By Elias Ayala (MDiv & M.A.T.)
Isn’t the Bible Filled with Errors?
No, the Bible is not filled with errors and the person suggesting such bears the burden of proof to demonstrate this. An opponent of Christianity does not get to go unchallenged when they bring forth objections. The burden of proof is typically placed upon the person making the claim, and hence, if someone says that the Bible has errors, it is incumbent upon that person to make his case and not merely stipulate that the Bible has errors. The Bible is God’s Word and hence it is truthful in all that it teaches because the divine author of the Bible cannot lie (Isaiah 55:10-11; John 17:17, Titus 1:2, Hebrews 4:12). While it is true however, that there are difficulties in the Bible, the existence of difficulties does not cash out to errors or contradictions, nor is the Christian’s inability to answer difficulties or apparent contradictions an admission that the Bible does in fact contain such deficiencies. All the Christian need so is demonstrate that an apparent conflict or contradiction is not in fact a genuine violation of the laws of logic. At this point, the mere existence of a possible reconciliation of two apparently contradictory passages of scripture demonstrate conclusively that the two are not actual contradictions since actual contradictions would be impossible to reconcile.
If God is Good, Why is There Evil?
The typical gist of this question is to emphasize an apparent contradiction between the notion of evil and the existence of the God of the Bible who is all-powerful and all-good. If God is all-powerful he should be able to remove evil, and if God is all-good, then he should desire to remove all evil, however, because evil still exists, it must be the case that God is either all-powerful but not all-good, since he would have removed the evil, or God is all-powerful, but not all good and hence he decides not to remove evil for his maliciously evil purposes. Neither of these options are open to the Christian who believes that God is both all-powerful and all-good. So it seems as though the Christian is in a logical bind. However, let us review briefly the 2nd Law of Logic. It is a violation of the 2nd law of logic that makes two statements genuinely contradictory. So let us filter in the points of contention to see if in fact we have a genuine logical contradiction on our hands:
- (Statement #1): God is all-powerful and all-good
- (Statement #2): If God is all-powerful he is able to remove evil
- (Statement #3): If God is all-good then he would desire to immediately remove all evil
- (Statement #4): Evil exists
- (Conclusion): therefore, an all-powerful and all-good God does not exist
Now while it is true that Christians affirm that God is all-powerful and all-good, it is not the case that this is contradictory with the notion that evil exists. All one need do is to add an extra premise to bring out the non-contradictory nature of the situation, namely, that God has morally sufficient reasons for allowing the existence of evil. If this statement is even possible, it follows that there is no contradiction, and indeed, not only is this statement a logical possibility, it is precisely what the Bible teaches with regards to the existence of evil. As topping on the cake, if evil exists it follows that God exists since in order to claim that something is objectively evil, there needs to be an objective standard of good by which to rate something as objectively evil. And anyone familiar with these debates knows that an admission of objective goodness, namely, the sort of goodness that is good independent of personal opinions places someone at the door of a divine lawgiver.
Christians Are Hypocrites!
A hypocrite is someone who does not follow their own advice. On the one hand Christians will condemn certain behaviors as morally wrong yet turn around and participate in the very behavior that they just condemned. Yes, it is true, Christians can be hypocrites. However, the fact that Christians do not always act consistently with biblical teaching does not demonstrate that Christianity is false or that the Bible is not the Word of God. In fact, Jesus himself condemned hypocrisy as sinful and taught people to look to himself as the paradigm of goodness. This makes perfect sense given the fact that Jesus Christ is God in flesh (John 1:1, 14), and as such was without sin (1 Peter 2:22, 1 John 3:5). In fact Jesus asked: “Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me” (John 8:46). Hence, the existence of Christians who are hypocrites does not refute Christianity anymore than then the existence of terrorists disprove the religion of Islam.
What about the Atrocities Christians have Committed throughout History?
Wash, rinse, and repeat! The answer provided in the previous paragraph would be sufficient to answer this objection. The fact that Christians have committed atrocities throughout history does not demonstrate the falsity of Christianity. In fact, it can be easily demonstrated that those who participated in such atrocities were acting in ways that are themselves condemned in the Christian scriptures. There is no scriptural foundation to justify things like the Crusades, the Inquisition, Witch Burnings, and yes, even slavery. Now I can assure the reader that I am very familiar with the scriptures that critics run to to tell us otherwise and to be perfectly honest, I am not impressed. However, the details of such analysis would extend beyond the scope of this article and perhaps would be best to treat more in-depth elsewhere.
Christianity is Crutch for the Weak Minded
Atheism is a crutch for those who fear eternal judgment! You see what I did there? Anyone can take such a claim and reverse it on the opponent. What good does it do? Notice that positing that Christianity is a crutch for weak minded people has literally nothing to do with whether Christianity is actually true. Let us try and follow the rigorous logic behind such a statement: Christianity is a crutch for weak minded people, therefore, Jesus did not rise from the dead!!! Well that does not logically follow at all. Maybe people do use Christianity as a crutch, so what!? I am happy to admit that Christianity provides a great framework for looking at the world in such a way that it puts my mind at ease and that I can trust in the reality that there is a God who loves me and is watching over me in the midst of this crazy world. But I also happen to think that Christianity is true, and demonstrably so. A claim or assertion that can be equally applied and reversed on the person making the claim or assertion is not helpful and is in fact self refuting.
If Christianity is True, Are you Saying that All Other Religions are False?
Yes. This is necessarily the case given that if Christianity is true then it would logically and necessarily follow that any other view which is not Christianity is false. If the critic responds by calling such a claim “narrow-minded”, we shouldn’t be bothered by this. It is only narrow minded in the sense that “truth” is narrow. If something is true then its opposite is false. This should be obvious to anyone who takes a few seconds to reflect upon it. To give a more concrete example: If Monotheism is true (There is only One God), then it logically follows that polytheism (There are many gods) is false. They cannot both be true at the same time and in the same way since to affirm that they can would be to violate the “law of non-contradiction: which states that something cannot be both true and false at the same time and in the same way. Furthermore, if the person asking the question thinks there is a problem with my response, are they too being narrow minded by suggesting that I am wrong to think the way that I do? How narrow minded!
If I am Good Person, Why do I Need God?
Good by what standard? Who are we comparing ourselves to? What objective standard are we using to draw the conclusion that one is “good?” If God does not exist, and is in turn, not the objective grounding for goodness, then is goodness merely a subjective opinion? If it is a subjective opinion then how convenient it is to say that one is good (based on their own opinion of themselves) and so therefore, “Why do I need God?” Well, without getting into the weeds of the philosophical debates with regards to goodness and how it is objectively grounded if in fact it is objectively grounded, on the Christian conception of the world, God is the paradigm for goodness. When compared to God’s own character, no one is good; as the Bible emphatically declares, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). According to scripture, because of the stain of sin, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one” (Romans 3:10-12). If Christianity is true, and I believe it is and the assertion of Christianity’s truth can be defended, then it would seem to follow that since all are sinners and violate God’s Law, all are subject to his divine and righteous judgement, and hence, if we are to be reconciled to God, then we do in fact need God and our own conception of ourselves as “good” is not enough.