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About this Book
Why this Book is Important
In mid-January 2015, Saudi officials postponed the second set of a public flogging of 50 lashes, (of 1000), because a convicted blogger would not have been able to survive them, since the wounds from the first 50 lashes had yet to properly heal. The blogger’s crime? He had been convicted of insulting Islam. (How dare he question the religion of his culture?)
About 10 days prior, on January 7th, the offices of the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo was attacked by gunmen, killing eleven people inside, and one officer outside. The reason? The gunmen were retaliating against the magazine for publishing caricatures of the prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam.
How can we understand this insanity, without first understanding our own?
But this book is not about Islam. In fact, this book is simply a set of 10 questions, plus one, about the Holy Bible.
The relationship to Islam? To question one religious faith is to question them all. But how dare we question the truthfulness of a book if it is truly the Word of a God? With a thousand lashes, perhaps? How insecure must such a God be, that it cannot stand the scrutiny that might expose a truth? (But did a God order those brutalities, or did insecure men?)
Therein lies the problem of faith. To assume it is the word of a God to go forth and kill your fellow neighbor should he or she dare to question the Holy book, is precisely why I wrote these questions. No God, whose power exceeds the creation of the entire universe, hardly requires the assistance of man to kill or punish another man, even if said God becomes emotionally distraught by such a man and desires his death.
Yet here we are, century after century, killing in the name of a God. In this day and age of massively destructive weapons, and suicide bombers, we can either annihilate each other or we can subject our superstitions to scrutiny. I opt for the reason of scrutiny. It leads to truth, and is violence free.
All it takes is asking a few questions in earnest; and in earnest, seeking not faithful answers but truthful ones.
And to that end, I write these questions.
Would you dare subject your Christian beliefs, not to faith, but to truth? If not, please go not one sentence farther! Because if truth doesn’t matter to you, you will never be a part of the solution. Like the suicide bomber, you will blindly believe as you are told. (Click to another page – thank you.) But if you own a mature, rational, mind – stay just a bit longer. There are some questions to which you might like some answers.
About the Questions
“Biblical Questions to Very Tough Answers” was the original title of this book. It is in fact a series of questions from the context of the Holy Bible about today’s state of religious affairs. It opens an authentic exploration for honest truth in a world gone mad with spiritual violence.
It is designed to question, out loud and in the open, the truth of ideas believed in faith.
As children, we were not allowed to question (too much) the faiths of our parents, typically the faith we were brought-up in. And then as adults, we were expected to maintain the tradition, and teach our children the same, and we mostly do. This is the pattern throughout cultures, historically and presently.
But what if those beliefs were never fully held to examination? Or worse, what if those beliefs were never really true? Without mature scrutiny, how could we ever correct the harm of error? And worse than that, what if those errors were the cause of widespread death and terrorism?
How can those errors ever be corrected? How can century after century of murder in the name of a God, or an ideology of hate towards a people, or even a political stance, ever be corrected if they were held because of a falsehood believed in faith?
Can you blame the suicide bomber for killing innocent children if his god wants him to? I can. But if you believe, (in faith), that the God you believe in wants you to destroy “His” enemies, then I am afraid that “intellectually” you are no different than that of the murderer – except there are now two of you.
Can you imagine what this must be like for us in the middle, (AKA, the rational)?
Our secular laws prevent murder of this nature; Sharia (or theocratic) laws do not. In fact religious law often demands it. And the murderer, it is believed, goes straight to heaven. Imagine that. He sure does!
His religious laws prevent the questioning of his faith. He will be severely beaten, and possibly even murdered himself, if he does so.
His faith therefore, even if wrong, cannot ever be corrected; not even in the face of its utter annihilation. Furthermore, if his faith demands the destruction of all others that do not comply with or agree with his faith, he is bound by his faith to execute those demands, with the sanction of his God. Ergo: centuries of crusades, inquisitions, jihads.
The spiritual violence must stop, and there is only one way to do that. We must question if what is believed, in faith, is true.
But if you live in a free secular society, you are perfectly free to question, without threat of torture or death. So why don’t you?
As a responsible adult, isn’t it your duty, to avoid destructive error?
It is the opinion of this author that a false belief, though held in faith, is still false.
Should a false belief be coveted more than a truth? Except for error and mistake, what could possibly be the point to such an arrangement? What could you possibly gain by asking the obligatory questions about a belief held in faith? (But I digress; if truth doesn’t matter, neither will the answers.)
About Those Answers
When I started this book, I had a co-author, a lifetime devout Christian whom I have known all of my life, who was supposed to supply the answers to each question. But it was really an impossible task for one person who is anything short of an apologetic Christian scholar. She eventually acknowledged this, and I should have known better. Asking questions is far, far easier than answering them! (My bad.)
And so, I offer you, if you’re so inclined, the ability to supply answers to these questions here, at the web site http://godanswers.me/ (making a little bit of sense, now?)
This is an honest quest for believers to “own up” and make good on some very serious issues based in religious faith. You are invited, whichever side you take.