- Why doesn't God make it easier for people to believe in Him? Specifically, why doesn't He reveal Himself more overtly in the world?
- Why does intercessory prayer for someone's health seem feckless so much of the time?
- If God is indeed the Loving Ultimate Creator, why does He allow so much pain in the world? Yes, I know a lot of pain in the world is man-made, but what about disease? I suppose one could offer Polkinghorne's idea of God allowing creation to develop freely. Polkinghorne's reasoning seems sound enough, but even if he's right, it's something I find hard to swallow. The idea strikes me as God saying, "Well, I'll let creation 'do it's own thing' and that's going to cause people a lot of suffering, but I don't want to crimp nature's fruitfulness, so I won't intervene."
- How would people victimized by disease and inexplicable suffering who were not raised in Christian families ever come to view God as a loving father?
- Why does death exist? Yes, I know our typical response to this is that death is the result of the fall of man (and certainly man has turned from God whether or not you take Genesis 3 literally or not), but given that death and disease was present in the world prior to man (and, yes, I'm basing that on science--I'm not a biblical literalist about creation), then why death? Sure, you could say it was a natural process, but for people, it's a natural process that causes suffering, if not for the one dying, then for his/her loved ones.
- Why do we assert that it's any more logical to believe that God has always existed than it is to believe that matter and energy have always existed?
- If Isreal did actually slaughter some of the people the OT says they did, why would God order such things? Did Israel just perpetrate atrocities in the name of God?
- How much, if any, of the OT patriarch stories are intended as historical accounts?
- Why are there no demonstrative (in the NT sense) miracles in the world today? Maybe there are some, but I've certainly never witnessed such things.
- How can "becoming a Christian changed my life" be a useful testament to the validity of our faith when adherents to other faiths can make similar claims?
- How "free" is our free will? I'm not a determinist by any means, but considering the effects genetics, upbringing, and environment have on our decision making, a "strong volitionist" view may not have a strong footing.
- More Christians are asserting that we do not possess an immortal soul. Some base their stance on their interpretation of scripture, others on neuroscience, and some on both. Although the lack of a soul would be irrelevant in regards to resurrection (a bodily resurrection isn't dependent upon a soul), how could free will be anything but an illusion without some sort of soul, immortal or otherwise?
- Some NT writers seem quite confident of Christ's return in the short term. Two thousand years later, He still hasn't returned. Are we misintepreting what they wrote? Were they just wishful thinkers? Is the whole idea just bunk?
- Would I be a Christian if church hadn't been part of my upbringing?
- Why are we so slow to recognize our own Pharisaical tendencies?
Well, I could add to the list for some time, but I'll stop. I'd like to hear some readers' takes on some of these questions.
I'll end by coming back to Kester's post. In his discussion he referenced the passage from Mark 9 where a man brings his demon-possessed son to Jesus to be healed. The man's statement to Christ--"I believe. Help me overcome my unbelief."--has long been one of the most poignant scriptures in all the Bible for me, not only because the man's plea is often my own, but because Christ doesn't turn away from him. He heals the man's son.
Lord, be patient with us. Renew our faith. Remind us of your faithfulness. Give us strength to follow you in spite of our doubts.