Honest questions for my believer friends

Asked in a non-judgmental spirit of friendly inquiry:

1. Do you believe God is omniscient (all-knowing)? Do you believe we have free will? If yes to both... how do you reconcile this paradox? That is, if God knows what decisions we will make, how can we be said to have free will at all?

1b. As a corollary, for those of you who believe there are consequences for rejecting God, why would God create anyone whom he knew would ultimately reject him?

2. Do you believe that God is omnipotent (all-powerful) and all-loving? If so, why is there suffering? And I don't mean suffering caused by other people. I mean suffering inflicted by nature itself – cancer, birth defects, famine, drought, tsunamis, earthquakes, etc. etc.

3. Do you view your faith as an explanatory device for any natural phenomenon, such as the origin of the universe, the origin of life, or the complexity of life? If so, how do you feel about science that encroaches on these beliefs, such as evolution, abiogenesis, or cosmology?

4. Do you view your beliefs as a source of moral guidance? In what way? What would be your moral compass if you were to reject your beliefs?

5. Speaking in a most general way, what is it about your faith that you feel differentiates you from those who do not share it? How would your life be different without these beliefs?

6. Can God microwave a burrito until it's so hot that he can't eat it?


Comments

  1. A few explanations I've heard:

    1: God knows all. He knows every possible outcome of every possible decision that has ever been or could ever be made. His knowledge is not limited to what will happen but to what can also happen if there is another decision made. His knowledge is both finite, directed at the here and now and what is happening, and infinite, aware of what may happen given any other circumstances. I'm recounting this from memory, so please bear with me, as it is probably faulted somewhere by my recollection. The original argument was much more elegant.

    2. To debate this, I will assume the Christian God. If this is the presupposition, then that question is simple. Adam and Eve ate of the fruit and brought sin on us all. All suffering, whether natural events, disease, human evil, and finally death, is the result of this sin and disobedience to God.

    3. Personally, yes. I believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God, accurate in its teachings and doctrine. I understand that many would fault me for this, but I personally have arrived at this faith through rational, and sometimes quite skeptical, review of the facts. If Jesus Christ was the Son of God, then he validated the scriptures in his frequent teaching and usage of them.

    As far as how I feel about the science, Science can usually be twisted to fit many different beliefs. I try to stay updated on both sides of any issue and the arguments for and against each viewpoint. I wish I could answer everything about the world, but I don't know everything. I'm as eager as you to know the truth.

    4. Jesus was of course a great teacher of morality birthed by the love of God in our hearts. Personally, if I were to reject my beliefs, I would live life like hell, because there'd be no reason to do otherwise. I'd like to state that my reason for love of Christ is NOT a fear of hell. It's based on a logical decision that follows. If Jesus was Christ, then the only thing to do is follow him. That kind of a selfless act is something that can't be denied. If he wasn't Christ, then there's no reason for life. We're all a series of accidents. However, I have found that the evidence for his death and resurrection is historically sound. Therefore, I am a Christian, not because of any fear of hell or damnation.

    6. Again, it's the resurrection. That is the key to Christian faith. Without the resurrection there is not reason for life except to party hard while we're here and disappear.

    6. Amusing. Also: Can God create a rock so large he can't lift it? Or could God, as a sinless being, commit sin? I don't know the answers to these.

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  2. Good, good. I don't consider these rhetorical questions. I'm interested in how different believers arrive at their respective conclusions. I'm hoping the answers will be fodder for future posts.

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