In a previous post, I addressed 5 Apologetics Questions Every Christian Should Learn How to Answer. My goal was to offer "barebones" quick responses that Christians could easily remember and articulate. Here are 5 more questions I think every Christian needs to be aware of and have the ability to answer.
1. Did Jesus claim to be God?
Although Jesus didn't stand up on a mountain and proclaim the words, "I am God!" there is no doubt that He did claim to be God while on earth. In fact, He did just that three times:
Mark 14:61-62: After His arrest when He stood trial before the Jewish court, Jesus was asked point blank if He was the Messiah. He answered, "I am," and went on to connect Himself to a prophecy about the "Son of Man" in the book of Daniel. The high priest understood this as a claim to deity and tore his robes while calling for Jesus' execution.
John 10:30: Another time when the Jews asked Jesus if He was the Messiah, He told them the Father is greater than all and then He said, "I and the Father are one." Immediately, they picked up stones to execute Him for blasphemy.
John 8:58: This is Jesus' most explicit claim to deity. One day, some Judeans asked Jesus, "Who do you think you are?" He answered: "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." In this verse, Jesus wasn't just claiming to be God, but He was also claiming to be the actual God of the Old Testament: the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Exodus 3:14).
For the Jews to whom Jesus was talking, it was clear that He was claiming to be God. According to Jewish law, blasphemy was punishable by death—and all three times, they tried to have Him executed. In John 10:33 they said outright: "You, a mere man, claim to be God!"
2. Did God command the Israelites to commit genocide?
For many people, one of the most troubling Bible passages is when God commanded Israel to kill every living thing in the Canaanite land (Deuteronomy 20:16-18). Because of this, many skeptics have accused Yahweh of "divine genocide."
Genocide is defined as killing a large group of people because of their race, religion, or nationality. In the case of the Canaanites, they weren't killed because of their race....they were executed as a decree of God's righteous judgment because of their unrepentant and horrific sin. (The barbarity and wickedness of the Canaanite culture is documented here. Warning: it's graphic.)
As further proof that it wasn't about race, it should be noted that God later executed the same judgment on His own people for the same sin.
In His mercy, God sent prophets to warn the Canaanites to repent of their heinous deeds, and gave them hundreds of years to turn to Him—yet they refused to listen.
The Canaanite conquest wasn't genocide—it was capital punishment.
3. Is the concept of the Trinity a logical fallacy?
According to the law of non-contradiction, two contradictory statements can't both be true at the same time and in the same sense. You may hear someone say, "Three beings in one being....that's illogical!" The statement "Three beings in one being" actually does violate the law of non-contradiction, and is, in fact, illogical.
BUT, this is actually not the correct definition of the Trinity. The Trinity isn't "three beings in one being"...but three persons in one being. Personhood is defined as a distinct center of consciousness, and the Trinity is one "Essence" or "Being"— in three distinct Persons.
It may not be easy to comprehend—but it is not a logical fallacy.
4. Don't all religions basically say the same thing?
Remember the law of non-contradiction mentioned above? It's going to come in handy here. (Keep in mind that two contradictory statements can't both be true at the same time and in the same sense.)
Let's apply that to two major world religions: Christianity and Islam.
Both Christianity and Islam teach that Jesus existed and was a prophet. However, Christianity teaches that Jesus died, while Islam teaches that Jesus never died. Considering that the entire belief system of Christianity stands or falls based upon the resurrection of Jesus being a historical event (1 Corinthians 15:17), it really matters whether or not He actually died. In fact, if Islam is correct, then Christianity as a religion is fundamentally untrue.
Although many religions agree on some moral principles (for example, we should treat each other with kindness and help those in need,) it's more important to look at their disagreements--core disagreements that violate the law of non-contradiction, and thus can't both be true. Many religions have some beliefs in common, but at their core, all religions are not basically saying the same thing.
5. Is there any scientific evidence for the existence of God?
Contrary to what many atheists would have you believe, there is quite a bit of scientific evidence for the existence of God. There are several disciplines such as archaeology, intelligent design, and cosmology that are providing such evidence. Here's one example:
The law of causation states that anything that had a beginning must have a cause. The consensus of modern science is that the universe is not eternal, but had a beginning point. Therefore, the universe had to be caused by something.
The only "thing" that could have caused time, space, and matter to come into existence out of nothing would have to be something that is itself, outside of time, space, and matter. And "what" would have the intelligence to make such a universe so finely tuned for the existence of life?
Here's what it comes down to: either a spaceless, timeless, immaterial and immensely powerful "cause" (which happens to sound a lot like the God of the Bible) brought the universe into existence out of nothing.....or nothing did.
What are some other questions you think Christians should be ready to answer? Please comment or reply below!
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