In a now deleted Instagram post, Hillsong singer/songwriter Marty Sampson claims that ‘he is genuinely losing his faith’. He outlines a series of doubts and topics and issues obviously important to him and his faith and laments that ‘no one talks about it’.
There are many objections, challenges, criticisms and doubts about the Christian faith. There are many reasons people don’t believe. Yet these objections form the heart of our podcast and radio show, Bigger Questions. We talk about these kinds of ‘big questions’ all the time.
Marty raises some difficult and challenging objections to believing the Christian message:
Why is the Bible full of contradictions?
This is a perplexing question for many particularly if the Bible is supposed to be ‘from God’, why are there differences in the accounts? It doesn’t seem to add up. Yet we confronted this question in a show dedicated to this very topic. We explore that these differences demonstrate that the Gospels can be trusted, because it means that the Gospel writers were independent and didn’t sit down to collude to write their accounts of Jesus.
Yet there are more substantial challenges to the historical veracity of the Bible. Are the Gospels historical, or just fairy tales?, isn’t the Bible corrupt and untrustworthy? Again, we’ve talked about these challenges and whilst there are historical complexities and nuances which need to be acknowledged and understood, there are good solid historical reasons to believe. There are not simple answers, but there are answers.
How many miracles happen?
Again, this is an understandable objection to the Christian faith. Why did it seem that so many miracles happen in the Ancient world, and yet not so much now? Well, we talked about miracles just last week, their reality or not where we interviewed a woman who used to make ‘miracles’ of a sort happen each day. Yet she confronted the guilt and problems of receiving a “miracle” in her life. She almost couldn’t accept this miracle, so perhaps our expectations and understanding of miracles and their occurrence is too simple?
Yet there are more challenges to the Christian faith than just how many miracles happen. Can the Gospels be trusted because they record miracles? and what about their plausibility scientifically? These are valid and important questions - again, not with simple answers, but there are answers to these questions.
What about Christians being so judgemental (and so nice at the same time)?
Again, this is a puzzling and understandable mix. If Christians are now born again by God, why do they seem so hypocritical, judgemental and bigoted? Well, one guest acknowledged Christians as a mix of mud and marble, and to another guest, she found the Christian faith offered the most compelling account of the human condition. We confronted the judgementalism of Christians head on in an intriguing thought experiment: Would Jesus be a Christian today?, where we explored why there is such a disconnect between Jesus and his followers. Perhaps it’s Jesus himself who makes his followers look bad!
Science pierces the truth of every religion!
It’s common to believe that science ‘pierces the truth of every religion’. There are stories of believers who can’t reconcile their faith and science. Yet our next episode is a compilation of six different scientists who all explore this very objection. We’ve regularly had scientists on the show to speak about the relationship between God, Christianity and science. These scientists don’t see a conflict and instead see a congruence and as they learn more about the natural world through their science, this enriches their understanding of reality and hence of God.
Plenty more objections...
The objections Marty raises are important, yet there are plenty more. The problem of suffering and evil is common to many, as is the irrelevance, its logic, its goodness, its truth, its beauty and the hypocrisy of the church and so many more. Yet there are answers, not always simple ones, but there are answers.
We welcome discussion of the Bigger Questions and welcome all kinds of objections, in fact we’re always talking about these questions. So to Marty and to anyone exploring big questions of life, faith and culture, there are answers to these questions. They may not always be simple, there is nuance and complexity involved, and you may need to consult an expert, but there are answers.
Image Source: Facebook