This post is debunking a very popular, and old, meme that has been circulating the internet for a long time and is titled “ten signs you are an unquestioning Christian”.
There’s a lot of misinformation out there about Christianity and Creation. Actually there’s a lot of misinformation out there about everything.
I can’t remember how I came across this anonymous placard. I just know that I’ve held onto it for years. I figured that one day if I happen to do something like say, start a blog, I would go through it point by point and explain why it was hogwash.
So that’s what I’ve done.
The meme is a list of supposedly common Christian behaviours/attitudes/beliefs and an attempt to demonstrate their absurdity with some short witty remarks. Thanks to Twitter, this is the quippy banter that passes for rhetoric in the 21st century… Aristotle would be proud.
So please enjoy, I hope you find my responses both entertaining and educational.
Note: This is a long post. I won’t cry myself to sleep if you only read the first two or three points, but hopefully you’ll find them all quite worthwhile, so start with the first one and see how you go.
“You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of other Gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of your god”
Apparently there’s something particularly shocking about Christians who deny the existence of all gods except the one they believe in; the true and living God who says of Himself on numerous occasions in the Bible:
I, I am the Lord,
and besides me there is no savior.
Isaiah 43:11 – via Bible Gateway
First of all… I don’t know any Christians who are ‘outraged’ when someone denies the existence of God.
Even so, who cares?
After all, the Bible specifically outlines the consequences of rejecting the God of the Bible:
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 3:23 – via Bible Gateway
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23 – via Bible Gateway
Christian concern is not just religious zealotry but a direct consequence of Christianity. Of course Christians need to share the gospel with compassion and kindness, but let’s face it no-one’s perfect.
It should not be surprising really that disbelief in the Christian God is something that Christians sometimes take to heart.
It’s also not fair to accuse Christians of this and no one else. Many atheists (especially via the internet) routinely foam at the mouth when confronted with an opposing worldview…
Finally, it’s rather ironic to note that, in my experience, atheists vigorously deny the existence of all gods, but are only really ‘outraged’ at Christians for affirming the existence of theirs.
“You feel insulted and ‘dehumanized’ when scientists say that people evolved from lesser life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.”
Um excuse me, it’s not dirt, it’s dust (thank-you-very-much):
then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
Genesis 2:7 – via Bible Gateway
As a matter of fact, we’re not the only ones who believe that humans came from dust.
“you are all star-dust” – Lawrence Krauss, astrophysicist, well-known and outspoken atheist and opponent of Christianity and religion
In any case, informed Christians do not feel dehumanised, by the theory of evolution.
More specifically, no one feels ‘dehumanised’ because we descended from apes. It would be more correct to say that human beings, lose any intrinsic value, dignity or purpose because all of life (and the whole universe) arose naturally.
Sure, an atheist can say ‘my life has purpose, it has whatever purpose I give it’. That’s missing the point. When all is said and done, if there’s no god nothing counts for anything. All of that ‘purpose’ fades into the unforgiving abyss of deep time.
If life has no ultimate purpose or meaning in the end and we are all ‘star-dust’, with no creator who cares about us, who gave us a soul and a purpose, what could be more dehumanising than that?
Oh and for the record, most evolutionary biologists do not consider other living things ‘lesser life forms’ they are just other living creatures at a different stage and going in a different evolutionary direction to humans, that doesn’t make them ‘lesser life forms’. So whoever wrote these ten points would be criticised by their fellow atheists for being a condescending, self-aggrandizing narcissist… probably.
“You laugh at polytheists, but have no problem with a Trinity god.”
Oh I get it, haha, Christians are hypocrites. They believe in the trinity but laugh at the idea of multiple gods, ergo, Christians are hypocrites (or stupid, or whatever).
Except that this statement is wholly false.
This quote is trying to insinuate that Christians ‘laugh at polytheists’ because they believe in more than one god.
That’s not true.
No one laughs. Christians do however argue that polytheists gods are false… but it doesn’t matter how many. It just matters that they are all false.
Christians also argue the absurdity of believing in no god at all (or having a ‘lack of belief’ in any gods). There’s nothing wrong with arguing that false gods… are false.
As for the trinity, I will admit there is nothing simple about the matter.
It is wrong to say that Christians believe in three Gods:
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:1 – via Bible Gateway
I am the Lord, and there is no other,
besides me there is no God;
Isaiah 45:5 – via Bible Gateway
It is also wrong to say that our heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are not all fully God in their own right. The simplest and most correct way to understand them is as one God in three distinct persons. There is nothing logically wrong with this.
It is right to say that:
1. the Father is God.
yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist…
1 Corinthians 8:6 – via Bible Gateway
2. Jesus Christ is God.
… and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
1 Corinthians 8:6 (cont’d) – via Bible Gateway
Note: one “God” and one “Lord” (hint: God and Lord basically mean the same thing here). Also note the distinction “from whom” and “through whom”, and note finally the divinity of both “are all things and for/through whom we exist”. Both the Father, and Jesus Christ are equally and full responsible for all that exists, and are each wholly separate persons.
3. the Holy Spirit is God.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Matthew 28:19 – via Bible Gateway
This verse demonstrates that the Holy Spirit is completely equal with the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. It also shows that it is right to say that they are distinct from each other in personhood, but altogether are ‘God’. Here’s another really good example:
16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” [emphasis added]
Matthew 3:16-17 – via Bible Gateway
Note here in one single verse you see Jesus Christ, the Father and the Holy Spirit all at once, all physically separate and all equally divine.
If all of that makes your head spin, you’re not alone. The Trinity is commonly described as one of the great mysteries of an almighty, infinite God. Extremely intelligent men of God have been writing and thinking about it for thousands of years.
It is true to say that He is simply beyond full human understanding. Humans are finite creatures, and we can no more understand and comprehend an infinite God, than we can comprehend an infinity of numbers, or the speed of light, or the teeny size of an atom.
“Your face turns purple when you hear of the ‘atrocities’ attributed to Allah, but you don’t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies in Egypt, in ‘Exodus’, and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in ‘Joshua’ — including women, children and animals!”
Oh dear. Another ‘look at the bad stuff in the Bible and Christianity’ argument. How original. While we’re at it, let’s not forget about all the wars of conquest in the books of Judges, Kings and Chronicles. The flood… anyone… God destroyed all humans and all animals, except the ones on the ark. No one ever seems to mention the flood, can’t imagine why…
Not to mention those nasty Crusades.
I am wondering why the author put the word ‘atrocities’ is in commas?
I’m sorry but can we not all agree that the total subjugation and oppression of women is an atrocity (see here also)? Or the 1500 years of violent Jihad against Christians, Jews and Pagans? Or the never-ending, horrendously violent internal conflicts that are a defining characteristic of Islam’s history?
For the record, it’s not just Allah that Christians have a problem with. It’s also guys like Adolf Hitler, Stalin, Pol-pot, Lenin, and the live infant sacrificing, ritual prostitution and human sacrifice common to ancient pagan religions. Let’s just say that Christians have a big problem with atrocities in general, as do most reasonable human beings I would think.
As for the Egypt part. First let me clarify…
God did not ’slaughter all the babies in Egypt’. The Angel of Death descended upon the nation of Egypt and killed all of the first-born sons of the Egyptians. There was no age limit, it was not a slaughter, and it was not just the humans, the firstborn sons of their cattle died too.
Now that might sound bad, but it requires context.
“Are you seriously going to defen…” “Yes, yes I am”.
So the Israelites (you know them today as the Jews, or people of Jewish descent) are the living descendents of a man named Israel (shocking). They lived in Egypt for a time and they grew and prospered greatly because the Lord was with them. Eventually the Egyptians got quite upset about this because they were afraid the Israelites might take them over, so they forced the Israelites into slavery.
For 400 years the Israelites were under slavery in Egypt.
God got fed up with this, so He revealed himself to Moses, and sent Moses to free the slaves in Egypt. Pharaoh patently refused to free the Israelites.
God proceeded to cast 9 terrible plagues over the nation of Egypt, one after another. Each plague was explicitly preceded by an appeal to let the Israelites go, and a warning that another plague would follow if the Pharaoh refused. The Pharaoh refused. Every. Single. Time.
Finally, God warned the Pharaoh of a tenth plague:
4 So Moses said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘About midnight I will go out in the midst of Egypt, 5 and every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the cattle. 6 There shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there has never been, nor ever will be again.
Exodus 11:4-6 – via Bible Gateway
It has to be clearly understood that the Egyptians, especially the Pharaoh, were under no illusions whatsoever that:
- Israel’s God was very real
- He was all-powerful
- Everything that happened could have been prevented (in theory)
- He wasn’t messing around
More importantly is that even after 9 plagues, and a stern warning to Pharaoh about what would happen, God still gave individuals a way out.
12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.
Exodus 12:12-13 – via Bible Gateway
This event is now known as ‘the Passover’.
The actions of the tenth plague of Egypt were symbolic of the effects of death and suffering that sin has had on all of mankind, not just the Egyptians; and that is something that all sinners (including you and me), not God, are ultimately responsible for.
As for the passover specifically, the Pharaoh, at any moment had the power (more or less) to prevent any and all of the ten plagues by simply honouring His request to release the Israelites from slavery.
You can, by the way, just read this whole story in the Bible. See the book of Exodus.
Compare that to the indiscriminate slaughter of non-muslims with alarming regularity all over the world, including highly populated Western European nations and cities, also of note are the Coptic Christians in Egypt:
“17 November 1981 — Coptic priest Reverend Maximose Guirguis is kidnapped and threatened with death if he does not denounce his Christianity and publicly convert to Islam. He refuses and his throat is cut leaving him bleeding to death”
“9 April 2017 – Bombings of two Coptic churches kill over 45 people and injures over 130. St George’s Coptic Orthodox Church in the Tanta region and St Mark’s Church in Alexandria were bombed during Palm Sunday processions.”
Just a couple of the disturbingly many examples.
There is nothing nice about death and suffering, and there is no way to make the events of the Bible easy to swallow, especially when most people reading this in a world where violence is utterly foreign. But we can judge events based on their context, and remember that God is perfectly just, and the death of His created beings is no easier for Him than it is for us to handle.
So what about the story of Joshua (and all those other examples I gave)?
They’re stories for another day.
“You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about Gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-God who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky”
So apparently the Christian believer’s greatest crime is making light-hearted fun of other religions.
“Look at these terrible Christians, I really hate the way they kind of just make fun of other people’s beliefs… Bastards” (keep in mind this is presumably the same person who put Islams ‘atrocities’ in inverted commas).
Let me say again, no one is laughing really.
It’s not hypocritical for Christians to say that false gods are false. It’s not ‘silly’ to believe in other gods, or to practise that religion, it just means your worshipping a false god. That is no laughing matter.
Look… The Holy Spirit did not ‘impregnate’ Mary. At least, there is no implication of any act of sexual intimacy, it was a purely miraculous and Holy encounter. Mary was still regarded as a ‘virgin’ when she gave birth to Jesus Christ.
This is in stark contrast to the false gods of ancient Greece and Rome, who are portrayed as boorish men of the flesh. Womanisers who are flawed and imperfect, with the full appetites and lusts of sinful human men.
A non believer may scoff at the miraculous and peculiar nature of the virgin birth, but it cannot be compared to the fleshly, lustful desires portrayed in stories of the demonstrably fictional pagan gods.
If you’re not a Christian, and you’ve never read the story before I can see how it might sound a bit far-fetched, but, that’s literally what a miracle entails.
Finally, that Mary ‘conceived and bore a son, and they called Him Jesus’, was an event that gave rise to the man Jesus Christ who was (and still is) a real person. An utterly verifiable historical fact. Something no other story of ancient God’s or deities can claim.
Not to mention other verifiable facts like:
- Christ’s empty tomb three days after He was buried, it was impenetrably sealed and guarded by Roman soldiers
- Christ’s enemies bribing and paying off witnesses to keep their mouths shut about the empty tomb
- Christ’s fearful and beat down followers all of a sudden boldly proclaiming His resurrection and dying for it!
But that’s a story for another day too.
“You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of the earth (4.55 BYA), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by prehistoric tribesman sitting in their tents and guessing that the earth is a couple of generations old.”
Oh, oh dear. I wasn’t sure where to start with this one.
So prehistoric tribesman were stupid and we really shouldn’t believe them? We’re also not allowed to second guess sciences sacred cows (evolution and the Big Bang).
Scientists, who are creationists, examining and testing modern scientific theory and forming hypothesis, do exactly what scientists are supposed to do. A scientist’s job is to design experiments to understand the nature of the natural world. Part of that is to put established theories to the test.
As for finding loopholes, this is a gross understatement. There are significantly glaring insufficiencies in the ability of evolutionary biology to explain the diversity of life on earth today, or of the Big Bang’s ability to describe the origin of the universe, or our galaxy, or our Solar system.
Newsflash, a ‘scientifically established’ theory is merely a scientifically popular theory.
As for the quip about tribesman.
The men who wrote the Bible were not ‘tribesman in tents’, they were prophets, Kings, doctors, priests, tax collectors, men who had extensive knowledge of the law, etc. They were spread over 4000 years of earth’s history. None of them actually ever specifically make mention of ‘the age of the earth’. They simply recorded history as they were directed to by the Holy Spirit.
It was first estimated in 1650 by a brilliant Christian man named bishop James Ussher and hasn’t really changed much since.
Far from being the ‘guesses’ of prehistoric tribesman, the age of the earth is estimated by modern creationists to be approximately 6000 years (give or take). Estimates are calculated using the Bibles reliable genealogical history, and by understanding that the Bible is true and meant to be read and understood plainly, the way it was intended to be understood including detailed events of history like creation, the global flood, the dispersion at Babel etc.
The take home point is that far from putting our faith in ‘prehistoric tribesman’, creationists have good reasons for believing what the Bible says, including the fact that it’s God’s word.
“You believe that the entire population of this planet, with the exception of those who share your beliefs — though excluding those in rival sects — will spend eternity in an infinite hell of suffering. Yet you consider your religion the most ‘tolerant’ and ‘loving’.”
Christians believe the Bible.
We believe that God is real, and that He is perfectly moral and just. We believe that all of humanity stands rightly condemned before God because of our willing and open rejection of Him. Christianity is definitely not ‘tolerant’, but it is ‘loving’.
We believe that humanity stands guilty before a loving, but holy and just God.
Does that sound harsh?
Atheists believe that all of humanity from beginning to end is utterly destined to a purposeless existence, and are all doomed to utter non-existence, eventually.
From Doctors and nurses, to murderers and rapists, there no justice or ultimate punishment or reward for anyone, no matter how evil or good they were. All your good deeds end up counting for nothing. All the evil deeds that have ever happened will go entirely unpunished, until the whole universe is nothing but a cold, dark, timeless wasteland.
Ironically, the Bible also says that our good deeds count for nothing, because we’re all sinners. It is only by God’s grace and mercy that we can be saved. This is why it is so critically important that you know who Jesus Christ is. He is the only hope you have.
Most non-Christians are only upset about the Bible, because they know they stand guilty before God. It’s only by believing in Christ, and repenting of your sins, that you can be made innocent before God.
Not just innocent, but restored and redeemed to know and be with God for eternity.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
John 14:6 – via Bible Gateway
“While modern science, history, geology, biology and physics, have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in tongues may be all the evidence you need”
How dare y…
Ah yeah… actually that’s a good point.
A troubling number of Christians simply do not hold to a high enough standard of evidence for certain beliefs. I’m one of the first to remind Christians who say ‘I just feel that it’s true in my heart’, that so do many others of many other religions and cults. It’s simply not good enough to trust your heart. Individuals routinely swing both into and out of Christianity based on how it makes them feel.
Having said that a very great many Christians committed to a faith built on the Word of God are far less privy to be swayed by the winds of any doctrine of man. Christians who respect the value of the brain that God gave them and told them to use are generally better able to weather the storms.
Finally, for those Christians who do think deeply about their faith, about apologetics and science, what this ignorant anonymous person fails to understand is that modern science, history, geology, biology and physics all actually affirm our Christian faith. When the evidence is understood from a Christian worldview, there is simply little conflict with the Bible. It’s not the science that stands in contrast with the Bible, it’s the secular assumptions and worldview which interprets the evidence its own way.
“You define 0.01% a ‘high success rate’ when it comes to answered prayers, and consider that evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% failure was simply the will of God.”
Now I’m only speculating, but my gut feeling is that the above statistic is totally made up… just a hunch.
Actually, the Bible is quite clear that 100% of everything that happens is the will of God. So it’s more correct to simply say that, whatever the statistics, answered prayer is a reflection of the desires of ones own heart, being inline with the plans and desires of God. Now that might sound like a cop-out, but it’s quite sensible really when you think about it.
Asking God for trivial nonsense like a new car, or a winning lottery ticket is probably going to yield a disappointing result. Of course we also pray for the safety and healing of specific individuals, and again, we must acknowledge that we live in a finite and fallen world. This life is temporary, and so is sickness, and so is being healed of sickness. Asking to be healed of the flu, when you have a cupboard full of paracetamol is little confusing to me. Even through prayer, God never promised to heal all sickness… He promised something much better, eternal life.
Also not all prayer comes in the form of some request. A significant portion of human prayer is simply praise and thanksgiving to God, and prayer for sanctification.
It’s arguably unfair to judge the efficacy of all prayer by its outcome (even if you could possibly measure it), since no one really knows the heart behind any one individuals prayers, and whether or not their prayer is genuine.
“You actually know a lot less than many atheists do about the Bible, Christianity and Church history — but still call yourself a Christian”
So here we are, the last, and possibly the least valid criticism of all.
In a way, most of the points made here could be applied to many other religions and people groups, but none more-so than this one. Consider this:
“You actually know a lot less than many Christians do about science, history, geology, archaeology and naturalism – but still call yourself an atheist?”
It’s true that relatively few atheists know the Bible, Christianity and Church history better than the average Christian, but there are plenty of very highly educated, respected academics, well versed in these subjects who are Christian.
Many of these well-educated Christians know more about science and atheism than your average atheist.
It’s also not really a fair comparison.
In the West, it is more common to be born into a Christian family and walk away from God, than it is to be born into an atheist family. Not just that, but the reason that many individuals walk away from God and become atheists is because they’ve looked into the issues surrounding Christianity (which means they will know it quite well) and decided, sadly, that they didn’t believe it. Many leave when they are disappointed by the lack of support of their Christian peers when it came to tough questions (another consequence of point 8. made above).
That’s another reason why this blog, and many like it exist. We seek provide support and to answer those tough questions so that those young people who are genuinely seeking God will not be put off by the tough questions.
In any case, the hypocrisy of this criticism is exceeded only by its ignorance of Christianity, which is rather ironic.
If this individual knew anything about the Bible, Christianity and Church history, they would know that knowledge of the Bible, Christianity and church history falls far, far short of the requirements of Christianity.
The Bible is explicitly clear that human effort is utterly fruitless for salvation. It is only by God’s grace, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that we can be saved.
I will conclude this point by saying that, in my opinion, Christians should make an effort to learn more about the Bible, Christianity and Church history, but it’s ignorant to question a Christians faith because they haven’t dedicated their life to studying it.
Congratulations, that was a long post. Give yourself a pat on the back.
If you’re an atheist who is reading this then…
Well I give you credit for getting this far and not throwing your computer out the window.
But you have to understand that Christians are humans (myself included), just like everyone else. I personally don’t apologize for being a bit of an old-fashioned curmudgeon.
We serve a perfect God, but we are not perfect. If you move past these shallow and paltry objections, and take a more honest look at the Christian faith, you may find that there is more to it than you thought.
No one is forcing you to believe, or trying to use fear mongering or scare tactics. It’s up to you honestly to decide to believe in Jesus yourself.
If you’re a Christian and you’re reading this then you need to know that you don’t have to be afraid to share your faith.
Modern anti-Christian bigotry is fierce, but it is also mostly words, emptiness and ignorance. Placards like this are proof of that. If you do make an effort to learn just a little bit more about the Bible, Christian history, apologetics and/or science, it can light a fire in you.
Every time you read something and think ‘oh wow that makes so much sense, I’ve always wondered about that’ it will transform your faith in God from a delicate thread blowing in the wind, to a rock hard faith, impenetrable… dangerous.
You will become a warrior for Christianity; a fierce and unflinching bastion of faith and courage sauntering through the valley of the shadow of death.
If you do want to learn more about your faith then the first thing you should do is subscribe to this blog! This blog will help you understand that Christianity is true, and that you can share it with confidence.
Just put your email address down below and voila! (don’t forget to go to your email inbox and verify your subscription).
Thanks so much for reading.