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Major Objections to Christianity and Thoughtful Responses

Almost no Christian not a theologian, or pastor is a good enough apologist to answer all the questions being asked by Non-Christians, or even your own children. So I've prepared a number of the "biggies", the questions I'm asked about often and one simple response to each. These were edited from an article in Christianity Today written by Frank Harber, author of Reasons For Believing.

1. Christians are hypocrites.

A hypocrite is an actor, a person who pretends to be something she isn't. Jesus' harshest words were reserved for hypocrites. The reality is, there always have been and always will be some hypocrites in the Church. But Jesus doesn't ask us to follow others; he asks us to follow him.

Although Christians can represent Jesus either poorly or well, the real question isn't whether there are hypocrites in the Church, but whether Jesus is a hypocrite. Is Jesus who he said he was and did he live out in his life what he taught his followers? If someone can prove Jesus was a hypocrite, then the whole structure of Christianity falls into ruin. The Bible, God's Word, presents Jesus as nothing less than perfect. Jesus' disciples testified that Jesus was without sin (1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3;5). Even Jesus himself challenged others to prove that he'd ever sinned. (John 8;46).

2. What about the atrocities Christians have committed?

Some blame Christianity for religious wars, the Crusades, burning witches, the Inquisition, slavery, even the holocaust. And they are right. The issue of atrocities is simply an extension of so-called believers who didn't practice true Christianity have perpetrated evil instead. We should make no excuses for their Union-Christlike behavior. In reality, these people were Christian in name only.

However, focusing on atrocities is often a smoke screen to avoid the real issue. Christianity has far more positive achievements than negative influences. It's been instrumental in the formation of countless hospitals, schools, colleges, orphanages, relief agencies, and charity agencies. No other religion in history can compare to its record of improving humanity.

3. Christianity is a crutch.

Karl Marx, author of The Communist Manifesto, said, "Religion is the opiate of the masses." Critics such as Marx have charged that religion is an invention designed for people incapable of coping with life's pressures. Some critics respond that they don't need this type of emotional comfort, as though that fact falsifies Christianity. Such individuals often claim to be "stronger" because they're brave enough to face life without a "crutch".

To imply non-religious people don't need a crutch is misleading. Dependence on drugs, alchohol, tobacco, sex, money, power, other people, and material possessions demonstrates some people's need for a crutch. Atheism--the belief that there is no God--can become a crutch for those addicted to a lifestyle contrary to God's standards of morality. Rather than being weak, Christians are strong--not because they depends on themselves, but because they depend on Jesus and biblical wisdom. Christianity provides what Atheism or other religions never can: spiritual fulfillment, peace, and forgiveness.

4. It's narrow-minded to think Jesus is the only way to God.

Jesus claimed he was the only way to God, "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'". -John 14:6. Such a claim is either true or totally false. If Jesus claim is untrue then he was a liar and should not be followed by anyone. But if Christ was right then we must accept Jesus' own teachings or accept the eternal consequences.

5. Being a good person is all the really matters.

Some argue that even if a person's religion is false, what really matters is that they be a good person. This notion is based on the mistaken belief that God is pleased by "religion", or good behavior. Does God like all people to be kind to one another? Of course! But is that how people become children of God and get to heaven? The Bible says no. Believing in an obeying Jesus in the "only way" God has provided.

6. Why is there so much senseless suffering?

First of all, who is it that determines which suffering is sensless? Many hold that pain is evidence against God's concern for humankind. However, pain can be used for good and bad purposes. Not all pain is bad. Pain is an essential mechanism for survival. Without pain, the body is stripped of vital protection. Pain is an important signal to warm of even greater danger.

Suffering is a signal. It also can be a spiritual signal that reminds us of the fragile balance of life and our mortality. In the Problem of Pain, Christian apologist C.S. Lewis writes, "God whispers to us in our pleasure, speak to us in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pain; it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world."

Some suffering actually helps to bring greater good. This is best seen in Jesus' own suffering. Jesus traveled down the road of pain, loneliness, and death--a road that led to the cross. Jesus isn't just a Savior, he's our suffering Savior. The cross in the ultimate example of innocent suffering.

At the heart of this issue is the underlying challenge that God isn't fair. The problem is, society holds the pursuit of pleasure and the glorification of self as its chief goals in life. This philosophy known as hedonism is antithetical to a biblical worldview and those who live by this philosophy find any form of suffering, or sacrifice offensive. It's the ultimate "kingdoms in conflict."

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