What Are the Top 10 Problems People Have with God?
Whether because of #FakeNews or post-modern relativism, our post-truth world posses a significant challenge to Christians who want to share their faith.
How does one speak into and reach a culture like that with the gospel?
Good question, one pastor Mark Clark takes on in his new book, The Problem of God, a handbook answering skeptics' challenges to Christianity. Each chapter addresses one of the top ten God questions of our present age culled from a popular sermon series. Nearly a thousand skeptics showed up for it and never left. Clark thinks he knows why:
[B]ecause Christianity answered their questions, and their longings, better than anything else. They saw that it presents a rational and distinct view of origins, meaning, morality, and destiny beyond any other worldview, religious or secular, in the marketplace of ideas. That the Bible, Jesus, and everything else that orbits around Christianity actually hold up under historical, scientific, philosophical, and even literary scrutiny. (21)
Below we’ve briefly outlined these the top ten problems people have with God to help you reach skeptical people in our post-truth world.
1) The Problem of Science
Faith vs. Science is the perennial God-problem. But what if they aren’t enemies? Clark contends science is “one of the means by which we look into nature and learn about God…behind all the wonderful beauty of scientific study of this world, [God] wants us to discover the God who made it” (39).
2) The Problem of God’s Existence
“The debate about the existence of God,” Clark explains, “centers on the question of evidence.” Our post-truth world exacerbates this problem. He offers three distinct pieces of evidence: morality, cosmology, and design. “Together they will help us realize that it may be more rational to believe that God exists than that he does not” (42).
3) The Problem of the Bible
Doubts about God’s existence go hand-in-hand with doubts about the legitimacy of the Bible. “[Skeptics] have doubts about its accuracy, its trustworthiness, and its truthfulness. They see the Bible as outdated, irrelevant, and mythological” (63). Clark thoroughly addresses their questions about the authority, historicity, and trustworthiness of the Bible.
4) The Problem of the Christ Myth
One of Clark’s neighbor’s once claimed, “Jesus is just a made-up person”—an extremely popular view today. “As with any conspiracy theory, I find that it helps to slow down, pause the tape, and look at facts” (86). He does this, explaining the myth’s origin, evidence, and response.
5) The Problem of Evil and Suffering
According to a recent poll, “Why is there pain and suffering in the world?” is the number one question people would ask God. Clark believes it is probably the most compelling of all the challenges, for five reasons: it’s personal, it’s biblical, it’s not just Christian, it proves God’s existence, and it explains what’s good.
6) The Problem of Hell
Perhaps the greatest of all stumbling blocks is the concept of hell. Skeptics believe it is repulsive, unjust, overkill, and torture. Is there any Christian defense for this teaching? Clark believes there is, “and that when you examine the Bible you discover a logic and rationale for hell that may not have been clear before” (126).
7) The Problem of Sex
Skeptics have problems with God over ethical issues, as well. Chief among them are Christian teachings on sex and human sexuality. Yet, "the biblical perspective on sex is robust and stands contrary to the three alternative views that have been popular throughout history: sex-is-bad, sex-is-god, and sex-is-appetite” (153).
8) The Problem of Hypocrisy
Many skeptics believe the greatest proof God doesn’t exist are Christians themselves. But hypocritical Christians doesn’t mean Christianity isn’t true or doesn’t work. Instead, “it may actually mean that it is working. That it is exposing the very sin Jesus came to set us free from in the end, bringing it to the center of the lives of those gathered” (201).
9) The Problem of Exclusivity
“The central claim of Christianity is maybe its most controversial in modern times. It’s the claim that Jesus Christ alone connects humankind back to God. That he is the exclusive means of salvation…and that no other religion or worldview can provide these things” (203). Although offensive to skeptics, Clark points out every religion makes this claim and inclusivism is illogical.
10) The Problem of Jesus
Everything hinges on Jesus: who he is, what he claimed, what he did, what happened to him, and what people believe about him. “So, each of us must decide. Will we trust the one who comes to save us? The one who will lead us, however shakily, to the true harbor?” (249).
“This is a book,” writes popular pastor Larry Osborne, “I will buy in bulk and keep on hand to pass out to both my skeptic and Christian friends who are honestly asking the tough questions about Jesus, the Bible, and Christianity that deserve careful and thoughtful answers.”
Professors, do you think this might fit well in one of your classes? Request your free exam copy here.
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