The Heirophant’s Proselytizer Questionnaire
I come here to combat the fraud and illusion of your conventional, institutionalized religion. As with all such religions, your institution moves toward cowardice, it moves toward mediocrity, inertia, and self-satisfaction. If you’re reading this document, it means I’ve given it to you because you were proselytizing to me and you are a Christian. The purpose of this document is to save us both some time; you see, I’m not a Christian, although I used to be. I became non-Christian for both logical and emotive reasons. Since I’ve been a Christian, I do know quite a bit about the religion, although I might not know much about your particular denomination. I became a non-Christian because I didn’t like what I knew about the Christian religion. If you want to even begin attempting to convert me, you have to settle those problems. Specifically, you have to answer the questions below. Answers to each question can be e-mailed to me. One of the reasons I left Christianity is that it was so complex, and I’ve found that the simplest answer to a question is usually the right one. Quotes from scripture count for bonus points as long as you can refute other quotes from scripture that contradict the passage that you are quoting. If I think that your answers justify my return to Christianity, then I will get in touch with you. I will probably get in touch with you anyway, simply because I will be impressed that you truly gave it your best shot. The questions follow. Under no circumstances will “The LORD works in mysterious ways” or other arguments in that vein be acceptable. If a question does not apply to your particular denomination, explain why.
3. If a Catholic, justify the Inquisition and other persecutions of “heretics” throughout the centuries, concentrating on why the Pelagianists, the Priscillianists, and the Manichaeans were persecuted; if a Protestant, justify the witch trials and the way that Protestants constantly hunted down native Americans until there were so few that the government could simply take their land; if a member of an Eastern Orthodox church, justify the persecutions of the Old Believers after the reforms of the seventeenth century.
4. Explain why I should believe that your God is all-good when the only real information we have about him is the Bible, which clearly describes Him as both good and evil. (See Isaiah 30:27-33, Luke 14:26, Numbers31:17-18, Matthew 10:34, Amos 3:6, Deuteronomy 20:16,Exodus 20:5, Exodus 32:27, Isaiah 45:7, Psalms 52:5, Luke 22:36, and Jeremiah18:11 for a small sample of Biblical passages which describe God as having an evil morality at times).
6. Explain why, when discrimination against women is clearly wrong, the Bible clearly supports the oppression of women. Answering this question entails refuting 1 Cor 11 and 1 Tim 2:11-15. NOTE: under no circumstances will I believe that discrimination against women solely on the basis of sex is morally acceptable.
7. Explain why, when slavery is clearly wrong, the Bible clearly supports slavery. Answering this question entails refuting 1 Peter2:18. NOTE: under no circumstances will I believe that slavery is an acceptable way to run a society.
8. Explain why, if your god loves us all, more than half of us are going to Hell after we die. Specifically, refute or explain the following words of Christ, as presented in the New Testament: “Many are called but few are chosen,” and “Straight is the gate, and narrow is the way that leadeth unto salvation, and few there be that find it.” If your god loves all of us, couldn’t he find a better way?
9. Explain what type of offense could possibly justify eternal, unbearable torture in Hell; if you do not believe in Hell,then refute every passage in the Old and New Testaments which describes Hell (such as 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 and Revelation 20:15).
10. Explain how your god can be both just and merciful,when these terms apparently contradict each other.
11. Explain why possession by demons and/or other evil spirits was common during the time of Jesus, but hardly mentioned in the Old Testament, and apparently has been explained completely away today by things such as epilepsy and schizophrenia.
13. What is Heaven like?
14. What is Hell like?
15. Explain why original sin exists. Why should I be eternally tortured for something that a pair of naked fruit-munching simpletons did in a garden over six thousand years ago? If you believe that children are born stained because they were conceived sexually, explain why I would be punished for something my parents did by your merciful and just God. If this does not apply to you, explain why.
17a. If your God did not want Adam and Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, why did he put the tree in the garden of Eden (and at the center, no less)? Was it for shade? If the purpose of the tree was to tempt Adam and Eve, explain why the temptation was necessary. If God knows all, then He already knew they would not be able to resist the temptation. So what was the point?
17b. Explain why your God created humans as imperfect, then set his standards so high that no one could possibly live up to them, then punishes us for not living up to his standards.
18. Explain why sex, potentially one of the most wonderful, beautiful things in human nature, is considered “bad” by your particular denomination. If your denomination does not consider sex to be “bad,”then refute Matthew 19:12, 1 Corinthians 7 (particularly verses 1 and 9),Galatians 5:17, 1 Thessalonians 4:3, James 1:14-15, Matthew 5:27-31, Luke17:27, and Revelation 14:4.
21. Why are the stories of the resurrection inconsistent?
22. If you are a Protestant or a member of an Eastern Orthodox church, explain why you are still using the Catholic Bible, which was formalized by a vote among (supposedly divinely inspired) cardinals and bishops in the fourth century CE, when you disagree with the idea that the Pope, who is higher in the Catholic hierarchy, is divinely inspired; if a Catholic, explain why your church accepts the canonical Bible while rejecting the Apocrypha (do not use the “divinely inspired” argument: Because I am not religious, I will not be able to accept it).
24. Why would your God deliberately cause sinners to sin (cf. Romans 9:15-23 and numerous parts of the book of Exodus where God says, “I will harden Pharaoh’s heart.”). Are these sinners still responsible for the sins which your god forces them, against their will, to commit? Justify your answer.
26. Explain why prayer is OK, but spell casting is not, when both amount to the same thing: requesting that a superior supernatural force to intercede in a way that would be impossible according to the normally accepted laws of physics.
27. According to the Gospels, from the Christian standpoint, Jesus was the most important person to ever live. From the Roman standpoint, Jesus was a huge pain in the butt because of his political activities. Explain why nothing was written about his life for over thirty years after his death, and nothing except the Gospels was written until the third century CE.
28. Explain why you believe a person whose life is so poorly documented (see #27) was even ever born.
30. The name “Jesus” has been anglicized. What was the original (Hebrew) name of Jesus? Where did you get this information? This is a bonus question.
31. Why is it that the life of Jesus was so similar to the lives of pagan Christs, particularly Herakles, Dionysios, and Asklepios?
33. Explain why being a good Christian requires you to push your beliefs on others. If you do not believe that you have to push your views on others (no matter how much this annoys them), explain why you do not believe this despite the fact that the New Testament seems to suggest that you must do this to get to Heaven (for instance, in Matthew 28:19-20).
34. Explain why spreading the “truth of Christ” requires you to spread lies about other religions.
35. At no point in the four Gospels did Jesus claim to be the son of your God. (He said “son of man” quite frequently,and at one point referred to himself as “a son of god,” but that was a common Hebrew expression at the time. Someone who was “a son of god” was a Jew. This reflected the Israelites’ belief that theywere the chosen people of your God. See Job 1:6). Why, then, do you believe that Jesus was divine? If you don’t believe that Jesus was divine, then why do you call yourself a Christian?
36. Given the fact that Jesus did not say anything original(the Golden Rule and the “turn the other cheek” idea were stolen from Buddhism; and the Beatitudes were common in the Jewish devotional literature at the time), why do you see Jesus as such a great thinker/philosopher/ ethicist?
37. When Jesus said, “Resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also,”why do you suppose that most Christians fight for their rights? To put it another way, why don’t we, as a country of 85% Christians, let the government abuse us?
38. Why are so many Christian holidays on the same day as Pagan holidays? Couldn’t the early Church fathers have converted pagans only by appealing to their reason and/or faith if Christianity is the true religion?
39. Do you believe that the Old Testament should be accepted as part of Christian theology? If so, explain how you can worship such a cruel, sadistic being (see Numbers 31:17-18, Deuteronomy 20:16, Proverbs20:30, Amos 3:6, Deuteronomy 13:8, Psalms 3:7, Psalms 52:5, etc.); if not,explain how you can believe that Jesus is the promised savior sent by your God without the messianic prophecies and the ruling rights of the line of David, both of which are in the Old Testament in books such as Isaiah, Zechariah, Daniel, Psalms, etc. (as opposed to, say, believing that Jesus was an irritating nut wandering around saying things that people didn’t like much).
42. What is the sin that people committed that is so incredibly bad that your God had to become flesh and die to correct?
43. Are all members of other faiths bad? Are they all damned to Hell? Justify your answer with quotes from the Bible.
44. Are all atheists/agnostics/humanists bad? Are they all damned to Hell? Justify your answer with quotes from the Bible.
45. What was your motive in proselytizing to me?
46. Where is Heaven?
47. Where is Hell?
48. Why don’t animals go to heaven or hell when they die? What makes us so special?
49. Why does Satan try to get peoples’ souls?
50. Once Satan has someone’s soul, what does he do with it?
51. Is your God perfect? Justify your answer.
52. Where does our soul stay while we are alive?
53. Why do evil people often prosper? Justify your answer.
54. Why do good people so often fail to prosper? Justify your answer.
58. What is the name of your denomination?
59. How is your denomination organized?
60. Explain why Christians (yes, that includes all branches of Christianity) have spread the lie that Jews put Jesus to death when, in actuality, it was the Romans who put Jesus to death. (For a good example of New Testament anti-semetism, see 1 Thessalonians 2:15).
61. If we are created in your god’s image and likeness(Gen 1:27), how can we also be imperfect?
63. Why is it ok for modern day Christians to eat “unclean meat”.
64. Why would your God confuse people? (See 1 Sam 7:10and Gen 11:9). Isn’t life confusing enough already?
66. Why would your God want to damn people by making them believe false things? (See 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12).
67. Should the book of Revelation be taken literally? Explain your answer.
68. Would it be good for men to castrate themselves? Justify your answer, taking Matthew 19:12 into account.
69. What exactly is faith?
70. All of the various Christian denominations ignore parts ofthe Bible, usually because those parts of the Bible are inconvenient. Explain which parts of the Bible your sect ignores, and explain why it is OK to ignore those parts of the Bible.
71. Why did your god allow Satan to do evil things to Job (Job 2:7 etc.)? Wouldn’t your god better spend his time punishing unbelievers?
73. Explain your belief in heaven in light of Job 7:9 and Ecclesiastes 9:5.
74. Christ giving himself up on the cross was a great gesture, true, but wouldn’t it have been more sensible for him to continue spreading his message until he died a natural death? Answer this question in light of your answer to question #1.
75. What is your interpretation of the temptation of Christ by Satan in the desert (Matthew 4:5-8, Luke 4:5-9)?
76. In view of Matthew 6:5-6, shouldn’t prayer in public schools be discouraged? Support your answer with scripture quotes.
77. Do you feel that the last words of Christ were significant? If so, why do the four gospels attribute three different sentences to Christ as his last? (Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34: “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”; Luke 23:46: “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit”; John 19:30: “It is finished”).
78. Matthew and Mark say that the last words of Christ were, in Hebrew, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” This has traditionally been translated as, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” However, a more accurate translation would be, “My El, My El, why has thou forsaken me?” El is the name of a specific pagan god. Why would Jesus call out to a pagan god at the moment of his death?
79. A commonly recited litany in many forms of Christianity is “The LORD is my shepherd.” (Psalm 23:1). Given the fact that the only reasons that people raise sheep are to rob them of their clothes and to kill them for meat, and the fact that sheep will often follow the shepherd to their destruction, do you think that this is any appropriate image for your God? Justify your answer.
80. Why is the theory of the big bang any more (or less)likely that the idea that your God created the universe? Justify your answer. NOTE: I admit that science has not explained where the original super condensed particle came from, but no one has ever explained where your God came from, either.
81. If your God is everywhere at the same time, and hell is the absence of (or separation from) your God, how can he be omnipotent?
82. In the Genesis story, your God tells Adam and Eve that the day they eat from the tree of knowledge they will surely die (Gen2:17). The devil tells them that they will not die, but that their eyes would be opened and they would know the difference between good and evil (Gen 3:5). Wasn’t Satan telling the truth here? Is your God a liar? Justify your answer in light of Jeremiah 20:7 and Ezekiel 14:9.
83. If Lucifer is not as powerful as your God, then he cannot possibly be omnipresent. How could he possibly get as many followers as you seem to think he has?
84. The Bible constantly describes your God as male. In view of the fact that your God supposedly created everything, and creation is very much a female function, isn’t this at least a little bit absurd? Justify your answer.
86. Have you read the entire Bible? If not, how can you be devoted enough to try and convert me to a religion that you don’t know that much about? Isn’t knowing as much as possible about something necessary to understanding it? Isn’t understanding something necessary to being completely devoted to it?
87. Why is 2 Kings 19 exactly identical to Isaiah 37?
88. Is Jesus’s three days in Hell really an ultimate sacrifice, when more than half of humanity is going to spend eternity there(see question #8)?
89. If your church considers the King James Bible to be the official and/or authoritative translation, justify this in light of the fact that King James commissioned his translation to be poetic rather than accurate. How can you possibly use an inaccurate translation as your reference for what is/is not the word of your God? If your church does not use the King James Bible, what translation do they use? Justify the use of that particular translation.
90. Assume that I do not believe that Jesus died for my sins, or that if he did, that necessarily means I will go to your heaven. Name one thing that Jesus ever did for me personally.
91. Before Mary was knocked up by the Holy Spirit/Ghost,she was never asked for her consent. (She was warned; see Luke 1:31). Mary was also asleep when your God knocked her up; this strongly suggests that He didn’t want her to protest. Does this mean that Mary was raped by your God? Do you think rape is wrong? Explain.
92. If it was foretold that Jesus was to be crucified,and if he knew this, and if he was the son of your god, why did he do everything he could to avoid being crucified? (See, for instance, Matthew 26:39).
93. If the Holy Spirit/Ghost is the father of Jesus (Luke1:35), then why is the central figure of your trinity called God the Father?
94. Mary and God were never joined in wedlock. Does it bother you that Jesus is technically a bastard?
95. The original Hebrew word for the Holy Ghost/Spirit includes the idea that the Holy Spirit/Ghost is female in gender. Isn’t this rather silly when you consider the fact that the Holy Ghost/Spirit is actually the father of Jesus (Luke 1:35)?
96. Matthew 28:11-15 contains an account of a conspiracy between the Jews and the Roman soldiers to spread the story that the disciples stole the body of Christ. How could Matthew have known about this, since no Jews or Romans would have admitted to it? If it was such a transparent conspiracy that an outsider could have seen it, why didn’t the other three gospels mention it? Why didn’t the Roman soldiers get into trouble?
97. Jews believe that people are basically good people and can work to overcome their sinful tendencies. Most Christians,following the teaching of Psalm 51:5, 1 Kings 8:46, Ezekiel 18:4, Isaiah59:2, and Psalm 143:2, believe that people are completely debased and hopelessly lost in sin, and that only your God can lift us out of this state if He decides to bestow His gift of grace on us? Isn’t this an incredibly negative view of people? Isn’t Judaism a more mature faith just for this reason?
93. How do you, as an individual, feel about Psalm 51:5?
98. What does your denomination teach about Psalm 51:5 (and 1Kings 8:46, etc.), predestination, and similar matters?
99. Don’t you think that the idea that no matter what we do, we can never be good and righteous without help from your God (Isaiah64:6) fosters an unnatural and unhealthy dependency on Him?
100. Revelation 22:16 says that Jesus is the “offspring of David.” Mary was not descended from David, but Joseph was. Doesn’t this mean that Jesus wasn’t the son of your God at all, but the (mortal and not divine) son of Joseph?
101. What would the correct thing to do be if your God gave you a command that was harmful and/or destructive to you? A common argument, which comes from Paul, states that because clay pots don’t complain about what the potter does with them, people shouldn’t complain about what their maker (supposedly, your God) does with them, but this completely ignores the vitally important argument that clay pots have no sense of self-awareness and cannot think or feel love, pain, anger, etc. If you want to make this argument, you have to deal with this difference.
102. What (or who) do believe the number 666 represents? Justify your answer.
103. If your God is “just and merciful,” why would He take Solomon’s kingdom away from Solomon’s son while not punishing Solomon, when it was Solomon himself who committed the sin of idolatry? What did Solomon’s son do to deserve punishment? (See 1 Kings 11:12).
104. Why is Solomon commonly considered to be the paragon of wisdom by many Christians, when he constantly sinned against your God(1 Kings 11:4-10, etc.)? Personally, if I had a God talking to me, I’d do what he said.
105. Don’t you think that an anti-sex position (see question#18) is a rather silly position for your denomination to take when the biblical book “Song of Solomon” is a piece of erotic poetry? (For instance,in Song of Solomon 8:2, the bridegroom proposes to “drink of spiced wine of the juice of the pomegranate.” The pomegranate was a symbol of the female genitalia, and the “spiced wine” represented menstrual blood).
106. Does it bother you that the cross, supposedly a Christian symbol, was actually stolen from the Egyptians? Why or why not? (The Egyptian cross, the ankh, was a male-female symbol similar in concept to the yin-yang.When the Christians stole the ankh from the Egyptians, they removed the female symbol, or yoni, leaving only the masculine symbol– a subtle way of reinforcing the idea that women are lesser beings).
107. What is the incredibly important doctrinal difference that requires the fighting between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland?
108. Even if your God did create the universe, why does He want to be worshipped? Is your God an egomaniac?
109. What is sin, exactly?
110. What do you think the word “Satanist” means?
111. How do you explain the fact that the word “blood” occurs over 400 times in the Bible? Isn’t this a rather savage way to write a book that is supposed to be at the center of an ethical system?
112. Throughout the Bible, your God commands His followers to wage merciless war on unbelievers (Luke 22:36, Deuteronomy 13:8, Exodus20:23-25, Deuteronomy 20:16, Matthew 10:34, Numbers 31:17-18, etc). If you are one of His followers, why aren’t you out waging merciless war on unbelievers?
113. Numbers 23:21 says that your God “has not seen wickedness in Israel.” If this is so, explain why your God burned Israelites for complaining (Num 11:1), sent a plague against them for eating the meat He had given them (Num 11:33), why He burned people for using incense (Num 16:35), why He sent a plague against the Israelites who accused Moses of wrongdoing (Num 16:44-49), and why He sent fiery snakes among the Israelites (Num 21:5). Is your God a liar, or was it just more convenient for Him to lie at that particular place and time, or what?
114. What was it that was so bad about eating an apple that death had to result from that act?
115. What was it about humanity’s torturing and killing of your God’s only son that made your God so happy that He again promised eternal life to everyone who believed in Him.
116. How do you explain that Matthew and Luke give different genealogies for Jesus?
117. Matthew says that the prophecy given in Matthew 27:9 was given by Jeremiah. How do you explain that this prophecy was not given by Jeremiah at all, but by Zechariah (in Zech 11:12)?
118. Matthew says (in Matt 2:23) that Jesus dealt in Nazareth so that he could fulfill a prophecy stating that the Messiah would be calleda Nazarene. Where is this prophecy in the Old Testament?
119. Matthew says that on the triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Jesus was riding on an ass and a colt (Matt 21:7). How do you explain that the original prophecy (Zech 9:9) stated that Jesus would be riding on only one ass, and the other gospel writers place Jesus only on one ass (Mark11:7, Luke 19:35, and John 12:15)?
120. In Matthew 1:23, Matthew has the angel say that Jesus would be born of a virgin. However, the prophecy that Matthew is referring to, Isaiah 7:14, uses the Hebrew word almah, which simply means a young woman. It has nothing to do with sexual purity; the Hebrew word for virgin is bethulah. How do you explain this?
121. Isaiah 7:16 seems to say that before Jesus had reached the age of maturity, both of the Jewish countries would be destroyed. Where is the fulfillment of this prophecy in the New Testament?
122. Matthew 1:23 says that Jesus would be called Immanuel,which means “God with us.” Why does no one (not even his parents) call him Immanuel at any point in the New Testament?
124. If even the contemplation of sinning is a sin (i.e.”sinning in your heart”; see, for example, Matthew 5:28) and if Jesus was tempted by Satan in the desert (Matthew 4:5-8, Luke 4:5-9),how can you say that Jesus was without sin?
125. Do you believe that the existence of your God can be established through a formal proof? Why or why not?
126. Pick a famous argument for the existence of your God, then criticize that argument. (Assume I mean for you to use the academic definition of criticize).
127. Pick an argument against the existence of your God. If it is not a famous argument, copy it down here. Criticize this argument.(Assume I mean for you to use the academic definition of the word criticize).
128. What does your denomination think of the government? Read Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 13. Now what do you think of the government? If necessary, reconcile the two views.
129. What is your definition of the word Christian?
131. If someone accepts Jesus, and is “saved,”but then turns away from Jesus, is that person still saved?
132. Where did your God come from?
133. What are the requirements for being saved? Some say that faith alone is enough; others say that faith without works is dead. The Bible supports both these viewpoints. What does your denomination think?
134. If I decide I like the answers to the above questions, where can I get in touch with you? (Give name and email if available).
The priestly type… of man has a life interest in making mankind sick and in so twisting the concepts of good and evil, true and false, as to imperil life and slander the world. -Fredrich Nietzsche,The Antichrist
You, bursting with holiness,
And yet you never preach! Astonishing
I call it… -Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac
Do not, as some ungracious pastors do, Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven, Whiles, like a puffed and reckless libertine, Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads And recks not his own rede.-William Shakespeare, Hamlet
There were people out there tonight telling you that [God and] they love you. If they love you so much, where have they been all your lives? Thank you for coming to our church tonight. -Marilyn Manson, concert in Salem, OR 1/19/97
Eternal damnation. What a cruel hoax your priests have inflicted on your people. Souls change. Only God is eternal– and what kind of God would damn any created thing eternally? What sin could possibly be so great? -A. A. Attanasio, The Dragon and the Unicorn
I’m going to rub your faces in things you try to avoid.I don’t find it strange that all you want to believe in is only that which comforts you. How else do humans invent the traps which betray us intomediocrity? How else do we define cowardice? -Frank Herbert, Childrenof Dune