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Show #3: Tough Questions for Christians I

Well, after over two years of radio silence, I decided to throw my hat into the podcasting ring once again. Rather than start over again, I’ll start from where I left off, which makes this show #3. In keeping with the theme of my YouTube videos, I’ll be fielding tough questions for Christians from various atheists.

The show schedule I’ve cooked up is to post a show on the 15th and the 30th of each month. I plan to continue that at least to the end of the year. Then I’ll make the decision to continue podcasating in 2011. Unfortunately, I’m posting the first show (intended for Sept. 30) late. Hopefully, I can get my act together and post the next ones on time.

First on the block is an answer to Douglas Crews, who wrote nine questions many, many years ago. His website is some kind of prehistoric blog, back in the days before the term was coined or the software existed.

You can download part one of the program here. It ran long, so I’ll be posting part 2 tomorrow.

I gave some URLs on the program for reference. Here they are, nice and clickable, to make things easier on the person who wants to research further into what I’m covering on the show:

My podcasting plan is to do two shows per month, on the 15th and the 30th. The next show will be October 15th and will cover some more tough questions for Christians that were posted on back in 2003. Nothing like staying current, right?

Really Good Question

Over at the XXXChurch Confessions Blog, an anonymous man writes the following excellent question:

I have been hurt by church and don’t know how i feel about loving the God that has been presented by the christians i have met. I have struggled with lust for a long time and i have recently realized that i am using it as a form of escape. I have a girlfriend whom i am in love with and we are trying to keep our physical relationship under control but when we mess up I know i have hurt her and that kills me inside. I want to love her wholly, not just for her body and I want her to know that. I just keep beating myself up for it, because i know that this kind of behavior is not right. My problem is that I feel loved when I am touched (not in a sexual way) by someone that cares for me. How can I feel loved by God if he can’t touch me? (source)

Without knowing exactly what sort of God has been presented to him, I have to assume that he can’t reconcile a God of wrath with a God of love. The Bible says that God is love (1 Jn 4:8), however the entire Old Testament presents a God of wrath who is appeased by sacrifices.

Most likely, the Christians our guest poster was talking about were unable to articulate this fact. God’s wrath must be understood alongside his love, not in opposition to it.

The item really at issue, however, is that the writer equates love with touch. As sensual as the touch is, that is far from the only way to show love. Personally, I have fallen in love with three women solely by maintaining an Internet chat relationship with them–the last of which I married and couldn’t be happier that I did. I understand that I’m not the world, but I think a case can be made that love is more than just sensual touch.

I think a good case can be made for loving someone that does things for you that no one else can do. The second of these three women I fell in love with over the Internet held highly intelligent conversations with me, something that I definitely wasn’t getting anywhere else at that time. She remains the smartest woman (and perhaps the smartest person) I’ve ever met. So, without touching me, she captivated my heart in a way that no one had up until that point. I know that she felt the same for me, but I can’t speak as to what part of her I touched that created such lasting feelings in her.

That said, it is easy to make a case for loving God without having a love based in the sense of touch. God created the entire universe (Gen 1:1; Eph 3:9; Rev 4:11) and everything in it, seen and unseen (Col 1:16). God holds all these things together (Col 1:17). God is impartial (Acts 10:34-35) and is the source of all good gifts (Jms 1:17). This means that he also gives gifts at his discretion to even the wicked (Job 21:7-16; Jer 12:1-2) whose sin he cannot tolerate (Prv 20:23; Ps 5:4, 11:5, 37:38; Hab 1:13).

God has done all of these things, and his promise is trustworthy (Heb 13:5).

God may not reach out and touch a person, but it is easy to see all of the things that he has done for us simply by considering the blessings we have in this life. The anonymous poster should remember those gifts, and pay homage to the one who gave those gifts instead of delighting in the gifts themselves.