Jan. 31, 2013 at 4:37 PM
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Perhaps it should be 20+ questions for monotheists of the Abrahamic persuasion?

created4apurpos
by on Jan. 31, 2013 at 5:52 PM
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I don't know if anyone will be able to answer all of the questions but I will answer the ones that I can.  Though some may bring up more questions.  I will start by saying that God is so infinite that no one can fully know His mind.  Scripture says that He holds the entire universe in His hand just to give us an idea how big He really is.  I will answer only the ones I really feel I can.  Here goes:

5&6 - our knowlege of the universe is limited, as is our ability to explore it so how do we know it isn't?

7 - He didn't use evolution at all.  scripture says He created everything in 7 days.  thats 24 hour days, not billions of years.  some have tried to make the THEORY of evolution (emphasis on theory as there is no hard proof for MACRO evolution only MICRO evolution AKA adaptation) fit in with creation but thats not what scripture says.  scripture says the Lord formed man from the dust of the earth and breathed HIS life into him and then woman was formed from man's rib (note that they were to be partners, nothing in Genesis says that from the begining woman was to be less than man)

8 - we aren't as we were originally meant to be.  we can only guess at what the human body was able to do before Adam and Eve sinned.  we currently only use 10% of our brains, maybe they used 100% and maybe that meant they were dependent on a physical brain.  just as our knowledge of the universe is limited, so is our knowledge of the begining of time.

9 - these so called "missing links" aren't really so. see http://apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=9&article=153

11 - we have free will because God does not want robots for children.  do you want your child to freely say "I love you and I want to do this for you" or to do it because they have no choice?

12 - there is pain with childbirth because Eve sinned.  if she had not sinned there would be no pain

13-16 because there is sin in the world.  it was never intended to be like this.  if there was no sin, these things wouldn't exist.  why doesn't God stop it?  because of free will.  if He took away our free will He'd be a dictator, He'd be no better than a rapist.  He will act when the time is right and there will be a new heaven and a new earth.  the only reason He's waiting is to give as many people time to come to know Him as possible.

17 - this has many reason.  in some cases they never truly gave their heart to God, never experienced His presence so the faith never took root, in others it took root but there was no growth so it kind of withered away because they had no one alongside to help them grow.  some simply fall away.  something happens and they sort of shut down, they start building a wall and God won't go where He's not wanted.  they may have truly believed but decided to shut him out.

19 - "Rom_1:20  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:"  this verse is saying that even without contact with another human being, a person can look at the things God has made and from that come to know Him.  God gives EVERYONE ample chance to know Him.  not one person dies without an opportunity no matter how remote their location.

20 - not everyone does.  I'm a believer and I never had a "religious experience" and you will find plenty who have had one without a prior belief in God or extensive exposure.  this statement is faulty, likely based on very limited exposure.

21 - God leads everyone on different paths.  each person is unique so why should the path they follow the exactly the same?

22 - in some (not all) cases its because they don't truly know Him.  in others they simply aren't seeking Him.  in others the pain is simply so great it overwhelms everything else because they aren't open to feeling anything else.

23 - don't trust it, trust only scripture and not man's words

24 - this goes back to free will.

25 - there is much evidence that has come up to support the bible.  secular mentions of Joseph (OT) in archelogial finds. the writings of Josepheus, a secular writer, that support scripture. there are even things in scripture that science has confirmed that didn't used to be the scientific truth.  bible says the earth is round when science used to say it was flat (IS. 40:22), bible says light moves when science used to say it was fixed in place (job 38:19-20), scripture says air has weight when science used to say it was weightless (job 28:25), scripture says blood is the source of life and health when science used to bleed people to try and make them well (leveticus 17:11), scripture even says hands should be washed in running water when dealing with disease long before it was common practice (lev. 15:13).  there are others but this is long enough already.  so the reason we should believe is because scripture has always been right, not just about science but about its what its said will happen (sme of it just hasn't happened yet).  science has not always been right, it changes with discoveries and what other religions have said will happen hasn't always happened.

I know this isn't all of them but ANYONE who claims to know everything is lying.  like I said, we only use 10% of our brains.  we learn new things all the time.


Robin - mom of 1 special little girl, wife to Tim

Philippans 4:8  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 

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ethans_momma06
by on Jan. 31, 2013 at 6:33 PM



Quoting IhartU:

  1. The question “Why is there something rather than nothing” presupposes “nothing” as being the normal state of affairs. Why believe that? Why can’t we flip the question on its head? In other words, why can’t it be the case that the normal state of affairs is for things to actually exist and nothingness itself would be weird? (HT: Thy Kingdom Come (Undone)) O.o
  2. Given that the universe has a finite age, why did the universe begin with time rather than in time? Is time linear? This is not covered in my religion.
  3. Why is so much of our universe intelligible without any appeal to supernatural agency? Why does the history of science contains numerous examples of naturalistic explanations replacing supernatural ones and no examples of supernatural explanations replacing naturalistic ones?God never says that we are incapable of understanding our surroundings. Until we are able to, we label it 'supernatural'. As soon as we have the ability to understand it, it loses that title.
  4. Why is the physical universe so unimaginably large? What does that have to do with anything?
  5. If you believe that visual beauty is evidence of God, why isn’t the universe saturated with auditory, tactile, or other non-visual types of sensory beauty?I do not believe that visual beauty is evidence of god.
  6. If you believe the universe is fine-tuned for intelligent life, why isn’t our universe teeming with life, including life much more impressive than human life?Who said it's not?
  7. Why would God use biological evolution as a method for creation? Do you have any answer that is independent of the scientific evidence for evolution? Why assume that God would not use a method (evolution or other) that we would one day be able to comprehend?
  8. Why would God desire to create embodied moral agents, as opposed to unembodied minds (such as souls, spirits, or ghosts)? Why is the human mind dependent on the physical brain?
  9. Did Australopithecus have a soul? What about homo habilis? Homo erectus? Neanderthals? Why or why not? (HT: Keith Parsons) Do dogs? Cats? Dinosaurs? E boli?
  10. How do souls interact with physical matter? Do you have any answer that is not tantamount to “I don’t know?” (HT: Keith Parsons) It would be folly to claim knowledge in an area that is so far unable to be scientifically tested. I could say whatever I like, but it's simply conjecture.
  11. If you believe humans have free will, why would humans have free will if God exists? Why are we able to exercise free will in some situations but not others? Why not? This all delves into a greater free will debate.
  12. Why are pain and pleasure so connected to the biological goals of survival and reproduction, but morally random? Is there some greater good that logically requires (or logically requires risking) that suffering be used to motivate animals to pursue the biological goal of self-preservation? Does some moral end make it desierable for suffering to continue even when it serves no biological purpose? For example, why do sentient beings, including animals which are not moral agents, experience pain or pleasure that we do not know to be biologically useful?
  13. Why do only a fraction of living things, including the majority of sentient beings, thrive? In other words, why do very few living things have an adequate supply of food and water, are able to reproduce, avoid predators, and remain healthy? Why would God create a world in which all sentient beings savagely compete with one another for survival? Why do an even smaller fraction of organisms thrive for most of their lives? Why do almost no organisms thrive for all of their lives? It would appear that if there IS a god, and we do expirience death, than he planned it. Even just for sport. However, not being God- we can only debate they "why" of death and dispair.
  14. Why is there social evil, i.e., instances of pain or suffering that results from the game-theoretic interactions of many individuals?
  15. Why does God allow horrific suffering (and relatively little glorious pleasure)?
  16. Why does horrific suffering often destroy a person, at least psychologically, and prevent them from growing morally, spiritually, and intellectually? Have we been able to ever gauge ones spiritual growth? No.
  17. Why is there nonculpable (reasonable) nonbelief in God? Why are there former believers, i.e., people who, from the perspective of theism, were on the right path when they lost belief? Why are there so many people who gave their lives to God only to discover there is no God? Why are there lifelong seekers? Why are there converts to nontheistic religions and especially nonresistant believers who arrive as a result of honest inquiry at nontheistic experiences and beliefs? Why are there isolated nontheists, i.e., people who have never so much as had the idea of God? Each persons path is different.
  18. Why do some believers feel there is evidence for God’s existence on which they may rely, but in which God is not felt as directly present to her experience, and may indeed feel absent?
  19. Why are there such striking geographic differences in the incidence of theistic belief? Why does
    theistic belief vary dramatically with cultural and national boundaries? For example, why does a population of millions of non-theists persist in Thailand but not in Saudi Arabia? And why has the global incidence of theistic belief varied dramatically over time, i.e., during the existence of the human species? Geography, resources, social strutcures tend to shape beliefs.
  20. Why do only some people have religious experiences? In particular, why is it that most of the people who do have religious experiences almost always have a prior belief in God or extensive exposure to a theistic religion? Well, primarily because of the sheer volume of pre-exposure to reilgion. Name one society where Atheism is predominant. However, obviously at some point religion would have had to spring from nothing. Why do only "some" have those expiriences? No idea. Although brain function and chemistry may play a part.
  21. For those people who do have religious experiences, why do they pursue a variety of radically different religious paths, none of which bears abundantly more moral fruit than all of the others? Certainly, you would have to ask them.
  22. Why do so many people report not experiencing God’s comforting presence in the face of tragedies? Well. How would one know what his comforting presence IS? How do we extrapolate on data we can't even identify?
  23. Why does the the relatively new discipline of cognitive science of religion support the claim that we have a Hyperactive Agency Detection Device (HADD), which causes human beings to naturally form beliefs about invisible agents? Considering HADD’s poor track record of producing true beliefs about invisible agents in general, why should we trust it when it produces a belief about one invisible agent, the God of theism? We shouldn't.
  24. Why does God allow such confusion or disagreement among people, including theists, about what is morally good or bad and morally right or wrong? It's hard to say when I am not him, nor privy to any reasoning that he might have. Anything any one gives is conjecture.
  25. Why should we believe that, of the innumerable deities worshipped by human beings over the ages, yours is the one that really exists? Why believe in Yahweh rather than Zeus, Odin, Marduk, Ishtar, Osiris, Quetzalcoatl, Madame Pele, Ahura-Mazda, etc., etc., etc.? (HT: Keith Parsons) I don't find that anyone 'should' believe. It's what makes logical sense to me, though I understand how many are poly-theists, or Atheist.



UpSheRises
by Platinum Member on Jan. 31, 2013 at 6:58 PM
Our social behaviors are as rooted in evolution as our physical charaicteristics. Opposite climate/environments lead to two different behaviors. My area of expertise is child rearing so I cant answer that question but if you want to know why babies pull hair or why a baby crying in the grocery store makes you crazy...i'm your man.


Quoting AdrianneHill:

I've often wondered why the desert kicks out more paternalistic monotheistic religions than say a forest or jungle.

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ethans_momma06
by on Jan. 31, 2013 at 7:02 PM

Wait, why DO babies pull hair? Mine has been self soothing by pulling mine (and his own) hair since he was born...


Quoting UpSheRises:

Our social behaviors are as rooted in evolution as our physical charaicteristics. Opposite climate/environments lead to two different behaviors. My area of expertise is child rearing so I cant answer that question but if you want to know why babies pull hair or why a baby crying in the grocery store makes you crazy...i'm your man.


Quoting AdrianneHill:

I've often wondered why the desert kicks out more paternalistic monotheistic religions than say a forest or jungle.



UpSheRises
by Platinum Member on Jan. 31, 2013 at 7:17 PM
Our ancestors had long hair all over their bodies...think about a gorilla. We didnt walk upright yet so uor babies had to hang on for dear life. Thats also why we get those amazing pictures of babies holdin a docotrs finger during a pernatal surgery...its an innate reflex for a baby to close its hand around an object. Babies who clung to thier mother hair stayed safe, those who didnt perished and didnt reproduce.



Quoting ethans_momma06:

Wait, why DO babies pull hair? Mine has been self soothing by pulling mine (and his own) hair since he was born...




Quoting UpSheRises:

Our social behaviors are as rooted in evolution as our physical charaicteristics. Opposite climate/environments lead to two different behaviors. My area of expertise is child rearing so I cant answer that question but if you want to know why babies pull hair or why a baby crying in the grocery store makes you crazy...i'm your man.








Quoting AdrianneHill:

I've often wondered why the desert kicks out more paternalistic monotheistic religions than say a forest or jungle.









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pampire
by on Feb. 1, 2013 at 12:59 AM
1 mom liked this

That's a flipping long list and I'm hungry but I want to answer 25 before I go make dinner.  I don't believe that my concept of God is the the one that exists.  I believe that most of the conceptualizations humanity has come up with for God/gods over the course of human history have bee different wasys to express the same basic concepts using what was known/common to the people expressing their belief at the time and that they are all paths to the same universal creative spirit.

jessilin0113
by Platinum Member on Feb. 1, 2013 at 2:33 AM
I like question one. I've never thought about it like that.
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