During the last few years of my ‘Christian life’, I started to accumulate a lot of doubts. These doubts ranged from the veracity of many of the events in the Bible, to the existence of God himself. Any attempts to sooth my doubts were met with either unsatisfactory explanations or explained away. So what did I do? I shelved them away in the back of my mind. Of course, as time went on, I had to store more and more doubts away such that it became unbearable to do so. What happened after that? I had a dilemma; I could either stay in Christianity and pretend to believe where it suited me, or I could be honest with myself and leave. If you were formerly religious, chances are you would have been faced with a similar situation. My story is far from unique.
Why do I bring this up then? One day I was browsing my Facebook news feed when I came across this post from a Christian cartoonist named Andrew Chai.
The caption to this read:
“Does your church have an atmosphere that allows doubters to ask questions and allows truth to speak freely to everyone?”
This intrigued me, because based on my own church experiences, an honest assessment of your own doubts wasn’t really encouraged. It might be okay to tell your pastor/church elders that you have some issues, but you better agree with and listen to them, otherwise everything won’t be fine. Also don’t you dare doubt God’s existence, even though (s)he has done the better part of the last few thousand years hiding away and saying nothing.
This made me think: was Andrew Chai being honest with himself when he made this cartoon? Perhaps he was, and with good intentions. I don’t know him personally. However, I’m not sure he realises where a true honest assessment of one’s own doubts may lead. Not to worry, I have been down that path before, and now whammo! Here I am, an agnostic atheist. I therefore think that following Andrew’s advice in this cartoon is a great idea. Some may say it is arrogant to assume this, but the reality is, Christianity, and most religions in general, are diametrically opposed to ‘finding out the answers’, unless you believe in their answers, and take them at face value. In other words, they are faith and belief based.
Where in the Bible is it encouraged to ‘find out all the answers’? In the New Testament, Jesus repeatedly tells people to have faith and just believe in him. In the Old Testament, questioning God was discouraged and even seen as ‘testing God’. When Job was suffering (because God, uh, made a bet with Satan), he wanted answers from God, but instead God made fun of him and boasted of his own God abilities. Throughout most of freaking history, you believed what the church leaders said, and you didn’t ask questions like what Andrew suggested. Religion flourished this way.
Let’s answer Andrew Chai’s questions.
Does God really exist?
If you’re a Christian and you’re wondering this, that really says a lot. If God were real, why should this even be a problem? Do you ever doubt that your girlfriend or dad exists? This should be God’s problem, not yours. Why are you doubting him even after praying to him for answers? Where is he? You should give this question some good thought. Of course, I don’t think that he exists, but you probably already knew that.
How do we know the Bible is true?
I like this question. If you’re debating with a Christian and they turn to the Bible for material, you can throw this question at them. Suddenly, they have little ground to base their arguments on. If they mention anything about faith or belief, then you can ask them why they believe in the Bible as opposed to some other ‘sacred’ religious text. Anyway, if you’re a Christian you should be asking yourself this. Do you have peer reviewed scientific evidence that agrees with what the Bible says? Or do you just believe in the Bible based on faith and your emotions? Why? Now there may be some evidence for some of the places in the Bible existing, and maybe some evidence for Biblical people existing (as scant as it is), but this doesn’t make the Bible true in its entirety. The Bible contradicts itself on many occasions, so it can’t be all true, which is a problem if you are a Christian who thinks it’s Goddess breathed.
Does God really care about me?
Like the first question, this is something which shouldn’t at all be an issue if the Christian God were real. If you’re in a relationship with someone, and are asking this, you may have some big problems. And no, he doesn’t care about you. Over one million people have died from Covid-19 already, despite prayers from Christians the world over. Even God’s right-hand man, Donald Trump, hasn’t been spared. Jesus hasn’t returned to earth despite several wars and famines, because he was busy smoking joints with Mary Magdalene and forgot all about it, I know.
Does prayer work?
The Bible claims it works, here are several verses which attest to it. If you go off these verses, then answered prayer should be a guarantee! Unless God doesn’t will it. Based on my own experiences though, the prayers that were ‘answered’, either happened by coincidence or the efforts of human beings. In other words, there was no way to know if the same outcomes would’ve happened had I not prayed. Several prayers of mine haven’t been answered, like these ones:
- For my grandad’s arthritis to be healed.
- To show me evidence that he exists.
- That my school friends would come to Christ.
- That my grandma would be cured of cancer.
- That I could receive a sign to date my friend’s hot sister back in high school.
My overall thoughts and closing.
Andrew Chai’s cartoon is thought provoking, and he puts some good questions out for Christians. A truly honest assessment of one’s doubts likely won’t lead people to stay in Christianity though, which is probably not what Andrew intends.
I had a look at some of his other cartoons, but most of them were in Chinese so I couldn’t understand them. This cartoon stood out to me though:
Ah there’s no better way to express your love for someone than nailing them to a cross. How sweet.