Monday, December 23, 2013

Questions about religion

I could write about how I’m still tired, how I’m sick of taking medication, concern for whether my brain is damaged, how I sometimes miss being in hospital and how if we don’t get employed early in the new year I could become a parking officer, but instead I’d rather talk about something meaty. Politics at the moment is too scary and, so religion it is. If you see me at the pool this summer, this is what I’d like to discuss.

1. Jesus was a Jew who followed the Jewish traditions. How do we know he wanted to start a whole new church rather than just a branch of Judaism?

2. Jesus wrote nothing himself. How can we quote him with any confidence when his words were written decades after his death, then transcribed a few times before coming to us in their present form?

3. If you study an ancient text, do you read other ancient texts to gain context about what ancient peoples thought, felt and believed? If not, why not?

5. Why were the lost gospels omitted from the New Testament? What were the forces that went into compiling the bible?

5. If you are Christian, why not be Catholic, if that is the most unbroken line to the original church? Why follow a breakaway, particularly a branch that was started by a King for his own reason (divorce, and taking property)? Were the policies to differentiate The Church of England from Catholicism (the end of worshipping Mary and the Saints, the end of idolatry, the end of purgatory, the end of monasteries, allowing priests to marry) based on theology or other factors?  

6. Why have some religions survived but most have failed? Is it due to geopolitical factors? Why are failed religions, eg, ancient Greek and Roman polytheism, considered childish or naive, but survived religions should be treated with respect?

7. What purpose did ancient, now defunct, religions serve? How do surviving religions serve different purposes?   

8. For parents who teach their children about religion and about Santa, when the children find out that Santa isn’t real, do they also question their faith in God?

9. Some believers say that God has a sense of humour. Where is the evidence for that?

10. If a self-appointed prophet appeared today, what scrutiny would that prophet be under? Is this scrutiny different from that applied to dead prophets?

11. How do people who treat the Bible as an historical document feel when historians say things like Jesus was born in April, or there is no evidence of the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt?

12. What is the relationship between religion and mythology?

13. Do people of faith discuss these issues at church/bible study?