Quick Replies to Tough Questions

Quick Replies to Tough Questions

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Image by Kasun Chamara from Pixabay

I have been teaching the last few weeks at our Sunday morning men’s group, and for the last two Sunday’s have posed some tough questions for them to consider. 

Here are three questions they wrestled with that may leave a Christian flat-footed the first time they hear it. 

If you were born in Saudi Arabia, you would be a Muslim. If you were born in India, you would probably be a Hindu. The only reason you’re a Christian is that you were born in America or that your parents raised you as a Christian.

You have made a ‘choice’ to be a Christian, not because your parents or grandparents were Christian. A family’ heritage’ is something that is handed down, usually something that adds honor or pride to a family or individual. A heritage is acquired because of one’s birth into a family or inheritance received, not because of a deed, action, choice, or behavior.

For example, my own family had a heritage of naming the firstborn boy John. We had several generations of John’s in my family, my older brother, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, etc. I don’t know who started it or why, but I ended it. I much prefer Jedidiah over John, so we named our son Jedidiah John. 

When someone tells you you are a Christian because you were born into a Christian family, or you are a Muslim because your parents were Muslim, or Hindu because you were born in India, commit the genetic fallacy.

I may have started out as a Christian because I was born into a Christian family, but that has nothing to do with the ‘truth’ of my religion. People (often professors in college) will be the first to make this claim to young believers. You’re a Christian because you were born in America. Many students will have never heard this before and do not have a thoughtful, reasoned response. It could be the first in a long line of objections that undermine their faith. We need to be Christians who are Christians because it is true, not because our parents were Christians.

Students need to have established their faith within themselves before they go to college or join the workforce, or at least begin the process. The truth of their belief has nothing to do with their being born into that religion. Hopefully, they have some reasons for their faith (reasons they can share with others), and they’re not just parroting their parent’s beliefs.

God states in Exodus 20:13 You shall not murder. But, then in Joshua and Judges, God allows and even commands people to murder and destroy cities, all the men, women, and children. Isn’t that a contradiction?

It is not about what people call murder, but what God calls murder. Murder is killing that is not morally justified.

Yes, God called for the destruction of cities and people groups, but there is an essential distinction between killing and murder. I will add that if you make it, you own it. God granted us our lives, and He has the prerogative to take them away.

For example, the Canaanites were not destroyed because of race, religion, or land. Neither were they killed to convert to Judaism. It was their sin. They were a violent people who practiced idolatry, group sex, rape, bestiality, and child sacrifice.

The earliest Canaanite laws prescribed the death penalty for incest, but a few centuries later, it was a mere economic penalty, liken it to a parking ticket.

We also have sources outside the Bible that confirm child sacrifice was taking place regularly within the Canaanite religion; no other ancient culture did this consistently.

If God is so loving and forgiving, why can’t he be more tolerant of our sin?

God is loving, God is forgiving, and God is merciful, but that is not necessarily the same as being tolerant. The word tolerant today has changed into being accepting of other views. That is, you have to agree with them, not just tolerate them.

Look up tolerance online, from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, and you will see the words “marked by forbearance or endurance.” In other words, you have to struggle with something that rubs you the wrong way, something you find disagreeable or even painful.

There is a reason God does not tolerate sin. His nature is holy and pure. There is no impurity within Him, and He cannot be in any kind of relationship with sin.

It is His combination of mercy and justice that gives us the answer we so desperately need. His mercy by itself cannot satisfy his perfect justice any more than His justice can be satisfied by His perfect mercy. Both demand a Godly response.

The sin has to be paid for, and His paying for it not only satisfies His justice but His mercy. God is VERY intolerant of sin, but His love for us, His mercy toward us, provides a way for us as imperfect vessels to dwell with a holy and perfect being.


Quick Replies To Tough Questions by James W Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.dev.christianapologetics.blog/blog.

Do You Really Believe Abortion Is Wrong?

Do You Really Believe Abortion Is Wrong?

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Do you really believe abortion is the killing of an innocent human being? Then why shouldn’t women receive the death penalty or be put in prison?

I read this question for the first time when I viewed the Steve Chapman article that was mentioned on a podcast I listen to.

Concerning the pro-life voices claiming abortion is the killing of innocent human beings Steve Chapman a Chicago Tribune columnist says, “…this is a rhetorical device or a moral conceit, not a well-thought-out conviction. The vast majority of people who endorse it really don’t mean it. Even they exhibit a deep sense that a fetus has an appreciably lower status than an actual person.”((Chapman, Steve. “I don’t think abortion is murder, and neither do you.” Chicago Tribune, chicagotribune.com, 27 April 2018. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chapman/ct-perspec-chapman-abortion-murder-williamson-homicide-0429-20180427-story.html))

His point is well taken. How many Christians do you know that are vocal about abortion, claiming it is the taking of an innocent life? Then those same Christians turn around endorsing, and even supporting healing and counseling for women who have had abortions, never punishment. How many of us would say the same for a woman who killed her innocent two-year-old?

Jeanne Mancini, president of the pro-life organization March for life said, “Being pro-life means wanting what is best for the mother and the baby. Women who choose abortion often do so in desperation and then deeply regret such a decision. No pro-lifer would ever want to punish a woman who has chosen abortion. This is against the very nature of what we are about. We invite a woman who has gone down this route to consider paths to healing, not punishment.”((Peck, Bethany. “No Pro-Life American Advocates Punishment For Abortion.” March For Life, marchforlife.org, 30 March 2016. http://marchforlife.org/no-pro-life-american/))

What is up with that? How can Christians claim abortion is the killing of innocent human beings, but then do an about face and huddle around women who have had abortions and suggest counseling for healing vs a concrete cell.

What would you say to someone who pointed that out to you as Steve Chapman did in his column? Chapmen went on to argue that if you really consider abortion murder then you should agree that women who have abortions should be punished. If not, then your not being consistent in your Christian convictions. If it is murder then punish them, if not then get out of the way, give women the choice to do what they want with their own body and quit calling it murder. Chapman wrote, “About 1 of every 4 American women will have an abortion by age 45, according to the Guttmacher Institute. If you regard abortion as murder and think your sister, daughter, aunt, niece, cousin or friend should go to prison for decades — or be executed — if she ever terminated a pregnancy, you’re being consistent. If you regard abortion as murder and think they deserve a gentle path to healing, you’re not.”((Chapman, Steve. “I don’t think abortion is murder, and neither do you.” Chicago Tribune, chicagotribune.com, 27 April 2018. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chapman/ct-perspec-chapman-abortion-murder-williamson-homicide-0429-20180427-story.html))

I personally believe abortion is the killing of an innocent human being, but like virtually every other Christian I know I don’t believe women should be punished for having an abortion. Why is that? If you feel the same way can your reasoning to someone who is pro-choice?

Science is clear on when life begins. Science is also clear that at the moment of conception life begins and if left alone this new life will develop and grow into an adult human.

Should women get the death penalty for killing an innocent human being? Absolutely not, but that does not mean I don’t think abortion is the killing of an innocent human being.

Imagine if a woman is about to roll forward in her truck knowing full well that an infant is just in front of one of her tires. This woman knows the child is there. She saw the child, touched the child, heard the child. Has no doubt about the child being just in front of her tire, but goes ahead and rolls forward. None of us would consider this accidental, and everyone would agree that this woman is guilty of murdering an innocent child.

Now imagine another woman also has a child in front of one of her truck tires. We know the child is there, we see the child, touched the child, heard the child, but the woman does not believe the child is there. She is convinced, has no doubt in her mind, completely self-assured, there is nothing but dirt and gravel in front of all four tires. Rolling forward would mean rolling over dirt, gravel and other inanimate objects. Then she pulls forward killing the child.

Would we punish both women the same? Of course not, one knew full well what she was doing, the other did not.

Steve Chapman article makes us look at two questions to be considered over the abortion issue. First, is abortion morally right or morally wrong? The second question is a policy question, not an ethical question. The second question begs for guidelines once the moral question is answered. If it is decided that abortion is wrong then what should be the consequences or public policy for women and men who are guilty of committing abortion?((Shlemon, Alan. “Do Pro-Lifers Really Think Abortion Is Murder?” Audio blog post. STR Weekly Audio. STR.org, 7 June 2018. Web. 14 July 2018))

Alan Shlemon in an STR.org podcast points out that we may be able to decide on the first question, (many of us have) if abortion right or wrong, but may not be able to easily solve the second question. What to do with those who are guilty of committing abortion.((Shlemon, Alan. “Do Pro-Lifers Really Think Abortion Is Murder?” Audio blog post. STR Weekly Audio. STR.org, 7 June 2018. Web. 14 July 2018))

Keep in mind our society has already dealt with the issue of killing the unborn. Currently, we have 38 states that recognize the unborn and its status as a victim of crime and consequently punish those who have caused the death or injury of the unborn. In 2004 the ‘Unborn Victims of Violence Act‘ was passed and the U.S. recognized over 60 federal crimes of violence against the unborn. One example can be found in the Scott Peterson case where he was found guilty of double homicide 2004 of the murder of his wife Laci and his unborn son Connor. 

Shlemon points out that even if we can’t decide on a punishment for those who break the law, (if abortion was illegal) that does not mean it is ethically acceptable to have abortions. There are many considerations, motives, intent, and understanding of the actions taken. I personally believe that many women are duped into believing the unborn is nothing more than a clump of cells with little or no consideration to the growing life within them. If not coerced they are certainly encouraged in Planned Parenthood clinics throughout our nation to have the abortions.

Steve Chapman ends his article with, “If abortion is not murder, it is impossible to justify banning it, early in pregnancy or later. Women have the right to control their own bodies — have knee surgery or not, donate blood or not, go sky diving or not. The freedom to end a pregnancy is part of that physical autonomy.”((Chapman, Steve. “I don’t think abortion is murder, and neither do you.” Chicago Tribune, chicagotribune.com, 27 April 2018. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chapman/ct-perspec-chapman-abortion-murder-williamson-homicide-0429-20180427-story.html))

This is, of course, the argument pro-choice advocates have been waving for decades. Women have the right to choose, they can do what they want with their own bodies. Nonsense! Women can’t strap bombs to their body and walk in public places, women can’t consume drugs and alcohol when they choose, women can’t sell their own bodies whenever and wherever they want. We all have restrictions on our bodies and we don’t have the right to choose.

Yes, women can have knee surgery, donate blood, skydive or not, and it is pathetic Chapman would even compare abortions to that list of preferences, as if having an abortion was nothing more consequential than deciding on your flavor of ice cream for that evening. The question of what they are aborting remains. If the unborn is life, human life, growing, developing human life, and science is clear that it is, then that life has weight on the justice scale of inherent human value.

Sources:

The ultimate correctional facility

Reading Time: 3 minutesWhat purpose does hell serve? If it is punishment for sinful actions, shouldn’t it be used for correctional purposes? Seeing as how you burn forever, you will never get out of hell to show that you have learned your lesson. Would it make sense to live a faithful Christian life glorifying the Lord and to accidentally sin by saying a curse word the instant you smash your car into the back of a tractor-trailer, thereby being condemned to burn in hell forever?

This completely misrepresents, or at the very least entirely misunderstands, the gift of salvation and forgiveness of sins offered within the Christian world view.

Christ’s sacrifice is not yanked out from under our feet, like a rug on a smooth hardwood floor, the first time we commit the smallest of sins. And where does it say we will burn forever in Scripture?

As Christians, we are to be Christ like to the best of our abilities, but since we are not perfect, we will never be able to live sinless lives. The whole reason Christ died for us is so we can be forgiven and have eternal life, despite imperfections. Sound too good to be true? Yes, it does sometimes.

Who among us does not want someone who wrongs us or others to pay for their deeds? Ever get cut off by a reckless speeding driver and then hope to see them pulled over a few minutes later? I do every time. If someone commits a murder for private, or selfish gain, and they are caught, we can and do expect them to be put behind bars for life, if they don’t receive the death penalty. We don’t expect that kind of person to be corrected in a correctional facility and then to be set free. We expect them to be punished for a very long time, possibly for the rest of their life for the murder committed.

What is so hard to understand that a perfect and holy God cannot abide by anything less than a perfect and loving character? We expect people to live up to our standards and abide by the laws that govern our society. When the laws are broken, or our own version of ‘what is fair’ and ‘right’ is upset, we righteously expect there to be a consequence for the wrong done to us or others.

If there is a perfect and holy God, and I believe there is, then why can’t He expect a consequence for wrongs done? Yet, unlike a murder committed in our world, those of us who commit murder can plead forgiveness and live an eternal life with our Creator.

In all other religions, we must work toward God and make efforts to bridge the gap that is between us and God. In Christianity, Jesus bridges the gap, because without him it is impossible for us to meet the conditions. Have you ever lied? Have you ever stolen? Have you ever use the Lord’s name in vain? In Matthew 5: 27-29 it says, “You have heard that it was said to those of old,‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Whoa! So if we just think about it, we are sinning? If you are a guy like me, good luck with that one! None of us can meet these conditions, any more than someone can run the mile in 10 seconds, or lift 10,000 pounds.

In the King James version of the Bible, the word hate is used a total of 87 times as opposed to the word love, which was used 310 times in both the Old and New Testament. The word hell is used 31 times in the Old Testament and 23 in the New Testament, again in the King James version. The word heaven is used 327 times in the Old Testament and 255 in the New Testament. I can’t help but think there is a bias slant portrayed by atheists and skeptics who focus on the punishment rather than on the forgiveness offered.

The fellow who posted the 50 Questions Christian’s can’t answer, (this is number 15) misses the point time and time again.

Christianity offers forgiveness that is everlasting, so we can live an eternal life with our God the Father. The world offers its version of forgiveness, but after you pay for the crime, and sometimes the payment is a life. Where have we heard that before?

 

Creative Commons License
Hell – the ultimate correctional facility by James Glazier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at http://www.dev.christianapologetics.blog/category/blog/.

 

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