This is another address of an answer that a Christian gave to one of my “10 questions” post. I’ve broken the response into two sections, since they are quite separate topics.
HN: Why would a loving and all-powerful God chose to use humans to propagate the Christian message of salvation? If God is all loving and all powerful shouldn’t God be the one to bring this message rather than ignorant and fallible humans, considering that your religion look remarkably like every other religion out there?
Christian: This is not a question; it is an argument that God should run His Creation the way Herald Newman would run it…
The question contains a couple of incorrect, unsupported conclusions. Did God choose humans to propagate His message? Not exactly. Jesus — the God/Man who lived, died, and rose from dead — preached. Jesus did charge us with spreading His Gospel, documented in the Bible, which is the inspired Word of God.
Do you even understand what the word “propagate” means? Because it seems you just want to be a contrarian when it’s clear that you agree with me. Jesus charged humans with spreading the gospel message. This is accepted by both of us. The question is: Why would an all powerful, all loving, God choose to use stupid fallible humans, who can screw it up, to send out this important message, where the eternal fate of others depends?
If the people who have been charged to convince me that Christianity is true are incompetent, and fail to provide convincing reasons, that failure potentially affects my eternal fate. If I’m coming from a Muslim family, and live in a Muslim majority culture, I’m potentially risking my life by apostatizing from that Muslim faith. That’s a huge ask based on nothing more than what some evangelist has to say.
This question tries to address the kind of world that we should expect if the Christian claims about God are true. If God actually cares about humanity, is all powerful and all knowing, and really does want everyone to be saved, then that salvation message should have gotten out to everyone. The message should also be absolutely clear, unambiguous, and undeniably true. The problem is that the Christian message is far from that. Christians can’t even agree on whether Catholic dogma is important for their salvation, or if you only need to profess your belief that Jesus is your savior. These are important details, and if the Catholics are right then every Protestant is at risk with regards to their salvation. Just believing may not be enough to get you saved, and you have no way to know that you’re right if that’s what you believe. You would think that if God was all knowing, all powerful, and loving, God would know about this problem, and actually do something to rectify it. It should also be abundantly clear even which of the two major camps – to say nothing of Christian sects like the Jehovah’s Witness, the Latter Day Saints, or even the thousands of Christian denominations out there – is ultimately correct.
Now, I can grant that Jesus had a message of salvation, but it’s fundamentally obvious to anyone that the only reason this message spreads is because humans are the ones spreading it. There’s no credible evidence that God is doing anything to help move it along.
Apart from the problem listed above there’s another serious problem with the human spread of the Christian religion: The hundreds of millions throughout history who never got a chance to hear the gospel message. The salvation of these people has only two choices:
1. God is willing to save at least some of them
2. God saves none of them
If #1 is true then it really does call into question just how important accepting Jesus as your savior really is as a means of salvation. If #2 is true then God is necessarily cruel because people are being denied the opportunity of salvation based on the purely random chance of being born into a time and place where Christianity was unheard of. People born into Christian families, and even Christian cultures, are much more likely to find the path to salvation. How on earth can this be considered “good”? It seriously strains my credulity.
Christian: Is Christianity remarkably like every other religion out there? Of course not. All the other religions are about what we have to do to be saved. Christianity is about accepting the gift of salvation.
My response: I’ve never claimed that Christianity isn’t unique in some aspects, but Christianity is also about what you have to do to be saved. The difference is exactly what you have to do. Unless you are claiming that I don’t have to do anything to be saved (which would necessarily include accepting Jesus as my savior), then Christianity also requires me to do something.
My problem is that all religions have exactly the same problem: They make incredible claims and offer no objective evidence to support those claims. They have to accepted on faith.
Further, when we look at the lives of Christians, we do not see anything that shows that they have better lives than any other religious traditions. They don’t live longer, or have significantly lower rates of crime, at least when controlled for other socio-economic conditions. Christian societies aren’t even among the happiest societies out there. There really doesn’t appear to be much of anything that makes Christianity remarkable enough to distinguish it from any other religion.