Questions Your Pastor Will Hate

The questions were asked by Dennis Diehl when he was a child. He never seemed to get satisfactory answers. Somehow, he went on to become a pastor for 26 years, but that eventually stopped.

He writes about his questions here. The horrible answers he gets should be a lesson at any seminary school in what not to say to children (unless you want them to leave the faith, which I’d be ok with…).

There’s a (longer) part two with questions, but no answers here.

The questions are also good for children to take to their own pastors. If you don’t get honest, satisfactory answers (including “I don’t know”), they’re not people you should be trusting or listening to in the first place.

I should mention the pastors Dennis refers to are the ones who take the Bible to be literally true, and not all pastors are like that. But even the latter group should be prepared to answer the tough questions.

(via Reddit)


[tags]atheist, atheism, Dennis Diehl, pastor, church[/tags]

  • Jen

    And the answers will always be, “We can’t know the mind of God” or “God is so great, He can do whatever he wants.” Or maybe, “Why don’t you read about Jesus for a while?” and “Have faith.”

    This could be Julia Sweeney’s next one-woman show.

  • Brendon Lake

    Seen those questions, most of them are dumb

    next….

  • Brendon Lake

    Honest question for evolutionists:

    If life just suddenly, spontaneously started, why with even our best efforts are we still unable
    to come anywhere near to ‘creating’ even the most basic of living organisms?
    Why aren’t scientists blushing like beetroot since they can’t remotely replicate something that happened by accident?

  • Miko

    If life just suddenly, spontaneously started, why with even our best efforts are we still unable
    to come anywhere near to ‘creating’ even the most basic of living organisms?

    For one thing, because it took hundreds of millions of years the first time around and we’ve only been trying for a few decades. For another, it’s hard to get funding for that type of research because a large bloc of the religious is blocking it. For another, most scientists don’t really care about doing that. But most importantly, because evolution happened. Regarding your question being for evolutionists, it of course has absolutely nothing to do with evolution. The origins of life through abiogenesis involved molecules assembling into a precursor of DNA (probably closer to RNA) and struggling to survive, not pre-existing organisms evolving. These days, any molecules that happened to do that would be instantly eaten by bacteria. Thus, you need some of the toughest anti-contamination set-ups ever designed and so creating life again would be much harder than life’s forming in the first place.

    But you seem to ask these same questions here periodically, so I’m guessing that you don’t really care about the answers anyway.

  • Darryl

    Bravo, Miko.

  • Ash

    Brendon Lake said,

    June 17, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    Seen those questions, most of them are dumb

    next….

    does this mean you can answer them? and without ‘dumb’ answers such as those Jen suggested…?

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    These are all excellent questions to convince someone to give up their biblical literalism and belief in inerrancy (I’d probably use some of them myself if I were arguing with a literalist). Whether or not they would cause someone to lose faith altogether would probably depend on whether they can accept a different way to understand the Bible other than literalism and inerrantism.

  • Maria

    A lot of those are good questions, many of which I’ve wondered myself, especially lately. I’m shocked at some of those answers! I’ll try to answer with some of what I was taught for the questions I remember asking, b/c believe it or not I asked some of the same questions, and I had a pretty liberal (non literary bible) upbringing where I was encouragred to question, and I think some of the answers I got might be a step above what this guy got. If when I asked a questions someone didn’t know, they usually just told me, they didn’t know. If you don’t like these answers don’t blame me. I’m just passing on what I heard. Do I believe it? Umm, it’s kinda hard to believe quite a bit of it now. If anything like this did happen these accounts are shady at best. Okay, answers:

    “Why does Paul only say Jesus was born of a woman like everyone else?”

    B/c apparently in the language they spoke back then, the word “virgin” and “young woman” meant the same thing, b/c it was assumed all young unmarried women were virgins. This answer didn’t make sense to me much b/c Paul said “woman” not “young woman”……..

    How come Jesus never wrote anything himself while alive, but then writes perfect Greek after he is dead in the form of the Book of Revelation?”

    Jesus didn’t write Revelations. The apostle John did, and it was based on a dream he (John) had. Most of it is metaphorical. There is also belief that some of it may have been deliberately written against Rome (the city on seven hills) b/c Rome was persecuting Christians at the time

    “Isn’t it strange the man who writes most of the New Testament and tells us all how to live, think and believe about Jesus, never met him, while the Twelve who did, vanish into thin air and write nothing/”

    The books of Matthew and John were supposedly written by 2 of Jesus’s apostles, Matthew and John.

    If Jesus was asked ‘who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?’, would that not imply the man had sinned before his birth, perhaps in a previous life, if his blindness at birth was some kind of punishment? I mean, the blindness was from birth, so the sin had to be before that.”

    No, it implies that the man had committed some sin in this life. Ancient Jewish teaching was that if you got an affliction, you had done something bad to deserve it, and/or if you were born with it, your parents had.

    Pastor…What difference does it make for Matthew and Luke to show us Jesus family connections from Mary and Joseph back to King David and Adam, when God was his real Father? Aren’t geneologies meaningless since Joseph was a stop father, and all coming before him would be step ancestors to Jesus. So Jesus can’t be connected back to King David as the line breaks between Jesus and Joseph. Right?

    Supposedly Mary was descended from David too, though I’ve never seen any evidence of this even in the bible.


    Why doesn’t Mark know anything about Jesus birth stories?

    John Mark (supposedly his full name) did not know Jesus, and got a lot of this stuff second hand, supposedly a lot of it came from Luke (which makes me wonder why Mark’s and Luke’s gospel aren’t more alike?)

    Question. Pastor…Why would all the Angels and Heavenly hosts go out and sing this “glory to God in the highest and peace on earth, goodwill to men,” to a few shepherds in the field. How about a bigger audience, like Jerusalem or at least the whole town of Bethlehem?

    It was a symbol to show that Jesus came for everyone, including the most poor and humble people.

    I remember asking about how humans and dinosaurs could coexist. After all, they had to be a part of the creation story, even though not mentioned specifically. Or why would dinosaurs be taken on the ark, only to go extinct such a short time after? And how do you cage a T-Rex or fit a Brontosaurus on such a boat, much less a pair of all sorts?

    This never came up, as we believed in evolution :)

    “Did Paul ever spend five minutes with the real human Jesus?”

    Not really. He saw Jesus in a vision.

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    “Isn’t it strange the man who writes most of the New Testament and tells us all how to live, think and believe about Jesus, never met him, while the Twelve who did, vanish into thin air and write nothing/”

    The books of Matthew and John were supposedly written by 2 of Jesus’s apostles, Matthew and John.

    And don’t forget about the letters written by Peter and James and John. And we don’t really know who wrote Hebrews, but it very well could have been by one of the original 12.

    But the main reason we don’t have more from the 12 and a lot from Paul and Luke is that Paul and Luke were highly educated and literate while the 12 were mostly fishermen and other lower class tradesmen that probably never made it past the first level of Torah school. A lot of them might not have even been literate. Matthew, as a tax collector, is one of the few who likely was literate, and well, we have a gospel attributed to him. Keep in mind that this is a primarily oral culture and the early disciples may have seen no need to write everything down. Why bother when you could just as easily remember it in your head and pass the story along by word of mouth? What is surprising then is not that we have so few writings from the early apostles, but that we have so many.

  • Maria

    Thanks for clarifying Mike C that does make more sense. I heard that Peter wrote part of Acts of the Apostles as well?

  • Jen

    Keep in mind that this is a primarily oral culture and the early disciples may have seen no need to write everything down. Why bother when you could just as easily remember it in your head and pass the story along by word of mouth?

    Of course, anthropologists now say that it is unlikely that oral tradition really preserved anything entirely properly. I know, Wikipedia is worth the paper it is printed on, but I used to live with a cultural anthro major, so I will have to ask her for some better sources. Not that I think anyone knew about this modern day research in 65 CE.

  • Logos

    I know, Wikipedia is worth the paper it is printed on
    but Wikipedia is not printed, it is online

  • Pingback: CelticBear’s Musings » Blog Archive » Some very good, and entertaining, Biblical questions.

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    Thanks for clarifying Mike C that does make more sense. I heard that Peter wrote part of Acts of the Apostles as well?

    I hadn’t heard that, though early church writers said that Mark’s gospel was based primarily on transcriptions of Peter’s sermons since Mark was a disciple of Peter’s.

  • http://emergingpensees.blogspot.com/ Mike C

    I know, Wikipedia is worth the paper it is printed on
    but Wikipedia is not printed, it is online

    Thank you Captain Obvious! ;)

  • Jen

    Yes, Logos… a joke.

  • Brendon Lake

    @ Miko

    Thanks for taking the time and replying, I’m a bit of a noob on the forums and it’s not like I’m going to take the time to go through all the stuff posted in the past.

  • Siamang

    Brendon…

    To read more on abiogenesis, check this link. The folks at Harvard are hard at work on the big questions.

  • http://cajoneador.blogspot.com Gary (aka fool4jesus)

    Thanks for posting this link. I don’t know what’s worse – that pastors are not willing to entertain answers to most of those questions (if they in fact did not) or that atheists use things like this to prop up their unbelief. It’s a great list to show my 14-year old son to show him how weak the typical atheist’s argument is.

    Note carefully: I agree that many of these are good questions. I have no problem with good questions: and my kids have many. The problem I have is somebody refusing to accept a reasonable answer due to one’s presuppositions.

    I should note that I do take the Bible as literally true, and honestly that does lead to a [very] few head-scratching situations; but compared to the massive problems I see with being an atheist and what drives people to atheism they are minimal. (I say this as somebody who considered himself an atheist, or at the least an agnostic, for a few years.)


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