Theism, in its broadest sense, is the belief in the existence of at least one divine, supernatural being (deity). This list aims to compile the most challenging questions for theists of various faiths.
Religious people overwhelmingly follow the religion of their parents, their surrounding culture or both. If this applies to you, don't you find it convenient that you just happened to stumble upon the right religion without investigating the thousands of other potential options?
Why is your god angry at things he could easily have predicted?
If Noah's ark landed in a single location, freeing all the species, then why did every single species of kangaroo (red kangaroo, tree kangaroo, wallaby, etc.) migrate all the way to Australia/New Guinea? Why did all of the guinea pig variants (chinchillas and the like) all go to South America? Why aren't there ANY exceptions to this?
In the Bible, God kills approximately 25 million people. He kills millions of innocent animals and children in Noah's Flood (Gen. 7:21–23), the firstborn of the Egyptians (Ex. 12:29–30) and countless others. Do you believe that in every last case, killing was the best possible course of action?
How is the universe only 6000 years old if we can see more than 6000
light years away from Earth?
Do you think you could be happy in heaven for enternity if some of your loved ones aren't there with you knowing that they're suffering in hell?
If the Bible is the inerrant word of god, why isn't it internally consistent?
How come nobody bothered to write down anything Jesus said or did until around 40 years after he died? How come nobody living (and writing) at the time even mentioned him?
Why does an all-loving God grant permission for men to own/beat slaves and wives?
If you believe in an immaterial soul how would you explain personality changes brought about by brain trauma?
Is God unable or unwilling to prevent child-abuse?
If god is a perfect designer, why our bodies have things like appendicitis, wisdom teeth etc.?
If god designed humans, why are 80% of all fetuses automatically aborted?
Rape, torture, genocide, starvation, child abuse, suicide: This is all part of God's plan. And for that matter, why would an omnipotent being need a plan at all?
Does a person go to hell if they never hear about god?
For Muslims: Why was it okay for the prophet to be a pedophile but not okay nowadays when the Koran is supposed to set absolute moral standards?
What sense does it make for an omnipotent God to sacrifice Himself to Himself to appease Himself for His children's benefit?
If the bible was written as a divine inspiration from god, why is it that nothing was put into it that was not already known at the time. For example: Why doesn't the bible mention Australia or kangaroos at all?
Please explain the collection and loading process of 6.5 million
land-dwelling species into a boat, and then the proceeding 377 day journey during the flood (with particular reference to the feeding regimes of the creatures).
Why is faith such a primary virtue?
If faith is a reliable way of reaching truth, why does it lead people to such inconsistent conclusions? Why does it result in so many thousands of religions, and even thousands of conflicting Christian sects?
Why would God provide us with the faculties of logic and reasoning, then expect us not to use it when it comes to belief in him?
Why are you so easily convinced that other religions are false, even though you know barely anything about most of them.
God already has a perfect plan for the world. If we pray for something that's already in that plan, the prayer is redundant. If we pray for something that's not in that plan, the prayer is futile. What, then, is the point of asking for things in prayer?
Why won't God heal amputees?
Scientists have found parts of the brain associated with religious experiences. Brain activity looks the same in Franciscan nuns communing with God, and meditating Zen Buddhists experiencing oneness with the universe. Both psychedelic mushrooms and temporal lobe epilepsy can cause a similar religious fervor. Why would God give us brains that are so easily fooled by false religious experiences—and how do you know yours aren't among them?
Can you please explain to me why the idea of an infinite god of uncertain origin is acceptable, but an infinite universe of uncertain origin is not?
"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?" - Epicurus – Greek philosopher, BC 341-270
Can god create a jar he can't open?
Why does an omnipotent God require blood sacrifices to appease him?
We’d expect a perfectly wise, good God to have a composed, even-handed personality. Yet God brags that he'll make Israel's enemies eat their own children and grow drunk with their own blood (Isa. 49:26; Jer. 19:9), he delights in animal sacrifice (Lev. 1:1–9), he's so jealous of other gods that "Jealous" is his very name (Ex. 34:12–16), and Moses has to calm his fury to keep him from killing his own people (Ex. 32:1–14; Num. 16:41–55). Does this sound more like a transcendent deity or a vindictive tribal leader invented by a barbaric Iron Age culture?
Why is there so much manmade evil in the world? The usual response is that God allows it because he values our capacity to freely choose between goodness and sin. But in heaven, a place supposedly free from sin, people would presumably have free will. If God is capable of somehow allowing these two conditions to coexist, why not do the same on earth and prevent tremendous suffering?
Your religion makes some truly extraordinary claims about the world. Do you have any strong, verifiable evidence to back them up? If not, why believe?
Could the Bible be fiction?
Why does an all-loving God command that His children should be killed for violating petty laws?
The Bible contains several instances of failed prophecy. For example, Jesus repeatedly said he would return to earth before the disciples and the rest of that generation had died (Matt. 10:23, 24:34; Mark 9:1, 14:61–62). The New Testament writers said his return was imminent and would not be delayed (1 Cor. 7:29–31; Heb. 10:36–37; 1 John 2:18). So why hasn't Jesus returned after almost 2,000 years?
How do you know God speaks exclusively through old, male, Jewish political leaders who lived two to three millennia ago?
In the Bible, God directly sanctions permanent slavery (Lev. 25:44–46), as well as the beating of slaves to within an inch of their life (Ex. 21:20–21). There’s even a loophole allowing Israelites to use emotional blackmail to permanently enslave entire families (Ex. 21:2–6). Is this consistent with a God who claims to be the personification of love?
Why would an omniscient God create a soul he knows will suffer in hell for all eternity?
How is, "Do exactly what I say or die and suffer for eternity." Giving people free will?
Why does a perfect God make commandments against things like eating shellfish, not cutting your sideburns, not mixing threads, etc?
Why does God allow natural evils like floods, earthquakes, wildfires, famine, hurricanes, pestilence and disease? Even if these phenomena are a punishment for human sin, it seems unjust for them to be doled out indiscriminately: For example, why must billions of animals suffer through no fault of their own, and why do about 17,000 children starve to death every day?
If God is engineering evolution, why is he helping the bacteria and not us?
Why are dinosaurs not mentioned in the bible.
Why does the Bible, if it is directly inspired by an omniscient deity, not contain any information of practical use? 'Disease is caused by germs,' 'The Earth is a sphere,' 'Look! Here's how to make a bicycle!' ... That sort of thing.
Adam was created in god's image, therefore God has a penis and testicles. Why?
If God is perfect and unchanging, then why did God's behavior and expectations change between the Old Testament and the New?
You may expect God to have a positive impact on the world. But both good and bad things are bound to happen even if God doesn't exist. If you credit God for the good things that happen and never blame him for the bad, all without any sort of evidence, isn't your expectation self-fulfilling?
In the Bible, God bemoans the idea of female leadership (Isa. 3:12), says through his servant Paul that women are to be silent and submissive in church (1 Cor. 14:34–35; 1 Tim. 2:11–14), and sanctions the forced marriage and rape of female captives by the very men who had just slaughtered their families (Deut. 21:10–14). Is this compatible with a perfectly just and loving God?
If you had grown up in Ancient Egypt, you'd probably belief in Ra. If you had grown up in Ancient Greece, you'd probably believe in Zeus. If you had grown up in Saudi Arabia, you would probably be Muslim. If you had grown up in India, you would probably be Hindu. What makes you so sure you've grown up with the 'correct' religion?
If god designed humans, why do we have an appendix, and a coccyx?
If 2 million Israelites resided as slaves in Egypt, wandered in the desert for 40 years and conquered a host of rival nations, we would expect to find massive, widespread archaeological evidence—but we don't. Instead, excavations have revealed the Israelites as a relatively small Canaanite tribe whose "conquered" cities were often uninhabited at the purported conquest date (e.g. Jericho was already in ruins a century earlier). How can inerrantists account for this?
If god designed humans, why do our teeth wear out so quickly, and why do we not get a 3rd set, or teeth which continuously regrow?
Praying does not affect the survival rate of sick patients. Several studies
have proven this.
What punishment should be given to a woman who gets an abortion? (since she has killed a child)
The Genesis creation story directly conflicts with evolution. Endogenous retroviruses— remains of viruses embedded in the genome millions of years ago—appear at the same place in human and other primate genomes. We've found many key transitional fossils like Tiktaalik (fish to tetrapods), Archaeopteryx (dinosaurs to birds) and Homo habilis (human ancestors). Atavisms like teeth in chickens, legs in whales and tails in humans sometimes reappear as relics of evolutionary history. Can creationism offer a better explanation for such evidence?
Careful study of the Bible reveals many internal contradictions. For instance, Matthew 2:1–20 says Jesus was born a few years before Herod the Great died in 4 BC. Yet Luke 2:1–2 says Jesus was born during the Census of Quirinius, which occurred in 6 AD—well after Herod's death. Why do the two gospels contradict each other?
If you believe in Noah and the Ark, how do you explain the migration of all the animals from the final resting place of the ark to their current locations? Do you expect me to believe that the Koala Bear treked all the way from wherever to Australia?
You base your life off of a 2000 year old twice translated book written by nomadic goat herding Jews and the Roman Government that contains talking snakes, talking donkeys, the earth being flooded, every species of animal being on one boat, Jews in Egypt with no record of them being there, burning talking bushes, laws where punishment involved being stoned to death, people being turned into pillars of salt, god impregnating a woman to give birth to himself so he could save us even though he might have us burn for eternity anyway, people walking on water and healing lepers but not doing anything to really help society or explain for instance what germs are much less helping anyone not in the middle east area, a guy being killed and coming back from the dead only to then leave again with the promise to be back before his followers tasted death, and prophecies that include such things as the stars falling to the earth? - /u/liquidpele
If god designed humans, why do so many women die in child birth?
Why would an omnipotent, all-loving God send His children to a place of everlasting torture? Wouldn't it have been better to have never created anyone than to see one of your children suffer for eternity?
In the story of Job, God makes a bet with Satan. In order for this to have been recorded, somebody must have seen God and Satan talking. This is obviously a fictional story designed to teach a moral lesson, which is fine. But how do you know which other parts of the Bible are fictional and which parts are meant to be taken literally?
How can you preach the Bible or say you believe in it if you've never read the original documents in its original language or studied its historical and cultural background? If you truly believed that the Bible was the word of God wouldn't you want to do everything you could to learn Hebrew and Aramaic?
Frontotemporal dementia can alter one's entire worldview, including one's religion, and severing connections between the two brain hemispheres reveals that they respond independently and hold different desires and beliefs. In one case, a brain’s right hemisphere professed theism, and the left, atheism. How do you explain the concept of the soul in light of such phenomena? Do these souls go to heaven or hell?
The Euthyphro Dilemma asks, "Is whatever God does good by definition, or does he merely follow some outside standard of goodness?" If the former, God would be good even if he did everything that we now call evil, so does it even mean anything to call God "good"? If the latter, shouldn't we judge him according to that standard?
The billions of people who don't believe that Jesus died for their sins will supposedly suffer everlasting punishment in hell. Take a moment to really think about the gravity of a punishment that has no end. How is God justified in carrying out this punishment? What makes even the tiniest sin so heinous that it must be met with infinite suffering?
Why did god already mess up since his first creation (Adam and Eve).
How can he be expected to lead billions of people?
Please describe Natural Selection in detail.
If God Himself came to you tomorrow and told you that you should reject Jesus, to throw him out of your heart, to no longer pray, would you listen? Would you obey God? (No, of course not, it's just Satan.) So you believe your own knowledge more than God himself? (God wouldn't do that.) So you believe your own knowledge more than God himself? (It wouldn't be God. It would be Satan.) How would you know? (Because he tells me to disobey God.) Jesus also told you to disobey God, to turn back all the teachings he gave to Moses, to no longer make blood sacrifices to repent for sin, and so on. (But Jesus is God.) How do you know Jesus wasn't Satan? /u/dnew
If there are so many metaphors in the Bible, how do you know the story of Jesus' death and the concept of salvation weren't metaphors also? How do you know the story of Adam and Eve wasn't a metaphor? And if it was a metaphor and never really happened then there was no original sin for Jesus to die for. Does that mean Jesus died for nothing? Or did a metaphor die for a metaphor? Would that even mean anything?
You believe your religion is the one true religion. How do you know one of the other, older or newer religions aren't the one true religion? If your answer is because you have faith then how do you explain the billions of other people who have faith that their religion is the right one? How can you be sure you're not the deluded one? If you go by numbers, there are more Muslims than Christians. Why is that? Why isn't the Holy Spirit working in more people's hearts?
Many adherents of other religions believe just as strongly as you do. They often even cite similar reasons for belief, and cite reasons for not believing in your religion that mirror your reasons for not believing in theirs. Do these parallels concern you?
If God made the universe for us, we would expect it to be hospitable and human-scaled. But the universe is billions of light-years across, composed mostly of dark energy and filled with black holes, cosmic radiation and the vacuum of space. Why is the universe so full of vast, uninhabitable emptiness?
Biblical genealogies imply that the universe is about 6,000 years old instead of 13.8 billion. This is disproved by data from tree rings, ice layering, coral reefs, lunar craters, continental drift, distant starlight, human civilizations and more. As another example, scientists have traced back the orbits of the Baptistina asteroid family and found that they were formed by a collision that occurred 80 million years ago. Can the young earth view offer a better explanation for such evidence?
Mark 1:4: "//John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.//" If the remission of sins was possible even before Jesus began his ministry, why was Jesus' sacrifice even necessary?
What about the thousands of other religions that preach much the same message?
If the Bible was written by a perfect God then why is there no common denominator across all the commandments in the Bible? Why are they so haphazard?
If the Bible is the perfect word of God then why are there any inconsistencies and contradictions in it let alone the vast number that there are?
One day in 1995, thousands of people across India and throughout the world allegedly witnessed statues of the Hindu god Ganesha drink milk that was fed to them from a spoon. The Hindu milk miracle has widespread, modern eyewitness testimony and even video evidence in its favor. Why do you believe in Christian miracles, but not in other miraculous phenomena that offer much better evidence?
The gospel message—the very core of Christianity—seems fundamentally unjust: In what sense is temporarily punishing one innocent man an acceptable substitute for endlessly punishing billions of guilty people?
This message seems not only unjust, but patently illogical: God (the Father) has another part of God (the Son) killed to save humanity from being punished… by God. Why couldn't God just decide to forgive us without killing Jesus?
Salvation depends on belief in a specific event that most people who've ever lived never even knew about: people in remote parts of the world, human zygotes (half of which abort spontaneously before birth), the severely mentally disabled, etc. If these people go to hell, how is that consistent with a God of love? If they go to heaven, does that mean God doesn't value their free will to choose or reject God's gift of salvation?
God is supposedly a single being. But in what sense can the Father, Son and Holy Spirit be considered one and the same God when they have different wills (Luke 22:41–42), different knowledge (Mark 13:32) and different levels of authority (John 14:28; 1 Cor. 11:3)?
In Deuteronomy 13:6–10, God says that if an Israelite's loved one came to them suggesting serving other gods, the Israelite was to help stone that loved one to death—a slow, gruesome, agonizing fate. Imagine that you and your dearest loved one were Israelites, and they suggested worshipping some other god. Would you aid in killing them as God commanded?
If you see the passages above as perfectly good and just, would you still see them that way if you had read them in the Quran?
If the Bible is the inspired word of God, why are there so many differences between different copies of our oldest manuscripts? For example, why is the story of Jesus and the woman taken in adultery (John 7:53-8:11) not in all copies of John? If some copies are faulty, how do we know any copy is correct?
Most religious people do not follow all of the rules in their holy book. Christians, for example, will defend this either stating that Jesus died for their sins so one is allowed to sin so long as they believe in Christ. If that was the case what is the point of having those other sins listed? Also why did God have to kill Jesus (or Himself depending on your interpretation) to redeem sins, when he could have just never written them down to begin with.
Why was Adam created with genitalia if there were no female humans on earth until god created eve?
How does disproving evolution prove creation?
If Jesus died to pay for our sins, then exactly whom did he pay? And how did the recipient of this payment benefit from this payment? And how exactly does Jesus dying have anything to do with the sins committed by other people?
If god "designed" humans, why are our retinas in backwards, so that everything we see is fuzzy as fuck, blurred red, and our retinas detach from the back of the eye with only a modest knock to the head?
If god designed humans, why do our fetuses have a tale and gills early on?
Ezekiel 23:20 "There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses."
What makes you certain you are right and everyone else is wrong?
Is it honest to believe in something you don't know is real?
What is the difference between a religion, and a cult? Answer: When one person believes his imaginary friend is real, (s)he is called "mentally ill", or "delusional". When a few dozen people believe their imaginary friend is real, they are called a "cult", or a "sect". When millions of people believe their imaginary friend is real, it is called a "religion". Another answer: About 200 years.
If the only way to get to Heaven is to believe in Jesus then what happened to all the people all over the world who died the day (or year or century) after Jesus' sacrifice and never had a chance to hear about Jesus? Did they go to Hell? If so, how is that fair?
Why does the Bible regard sex as such an evil thing when God Himself created us all to be sex addicts? And if sex is evil and God created us to be sex addicts then wouldn't that mean that God put sin in us and thus set us up for failure?
God is often said to answer prayer in three ways: "Yes," "No" and "Wait." But if God's responses are so vague, how could you distinguish them from the results of prayer to any other god?
In Mark 16:15–18, Jesus lists several signs that "will follow those who believe," including drinking poison with no ill effects. The few Christians who try this fail unless they take special precautions, like ingesting it only in small, harmless amounts. Why is this? (If you believe this passage is a forgery, as most scholars do, why would God allow it into the Bible?)
The diameter of the observable universe is ~93 billion light-years. If we built spaceships and started expanding into our universe at the greatest speed we can possibly attain, 1c, even given another 6000 years, we could explore only a sphere 6000 light-years in radius. That would be less than one billionth of one billionth of 0.03% of the observable universe. ((6000^3)/(9.3x10^10)^3 = 2.6853748e-22)
Did God create a universe that is so huge that we just will never be expected to explore most of it in the time we have or does his plan allow us many more billions of billions of years to explore it?? If the first, for whom is the rest of the universe intended? If the second, when the second coming?
Do you think it's possible theists might have misinterpreted technologically superior organisms as deities? Why or why not?
Do you care about whether or not your beliefs are true? What is the best way to determine if a claim is true or false?
Why did God sent Jesus in the first place? Then, why did he had to (or unable to prevent) kill Jesus? Why did God go into so much trouble? Couldn't god just flick his fingers? And why did he seem to always messed up with human?
And why does Jesus death mean human salvation? What does it actually mean?
If Christianity is the one, why does it only account for 1/3 of world population?
Does the rest 2/3 of population go to Hell because they don't believe in Jesus?
Why did god not take some blame for Adam and Eve's mistakes? They, the apple and the snake were his creation after all. Does this mean his creations were defective? Or was he just incapable of creating something perfect?
Please fully explain why you believe in your deity?
Why are atheists so eager to challenge religion? -A non religious random.
Is God bound by the rules of logic?
Can God create a triangle with 4 sides?
What is the difference between faith and a baseless claim?
"Why do you believe in God?" Then keep pressing further.