This past Saturday was our second Seminar for Skeptics. The goal was to address an objection that keeps people from considering the plausibility of Christianity. This time, we looked at the question: Isn’t it narrow-minded for Christianity to claim to be the one true religion? Here, in brief, was the presentation given by Pastor Michael:
(1) Religious pluralism (the idea that relativizes all religions as equally valid) logically contradicts itself because it positions itself as The Truth over all other truths.
(2) Religious pluralism is itself intolerant because it doesn’t respect the integrity of world religions as they are.
(3) Christianity is the most inclusive exclusive-truth because its exclusive-truth is a man dying for his enemies. This exclusive truth creates compassionate, loving people.
Several other questions were also asked, which keep coming up at each Seminar for Skeptics. Here are the top three:
(1) Isn’t it unfair for God to send people to hell for all eternity just because they don’t believe in Jesus?
Our culture typically thinks of heaven and hell in material/experiential terms: heaven is like a great day at the spa, hell is a fiery torturous pit. But Christianity describes heaven and hell in relational terms: heaven is to be in the presence of Jesus, hell is to be away from Jesus. Therefore, understood in this light, those who reject Jesus are already experiencing hell in this life, and this trajectory will continue for eternity after death. Therefore, no one will be in hell against their ultimate desire.
(2) How can a good and loving God allow for evil and suffering?
God has a good and loving reason for the suffering he allows. We just don’t know what that reason is. But we know what the reason can’t be. It can’t be that God doesn’t love us. Because on the cross, God took evil and suffering into his very heart. Therefore, we can trust him. And one day, at the Resurrection, all evil and sadness will be swallowed up into glory.
(3) Isn’t it bigoted for Christianity to say that homosexuality is a sin?
Christianity has always taught that sexuality is to be practiced only in the confines of marriage. This excludes pre-marital sex, prostitution, infidelity, divorce, polygamy and pornography. And homosexuality – because the purpose of sex is not ultimately for our personal happiness (though that is a wonderful by-product), but to image God, and therefore, there must be complementarity in marriage: male and female. And therefore, Christianity is not particularly focused on homosexuality as the uber-sin, as our culture makes it out to be, but Christianity is at odds with all modern notions of sex. Christianity asserts that sexuality, like all aspects of the human condition, is subject to broken desires. But there is forgiveness in the gospel. And therefore, Christianity embraces our gay brothers and sisters to experience grace and reconciliation in Christ.
You can also hear the audio recording of the evening here.