Below are some concise “one-minute” responses
to some of the popular objections that atheists and skeptics bring up regarding Christianity. At the end of several of my responses are links to more in-depth help on the ABR website.
“There’s no evidence for God!”
I can think of several evidences for God:
• The fine-tuning of the universe
• The mind-boggling complexity of living organisms
• The information encoded into DNA
• Hundreds of fulfilled prophecies in the Bible
• Historical evidence for Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection
But friend, you’re evidence for God! The human body has an amazingly complex nervous system, cardiovascular system, reproductive capability, skeletal system, muscle system, digestive system, and ability to heal itself and fight off diseases. I find it hard to believe that all those systems came about with no intelligence involved. Think about this. Your body has 206 bones and about 700 muscles. One of those muscles, your heart, beats over 100,000 times a day, pumping about 75 gallons of blood an hour through more than 60,000 miles of veins, arteries, and capillaries. The eyes you’re looking through right now are composed of more than two million working parts. Do you really believe all those muscles, bones, and organs pieced themselves together and started functioning apart from a designer? The DNA in every one of your body’s 37 trillion cells contains a staggering amount of information and instruction that tells each cell how to function, where to go, what to do, and so on. DNA is like a computer program but far more advanced than any software ever created. That’s interesting. Computer programs don’t write themselves. A programmer is always involved. And the same is true with the programming that exists in DNA. The programming points to the work of a Programmer, an intelligent designer, God. For more evidence for God, click here.
“There’s no evidence Jesus ever existed!”
How did you come to that conclusion? Have you done any careful research on this?* The reason I ask is because there is a wealth of evidence Jesus was a real person. So much evidence, historians consider His existence beyond dispute. Consider this. In addition to the 27 New Testament documents that tell us about Jesus’s life, more than 30 historical sources outside of the Bible mention Him within a century and a half of His life. I’m talking about sources like the first century historian Flavius Josephus, Roman historians like Cornelius Tacitus and Suetonius, and a collection of Jewish writings called the Talmud. And these ancient sources don’t just mention Jesus, they confirm more than a hundred details recorded about Jesus in the New Testament. For example, Josephus confirms that Jesus was “a doer of amazing deeds,” that Pontius “Pilate condemned Him to be crucified to die,” that He was a teacher who “won over many Jews and many of the Greeks,” and that Jesus’s disciples “reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive.” The Talmud confirms that Jesus was put to death at the time of the Passover Feast, just like the Bible says. The evidence for Jesus is there for those willing to look at it. For more on this topic, go here.
*As with every proposed question on this page, I would ask the question with a loving and humble tone, and allow the person time to answer the question
Have you read the Old Testament passages regarding the Canaanites? Do you recall what the Canaanites were doing that brought God’s judgment on them? The Bible tells us the Canaanites at the time of Joshua were an exceedingly wicked people who were indulging in incest, adultery, polygamy, bestiality, witchcraft, child sacrifice to an idol named Molech, and a variety of other “abominable customs” (Leviticus 18; Deuteronomy 18:9–14). The Canaanites had become a dangerous threat to their posterity, neighbors, and the Israelites. So God determined the Canaanites’ time on His planet was up. God created the Earth and all its inhabitants, and He has the right to do whatever He deems best with His creation. All life belongs to Him. Think back to World War II. Most of us believe the Allied Powers had the right and even God’s approval to go to war against Japan and Nazi Germany to stop the great evils they were committing. This raises a question. If human governments have the right to send in a military force to put a stop to evildoers, doesn’t God have the right? Surely, He does. If you had lived in Old Testament times and were aware of the great atrocities going on in Canaan, you probably would have been in favor of God’s intervention.
“The Bible was written by men! It’s not trustworthy.”
Are you saying that if something’s written by men it’s not trustworthy? Have you ever used a dictionary? How about an encyclopedia or automobile manual? They were all written by men. Men are capable of communicating the truth, especially when they have God’s help, as Christians believe the Biblical writers did. The men who wrote the Bible didn’t just sit down and decide to write out their thoughts about God. No. God revealed Himself to men like Moses and Jeremiah and instructed them to write down what they saw and heard (Exodus 34:27; Jeremiah 30:2). And then He guided them to ensure that what they penned was accurate (2 Timothy 3:16). And there is a wealth of evidence that their words are trustworthy:
• hundreds of fulfilled prophecies
• thousands of archaeological discoveries
• its incredible internal harmony
• historical confirmation in the ancient records of the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Romans
• scientific discoveries that have validated Biblical details
• the writings of ancient historians like Josephus, Tacitus, etc.
• the Dead Sea scrolls
Learn more about evidence for the Bible here.
“The Bible has been tampered with and changed so many times down through the centuries, we can’t trust it today, even if it was once trustworthy.”
It sounds like you’ve done some serious research on this. Just curious, what are some of the books you’ve read on the transmission of the Biblical text? Well, fortunately, this popular claim isn’t true. To show that the Bible has been tampered with and changed, you’d have to be able to point to ancient copies of the Bible and show us what they used to say, and then show us the differences in what the Bible says now. But that’s the very thing you can’t do, because our modern copies of the Bible say what the ancient copies say. And for good reason! Our modern Bibles are translated directly from the ancient manuscript copies of the Bible. In addition to this, we can also compare our modern Bibles to the surviving writings of Christians in the second and third century. They quoted the text of the Bible thousands of times in their writings. And when we compare our Bibles to their ancient quotations of the Bible, we see again that the Bibles we use today are accurate copies of the Bible the early church used. For more on this topic, go here.
“The Gospels are full of contradictions!”
Oh, I disagree. What examples would you like to discuss? Friend, there may be a handful of verses in the Gospels that appear to you to be at odds with one another. But with a little investigation into the contexts of the passages or the cultural and geographical settings, they are easily explained. For example, critics say there’s a contradiction in the Gospels concerning where Jesus healed a blind man. Luke 18:35 says Jesus healed him “as He was approaching Jericho.” But Mark 10:46 says He healed the man “as He went out of Jericho.” So, critics say, “Surely Luke or Mark made a mistake. They can’t both be right.” And that appears to be the case, until you do a little homework and you find out that an archaeologist named Ernst Sellin discovered that there were what have been called “The Twin-Cities of Jericho” in Jesus’ time. There was the old city of Jericho (destroyed in Book of Joshua, but rebuilt in 1 Kings 16:34) and there was the new Roman city of Jericho. There were two cities called “Jericho,” separated from one another by about a mile. Knowing this solves the dilemma. It’s likely that Luke referred to one of the cities and Mark referred to the other. A plausible explanation is that the miracle took place between the two cities (Mark mentioning the city Jesus had just left, Luke mentioning the city Jesus was approaching). The authors of the Gospels did not contradict one another. Would you be willing to read an article or book that explains more of these alleged contradictions in the Bible? There are good explanations for every one of them. We address several other alleged contradictions in the Bible here.
“It’s outrageous to think that God would only save people who have a relationship with Jesus!”
I think it’s outrageous that God would save any of us. Friend, none of us deserve salvation. We deserve judgment and death. After all the sinful things we’ve done, it’s incredibly merciful and gracious of God to make a way of salvation possible at all. Let’s imagine some stranger comes over to you right now and, unprovoked by anything you’ve done, spits in your face, screams vulgarities at you, and kicks you. Then he walks away. He doesn’t apologize. He doesn’t ask for forgiveness. Now, later this week, you’re organizing a big feast, barbecuing for friends and family. Would you invite that guy? No. And you certainly wouldn’t force him to come against his will. Why not? There hasn’t been any reconciliation or forgiveness. There hasn’t been any repentance. And that guy doesn’t even like you. In fact, he hates you. Well, this is why some people won’t be at God’s feast in His kingdom. They’re like the guy who came up and kicked you. But they’ve kicked God! By that, I mean they’ve spurned His instructions, trampled on His law, sinned against Him, and walked away. They haven’t apologized. They’ve laughed at His offer of forgiveness. And they want nothing to do with Him. But God, who is more loving than you and me, still sends them an invitation (Matthew 22:1-14) and says ‘Come, you’re invited to a great feast I’m throwing. I love you! I will forgive you.’ But they mock and persecute His messengers, and tear up the invitation. They don’t want to be reconciled to God. They don’t love Him, and they don’t want to know Him. Friend, God is not going to force people like that to spend eternity with Him. For more on this topic, go here.
“Jesus’s earliest followers never thought of Him as God!”
I’m curious why you would say that; have you read the Gospels? What if I was to show you in the New Testament, actual quotes by Jesus’s earliest followers where they refer to Him as God, would you be willing to change your mind? For example, the apostle Peter, all the way back in the first century, called Jesus “Our God and Savior” (2 Peter 1:1). The disciple John who penned the Gospel of John called Jesus “God” in the very first verse of his Gospel (John 1:1). Thomas called Jesus “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). Paul, who penned several New Testament books, called Jesus “Our great God and Savior” (Titus 2:13). And these kinds of references to Jesus’s deity in the first century didn’t stop with the first century disciples. The leaders of the Christian church in the second and third centuries continued to affirm this very same teaching. Well-respected leaders like Ignatius, Justin Martyr, Polycarp, and Irenaeus refer to Jesus over and over in their writings as God. For more help on this, go here.
“If God is so loving, why does He allow evil and suffering?”
This is the most common question people have regarding God. Here is an interesting question for you to consider. What do you propose God should do about it? To stop evil and suffering, God would have to stop every act that causes any suffering. To do that, He would have to stop those who cause the suffering (adulterers, liars, murderers, criminals, fornicators, etc.). Wouldn’t that mean He would have to put a stop to you too? Haven’t you, by your own actions, caused some of the suffering that exists in the world? Haven’t you hurt somebody’s feelings? My friend, God has not destroyed evil because He would have to destroy us. By permitting evil and suffering to continue, God is actually showing the world mercy. The Bible says that there is coming a day when God will stop evil (2 Peter 3:7-13). He will judge sinners, put them away forever, and create a new heaven and a new earth where there will no longer be any death, mourning, crying, or pain (Revelation 21:4). In the meantime, God is using the suffering that exists for good (Romans 8:28, Philippians 1:12). Often, when a person is suffering, they turn to God and receive the kind of help they truly need. For more on this topic, go here.
Slavery was never part of God’s original plan for humanity. And it wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for humans living in rebellion to God’s instructions. The Bible says to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 22:39) and to “regard one another as more important” than ourselves (Philippians 2:3). Slavery wouldn’t exist anywhere if we loved one another that way. A loving person doesn’t kidnap people, lock them up, and force them to work without pay. That’s terribly cruel, and the Biblical writers knew that. Kidnapping, selling, and buying humans are sins that carried the death penalty in the Bible (Exodus 21:16; Deuteronomy 24:7; 1 Timothy 1:8–10). So then, why do some people believe the Bible endorses slavery? Well, I think it’s because the Bible does have a handful of verses instructing people on how to treat their servants. In Biblical times, people could sell themselves to be servants to pay off debts (Leviticus 25:39). And that was very common. So, for the servants’ sakes, God gave the Israelites instructions regarding the treatment of servants. Paul summarized the Bible’s instructions regarding these servants with these words, “Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven (Colossians 4:1).” The Bible never encouraged the horrific kind of slavery that involved kidnapping, selling, and mistreating humans.. For more on slavery in the Bible, click here.
“Haven’t certain books of the Bible been lost?”
No. The supposedly “lost books” of the Bible that have been found, the so-called gospels of Thomas, Philip, and Mary Magdalene, were not lost gospels, they were pseudo gospels that the early church rejected as uninspired, spurious writings. The Christian church was familiar with these documents, but purposely left them out of the Bible, easily recognizing that they were not divinely inspired. We too can be certain these books do not belong in the Bible. Why? First, they were not written by any of the apostles or their close associates (e.g., Mark or Luke). Most scholars, Christian and non-Christian, date these Gnostic gospels to the second and third centuries, long after the time of Christ. Secondly, these writings contradict authentic revelation. You can be absolutely confident that God, who inspired (2 Timothy 3:16) the men to pen the words of the Bible (2 Peter 1:21), saw to it that none of the inspired writings were lost. It would be foolish for us to think that an all-knowing, all-powerful God could lose track of books He intended to put in the Bible, or anything else for that matter. For more on this topic go here.
“Why would God have created us if He knew that so many would perish?”
God being omniscient certainly did know before He created us, that many would reject Him and end up eternally separated from Him. His foreknowledge is perfect. So then, why did He create us, even knowing in advance that many would be lost? I believe the simplest answer is this: Just as the Lord knew many would reject Him, He also knew that many would freely receive Him and enjoy eternity with Him. Apparently, even knowing that many would reject Him and end up in Hell, He felt it worth it, so that we who would receive Him, could have fellowship with Him, and Him with us. Why should God have not created humans, just because some would refuse to love Him and submit their lives to Him? That would allow evil to triumph over good. I wouldn’t refuse to start a family just because I realize that some of my descendants will reject the gospel and end up in Hell. Why? Because I know that many will not. I realize that by having kids, I become the trunk, if you will, to a large family tree. I realize that it is very likely that some of my descendants will reject the gospel and go to Hell. Should I have refused to start a family because these will suffer? No. Why? Because many of my descendants will not go to Hell but will get to enjoy the glories of heaven forever! And those who do suffer will end up in Hell of their own free accord. By me fathering (or grandfathering) children, I am not in any way forcing them to go to Hell. They will have the option to receive God’s mercy and forgiveness. So I’m not going to withhold the blessings of eternity from my children and other descendants, because of the evil actions of a few. This is also true with God. He knew that some would reject Him, but He also knew that some would receive Him. For more on this topic, go here.
“Evolution is a proven fact. I stopped believing in your imaginary sky daddy a long time ago!”
God is certainly not an “imaginary skydaddy,” and you’ll regret believing that when you stand before His throne on the Day of Judgment (Hebrews 10:31). But may I ask you a question? You seem like you’re an open-minded individual. What are some of the books you’ve read wherein the author sought to lay out some of the major flaws with the theory of evolution? Oh, you haven’t read any?* Hmm, I thought you would have examined what hundreds of scientists believe are fatal flaws with the theory of evolution before settling down so confidently in favor of it. What flaws? you ask. How about the fossil record? If evolution really is the explanation for all of life, the fossil record should show continuous and gradual changes from the bottom layer to the top layers. But it doesn’t. Nearly all groups of animals appear suddenly, simultaneously, and fully developed in the fossil record. This alone is devastating to the theory. But let me get this straight. You think it’s absurd to believe there’s a creative intelligence behind the universe’s existence, but you believe it’s more reasonable to believe that once there was nothing and that nothingness turned itself into all the stars, planets, and eventually living organisms? Interesting. Have you ever studied the complexities of the human body? I have a hard time believing male and female human bodies came into existence without any kind of designer involved. Think this through with me. The human body has 206 bones, 640 muscles, hearts that beat over 100,000 times a day, and eyes made up of two million parts. I can’t even fathom the kind of faith it would take to believe all those parts found each other and assembled themselves. What do you think evolved first, the human heart with all its valves and chambers, or the blood, or the veins? They all work together and are dependent on each other to keep the body alive. They certainly couldn’t have all come together at the same time, apart from a creator. So, what evolved first, and how did the first creature that managed to grow a heart chamber or a vein survive for thousands of years before the other stuff managed to evolve? And what about the trillions of cells that make up your body? Bill Gates said that the DNA in the cells is like a computer program but far more advanced than anything Microsoft has ever created. How did that information get into the cells? Computer programs never write themselves. There is always a programmer involved. Oh, the ape-men fossils are proof of evolution? Surely, they aren’t! “Piltdown man” turned out to be a colossal hoax. “Peking man” turned out to be a monkey. “Neanderthal man” turned out to be a human, not an ape-man. “Nebraska man” turned out to be a pig. “Lucy,” apparently, was a chimpanzee. Friend the theory of evolution is a materialistic creation-myth masquerading as science. I strongly urge you to read more on this here.
*As with every proposed question on this page, I would ask the question with a loving and humble tone, and allow the person time to answer the question.
If you found these concise answers helpful, I think you’ll love my new book! It answers skeptics’ TOP 50 questions…
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CHARLIE H. CAMPBELL
is an itinerant Christian apologist, the founder of ABR, and the author of several books and videos, some of which include:
• Archaeological Evidence for the Bible
• One-Minute Answers to Skeptics
• Dakota Knox & the Archaeology Thief + Dakota Knox: London, Love, & Terror + Dakota Knox: Nightmare at the Museum
• Scrolls & Stones: Compelling Evidence the Bible Can Be Trusted
• Evidence for God
• The Case for Christianity
• The Bible’s Scientific Accuracy and Foresight
• Answering Atheists
• The Case for the Resurrection
• If God is Loving, Why is there Evil and Suffering?
• Apologetics Quotes
• The End Times and Beyond: A Concise, Chronological Overview of End-Time Bible Prophecies
• Dad, Does God Exist? + Dad, Why Do We Believe the Bible?
WOULD YOU LIKE CHARLIE CAMPBELL TO SPEAK AT YOUR CHURCH?
Charlie Campbell speaks at churches and conferences throughout the year. If you're a pastor and would like him to speak at your church or event, please contact ABR here and let us know.