Some of these originally came from stumbling around the interwebs. I'm not claiming that the concepts are all original, in fact probably none of them are. But these are questions I've come up with in dealing with christians over the years. I've never had any of them answered to any satisfaction.
- Why is nature so cruel? Watch a cat (or my husky) catch a mole and toy with it for hours before killing it. Or watch killer whales catch a baby seal and throw it 30 feet into the air like a beach ball and play with it for hours before killing it. It’s brutal. So if God is Love, why would he create a world that is so cruel and so inhospitable? Why is most of the planet uninhabitable for humans - ie, either ocean or desert, either too hot or too cold - so that the only way we can even go to those places is through manmade technology? And why is 99.99999999% of the universe apparently and completely inhospitable to life, never mind human life? Why couldn’t a loving God create a loving universe that was based on mutual altruism, kindness and symbiosis, as well as where life can prosper in all regions and on all planets?
- If God is Love, and if God is perfect, why are innocent babies born with horrific birth defects? Why would God let that happen to an innocent baby like that? Often these babies die or have very difficult and sometimes short, excruciatingly painful lives. How can you rationalize that away with an all-loving, all-powerful god?
- Does God answer your prayers? On average, how many of your prayers are answered? Be honest. About half? Why is that only as good as chance and no better? Why does he only answer prayers on matters that can right themselves naturally or through human intervention? Why is it never against physics or a true miracle?
- On a side note, when a human does something to help a christian (ie, an EMT gives CPR and revives a dying man, gets him to the emergency room, and then a team of doctors and nurses heroically works on the man to save his life and get him back to health) why does everyone praise God and not the huge number of wonderful, well-trained people who used human created science-based medicine and other human created technologies to do the actual work? Why didn’t God just make it so no one ever gets heart attacks, cancer or other diseases in the first place?
- If we’re all made in God’s image, and if lizards and octopi are given the ability to grow back a tail or a limb, why are the prayers of amputees never answered? Why has he never grown back a limb for an amputee? In Africa, children lose their limbs to war, perverted forms of (usually christian-inspired) witchcraft, even just for being albinos. Yet God never answers their prayers and grows back their limbs. Not even a little bit. Or what about soldiers who fight in battle for our freedoms? Don’t they deserve some consideration from God? What does God have against amputees? (see more here)
- Why would Jesus only cure a leper or a blind man but not all leprosy or blindness? Jesus’ “miracles” were parlor tricks, common at the time. If he was half god, why didn’t he actually do anything useful or wonderful with his abilities?
- In Matthew 10:7-8 Jesus said, “And as you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give. And in Mark 16:17-18, Jesus said, "These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." So if the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand about 2,000 years ago, what’s the delay? And why is there no word of the disciples or followers of Jesus doing any of those miracles as he said they should then and now?
- If God was so smart to create the entire universe, why did he always resort to incredible violence and sacrifice when things didn’t go his way? First there was the flood. What did all the animals do to get drowned and annihilated? What did all the innocent babies do to be drowned by God? Isn’t it juvenile of God to get so upset that humans behaved in human ways, that he had to drown them along with every living creature, like throwing out all of your toys because the building blocks fell down when you stacked them too high? And when he repopulated the world, why save just one family? Obviously this plan is incredibly flawed since these humans were still human and imperfect. So then he destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah in violence, along with Lot’s wife whose only crime was to turn her head. And then, later his brilliant plan is to impregnate a virgin with his son who he then has tortured and crucified. That’s the best he could do? That’s his best plan? Not that Jesus’ sacrifice was anything more than a hollow token gesture. He suffered for a weekend and then his reward for that relatively minor inconvenience to a half-god is to rule over heaven for eternity. If someone said I could rule over heaven and be worshiped as the only child of God and all I had to do was go through what he went through, I’d think that wasn’t such a bad deal. But why does everything that God involve himself in mirror the barbaric violence of the Iron Age people who were writing his missives down? God could easily have come up with any way to forgive humanity for being just the way he made them (which seems ridiculous, right off the bat! For instance, when my husky acts like a husky, I understand that she’s a dog. I don’t get mad at her and punish her with brutal violence or death for doing doggy things.) So why couldn’t God have found a helpful way to show that he forgave humanity? Why not a cleansing rain that washed away sins? This would be welcome in a desert. It would mean that those people would have abundant crops. Why the violence and brutality?
- And why did God and then Jesus wait so long in human history to make themselves known? Why did God never show himself to any other cultures besides the ones in Mesopotamia? What about all the millions of people in China, India, the Americas, Europe? Why only to people who were previously exposed to the Sumerian and related religions of which early Judaism is similar? Why couldn’t God bring the same message to all people all over the world on his own? Why only have one contradictory, barbaric set of books that aren’t easily understood by all people on first exposure (assuming he can’t just make himself known at birth. Why are all babies born atheists? If he wants to be loved, why not give everyone a fair chance to love him and give him the worship he seems to obsessively need and crave? And why does God need to be worshiped anyway? He’s God. Why does he have such human needs, emotions and reactions? Why does his one set of books have to be soaked in violence (even by Jesus who reiterated time and again that anyone who doesn't follow and worship him will be damned to hell)? Why did God delight in the smell of burning goat flesh? Why did he ever need blood sacrifices at all? Why not find a loving way to get people to apologize for being the flawed humans that God created in the first place? And why didn’t God himself condemn slavery? Why did he even condone it? (Leviticus 25:44-46) What kind of moral guidance is that?
- Why, after nearly 2,000 years, isn’t the love of Jesus universal? Missionaries have been all over the planet. If God’s message is so enlightening, and if the benefits of being a christian are so great, why do millions and millions of people forgo it? And why is there so much divergence among christianity if it’s the one true religion? Wouldn't all religions slowly converge on the "truth" of Jesus' message?Why wouldn’t God make it easy to understand his message to give people a chance? And in that vein, why in Mark 4:11-12 did Jesus say, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but those who are outside get everything in parables, so that while seeing, they may see and not perceive, and while hearing, they may hear and not understand, otherwise they might return and be forgiven.” Is that loving and compassionate? He had already made it clear that if you are not forgiven you are damned.
- If God created humans as flawed - if you can call being curious about knowledge and gullible when you are completely ignorant sinful - how sinful can humans really be, and isn’t it his fault for making us this way in the first place? Even if we are sinful, do we really deserve to be damned to eternal suffering in hell? Why does hell exist at all? Why would a loving god create a place of eternal torment just for questioning or thinking for ourselves, or making mistakes and doing things wrong? Isn’t that the ultimate evil? Even Hitler, the most evil person I can think of, couldn’t be evil enough to be tortured for trillions and trillions of eons times infinity. If he was created by God, wouldn’t God find some small mercy after several trillion years? No. Not according to the bible. That’s real evil. And it’s very childish, too. What happened to forgiveness?
- Why are more and more questions answered by science? Why does religion have to keep giving up more ground to the natural world? If God exists why aren’t more questions answered by “God did it” and more evidence of God piling up? Why does science, a human endeavor that is self-correcting, fill in the gaps and change as we learn and grow, while the only time religion changes its stance is to finally defer to science, usually after it has been proven and accepted for a long time?
- How do you reconcile what Jesus said in Luke 14:26, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” Are these the words of a loving Jesus?
- UPDATE: This is an extra one. If God is perfect and loving, why did he create imperfection? Isn't that impossible? How could a perfect being create flawed humans, and also create malaria, cancer and heart disease, etc?
This is a working list. If you have questions that you think belong on this list, feel free to comment with them.