I was having a chat with a friend of mine a few days back and we were discussing how a man can tell if a woman is marriage material. Now this friend is not yet a Christian, but he is a conservative. So I suggested to him this list of questions (below) that I ask women when I want to test them.
Before we look at the list, let me just point out what kinds of questions are bad. You want to avoid asking leading questions that will allow the person to just give a yes or no answer. Don’t ask “who did you vote for?” – that’s much too easy to fake. You want them to argue for their positions on different issues at length, and in their own words, and with reference to their own experiences.
It’s also a good idea for men to observe a candidate’s behavior over time to see if it’s consistent with her answers. Also, I think that even if the woman gets none of the questions right, but begins to ask you for books to read so that she can answer them, then that counts as a right answer. You just have to make sure she follows through, though. I sent one woman a book on Christianity and capitalism for her Christmas gift in 2009 and it took her 18 months for her to write the book review! In all honesty, these questions are pretty tough, so I think that the best you can hope for is that the person becomes curious. I had to learn the answers over many years. Having said that, you could probably cover most the topics with about $40 worth of introductory books.
When scoring the answers, you can award bonus points for extras, e.g. – naming any scholar as an authority (especially non-Christian scholars), referencing a book or a debate, referencing peer-reviewed papers, listing and refuting other points of view, recounting debates she herself has had with opponents, and pointing to her own past writings. Best of all is passion and aggression in answering the questions. Sometimes it is a good idea to pretend to disagree with her, or to pretend to be unconvinced, and then have her try to convince you. Another good thing to look for is susceptibility and vulnerability – she should have real feelings about these topics – it shows that she’s invested in them.
Note: these questions can be used to test Christian men, as well.
What scientific evidence would you point to to show that God created the universe OR that God fine-tuned the universe, or parts of the universe, for intelligent life?
SAMPLE ANSWER: The big bang theory, the fine-tuning argument, galactic habitability, stellar habitability, or terrestrial habitability.
BONUS POINTS: referencing hard evidence like light element abundances, cosmic microwave background radiation, or specific instances of fine-tuning.
WHY IT MATTERS: She can’t be a Christian unless she knows God exists, and that can’t just be based on feelings and community. An awareness of the scientific evidence shows a seriousness about spiritual things – that her belief is rooted in objective reality, not in subjective feelings, culture, community, etc. It’s not “her truth”, it’s “the truth”. If she doesn’t know why she believes, then she can’t be relied upon to make decisions as a Christian, especially in stressful situations. There is always going to be a conflict between doing what one feels like and doing what is consistent with reality. Having scientific facts helps a person to do what they ought to do.
2. Intelligent Design
Explain the concept of intelligent design and explain how it applies to the i) origin of life OR ii) to the fossil record.
SAMPLE ANSWER: Explain the concept of specified complexity and Dembski’s explanatory filter, then explain how it applies to (i) amino acid sequencing or the double helix, OR (ii) to the sudden origin of animal phyla in the Cambrian explosion.
BONUS POINTS: Ideally, for the origin of life question, she’s going to mention things like UV radiation, chirality, cross-reactions and peptide bonds, then calculate the approximate probabilities for generating a protein by chance. For the Cambrian explosion, she should graph out the introduction of phyla over time, and explain the Ediacaran fauna and why they are not precursors to the Cambrian fauna. Bonus points for bashing theistic evolution, or talking about the early earth environment and the problems with forming amino acids.
WHY IT MATTERS: Darwinian evolution is bad science because it is really just philosophy (naturalism) masquerading as science. You can’t marry anyone who pre-supposes a metaphysical view like naturalists do, and then allows that philosophical assumption to overrule the scientific evidence. You don’t want to be paired up with someone who lets their prejudices overturn data.
3. The problems of evil and suffering
Assuming that Christianity is true, why do you think that God would allow suffering and evil in the world? Distinguish between human evil and natural evil in your answer. Also explain what role you think God’s permission of evil and suffering has in maturing Christians.
SAMPLE ANSWER: Define the deductive and inductive problems of evil, explains several different responses to them, such as free will, character formation, natural law, the ripple effect, etc. Mention the burden of proof for claims that certain evils are gratuitous, i.e. – noseeums.
BONUS POINTS: explaining how evil relates to Christian theology and God’s purposes for humans being knowledge of him and not just happiness, talking about Jesus’ own suffering and the meaning and purpose of it. More bonus points for pointing out how atheists cannot even complain about evil without assuming objective morality, which requires a moral lawgiver.
WHY IT MATTERS: Lots of nasty things can happen in a marriage. Children can get sick or die, jobs can be lost, and so on. It helps when you are dealing with a person who expects it and will not jettison their responsibilities and belief in Christ in order to pursue happiness unencumbered. The main thing is that the woman thinks that the purpose of life is to know God, and that suffering and evil play a role in gaining knowledge of God. You definitely do not want to marry someone who thinks that the purpose of life is happiness, and that God is some big bearded grandfather in the sky who just wants to hand out goodies to people and make sure they are having a good time regardless of what they choose to do.
4. The moral argument
What is the is-ought fallacy? What is the difference between moral objectivism and moral relativism? Give one reason why moral relativism is false. Give one reason why an atheist cannot rationally ground prescriptive morality. Explain why objective morality relates to God’s existence.
SAMPLE ANSWER: Explain the is-ought fallacy. Explain objective and subjective morality. Discuss the reformer’s dilemma and how it refutes relativism. Explain that atheism requires materialism, and materialism denies free will – so moral choices are impossible. Outline the moral argument.
BONUS POINTS: Give more than one reason where only one was asked for, refute attempts to assert objective morality on atheism, explain how moral obligations are related to God’s design for humans.
WHY IT MATTERS: You can’t marry a person who thinks that the moral law is not a brake on their desire to be happy. There are going to be times in the marriage when self-sacrifice is required by the moral law – either for you, for God, or for the children. It will not be easy to be moral then, so you are looking for someone who thinks that morality is real, and not subject to their feelings and whims. It might be worth asking the person when she has had to do the right thing when it was against her self-interest, like those valedictorians who name Jesus in their speeches and then get censored.
5. The resurrection of Jesus
Assume you are talking to a non-Christian. Explain how you would make a case for the bodily resurrection of Jesus on historical grounds. This person does not accept the Bible as inspired and/or inerrant.
SAMPLE ANSWER: Explain the criteria for establishing minimal facts / historical bedrock, list a set of minimal facts, explain why they pass the criteria, propose at least two naturalistic alternatives to the resurrection, and disprove them. MUST mention 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 in order to pass.
BONUS POINTS: listing atheist scholars who support each minimal fact, discussing N.T. Wright’s work on the Jewish concept of resurrection, referencing Richard Bauckham’s work on the gospels as eyewitness testimony, mentioning the pre-suppositions (naturalism, relativism) of liberal scholars like Crossan and Borg.
WHY IT MATTERS: The resurrection is the cornerstone of Christian belief. A person cannot encounter skeptics and not be able to defend the resurrection on historical grounds to them. The resurrection matters to how people act: they act completely differently depending on whether they believe that this life is all there is, or that this life is just a precursor to eternal life with God. You want someone who takes the long-term perspective.
6. World religions
Name two major world religions and argue against them using either the laws of logic, scientific evidence or historical evidence. Explain the concept of middle knowledge, and why it is relevant to the problem of religious pluralism.
SAMPLE ANSWER: Refute Theravada Buddhism with the big bang, or refute Islam with the crucifixion of Jesus, etc. MUST mention specific beliefs of that religion that are testable, and not just argue that they reject Christianity and are therefore false. Explain how middle knowledge reconciles free will and divine sovereignty, and that it also helps to solve the problem of people who have never heard the gospel.
BONUS POINTS: Using evidence that is universally accepted by people outside of that religion. Using scientific evidence. Referencing Acts 17:27 or other Bible passages when explaining middle knowledge. Mentioning objections to middle knowledge, such as the grounding objection.
WHY IT MATTERS: Many younger Christians today believe that Christianity is moralistic therapeutic deism. They think that the purpose of religion is to have good feelings and to be nice to other people and to make other people feel good. It’s all about feelings. You need to make sure that she knows how to make people feel bad and is comfortable doing it, with evidence. Middle knowledge also grounds the person’s willingness to see people as being responsible for their acceptance or rejection of Christ. Instead of taking a hands-off fatalistic approach to salvation, someone who accepts middle knowledge is going to take persuasion seriously and expend effort to try to change the people around them.
How would you establish that the unborn are fully human and deserve protection? Explain three pro-abortion arguments and then show why they are false. Name three incremental pro-life policies that you would introduce if you were a legislator.
SAMPLE ANSWER: Use the SLED test and the law of biogenesis. Talk about the DNA signature of the unborn being distinct from the mother. Explain and refute the back-alley abortions argument, the it’s the woman’s body argument, the Judith Jarvis Thompson violinist argument, etc. Legislation would be parental notification, banning funding for abortion providers, mandatory sonograms, etc.
BONUS POINTS: Refute more pro-abortion arguments, reference specific legislation that is in-flight or was recently signed into law. Experiences protesting abortion or debating abortion with pro-abortionists. Experience counseling a post-abortive or crisis pregnancy woman. Mentioning biological details of foetus development.
WHY IT MATTERS: Basically, because people who think that sex is for recreation, and that it is ok to kill children to avoid any limits on the pursuit of happiness are not qualified for marriage. You can’t enter into an intimate commitment with someone who is willing to commit murder in order to get out of the consequences of their own selfish pursuit of pleasure. That is not going to work in a marriage – you need someone who makes good decisions, avoids harming others, is chaste and self-controlled, and takes responsibility for her actions when they go awry.
Explain the public purposes of marriage, and then outline three threats to marriage and explain what legislation you would propose to neutralize these threats. What choices should people make before marriage to make sure they will have a stable, loving marriage?
SAMPLE ANSWER: Some public purposes of marriage are i) to force moral constraints on sexual activity, ii) to produce the next generation of humans, iii) to provide children with a stable, loving environment in which to grow up. Three threats to marriage are i) cohabitation, ii) no-fault divorce – which leads to fatherlessness, and iii) same-sex marriage. There are others, too. For legislation, there are things like tax incentives, shared parenting laws, school choice to de-monopolize politicized public schools, etc. Pre-marriage behaviors are things like chastity, experience with children, having lots of savings, being physically fit, etc. Having a degree in experimental science, math or economics is excellent for a woman. Avoid artsy degrees, especially English.
BONUS POINTS: Name more threats to marriage, explain the effects of fatherlessness on children, explain how divorce courts work, explain how socialism impacts the family through taxation and wealth redistribution, explain what happens to women and children after a divorce.
WHY IT MATTERS: It’s important for people who want to get married that they understand that marriage takes time and effort, and it requires both spouses to prepare for marriage, to be diligent at choosing a good spouse, and to understand what spouses and children need in order to stay engaged.
Explain a person you admire and then tell me what you would do as a mother in order to produce that person from one of your children. What are some people and laws that you would change to make your job easier?
SAMPLE ANSWER: Jay Richards. Jay Richards is one of the most well-rounded Christian scholars operating today. He has knowledge of multiple areas, including economics and science. To make a Jay Richards, you need to be very careful about his education – which could mean homeschooling and saving money for later university tuition, as well as exposing him to apologetics and debates at an earlier age. He would need to have the dedicated attention of his mother for the first two years of his life, at least. Some laws that would help would be lower taxes, school choice, and academic freedom laws.
BONUS POINTS: Explaining how different things like day care, public schools, divorce, etc. harm children. Explaining how mother and fathers contribute to the child’s moral, cognitive, spiritual, etc. development at different times. Explain how the child is harmed if both parents are not present and engaged to play these roles.
WHY IT MATTERS: Marriage is an enormous sacrifice for a man. Not only is there the risk of divorce, but wives and children are very expensive. A man can serve God fine as a bachelor. He has to have compelling reasons why getting married would serve God more than staying single. Producing influential children seems to be one of the major reasons for a man to get married, and he needs to see evidence that his wife is on board with that.
Explain the roles of a man in a marriage, and tell me some of the things you would do in order to help your man to achieve those roles. What groups would oppose your husband from fulfilling those roles, and what have you done in your life to prepare yourself to help your husband in his roles? What are some of the most important things that a man needs from a woman, and what specific things should a wife do to provide them?
SAMPLE ANSWER: Men are supposed to be protectors, providers and moral/spiritual leaders. In order to help men to be protectors, women have to give them time to study to discern truth from lie, and support their ability to be physically strong, and to own firearms. It is also a good idea for women to have a positive view of good men who use force to restrain evil, as with the American military. Women should support the use of force against radical Islam and terrorists, as well. In order to help men to be providers, women have to advocate for fiscal conservatism in the public square. That would mean advocating for lower taxes, less government spending and smaller government. It would also mean being frugal in the home and helping the man to move ahead at work. If the children are up and out of the house, it could mean going back to work or starting a business to help make ends meet – or monitoring investments. For a man to be a moral and spiritual leader, a woman has to be supporting of him making moral judgments in the home, disciplining the children, holding her accountable for moral errors, and for making exclusive truth claims when it comes to spiritual things. She should not censor him when he gets into debates about spiritual things, even if other people who disagree feel bad – so long as he is not being a jerk. Her goal is not to be popular or liked, but to support her husband in his roles. The most important thing a man needs is respect, and that means treating him as important and significant, being grateful for his contributions, soliciting his opinion on things, being mindful of his male nature, which is more visual and sexual.
BONUS POINTS: Having read “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands”, “Men and Marriage”, “Love and Economics” and “Taken Into Custody”. More bonus points for having written about what she learned about men and marriage from books like that. The goal here is for her to have a real awareness and sympathy for what men are facing as husbands and fathers, and to have an idea of what women can do to support them in their roles.
WHY IT MATTERS: As a man, you have certain needs – the biggest need is for respect. If you are thinking of marrying a woman who cannot define respect, and doesn’t know how to give you respect, then you are going to be in for a world of hurt. The more she views marriage as a joint project with specific goals and external challenges, the more understanding and support you will get. No one wants to fly a plane with someone who doesn’t know how to fly a plane, fix a plane or navigate a plane. The more she knows about men and marriage, the better it will go for you – and the children.
This list is not exhaustive, it’s just to give you an idea of the kinds of things you should be looking for. A lot of it is the attitude. You are looking for a woman who does not shift blame onto you, who takes responsibility when she is wrong, who argues using logic and evidence, who loses arguments gracefully, and wins arguments gracefully, and who loves you and cares for you even if you are fighting.
If I were making a list for women, I would emphasize different things more centered around the specific roles that men play in the marriage – asking for his resume, work history, savings, investments, past relationships with women, parenting ability, self-defense ability, mentoring ability, and especially on moral issues and Christian truth claims.The most important thing that a woman needs is love, and the man should be ready to speak about love at length, and explain how he is going to provide her with love during the courtship and during the marriage. Women need to know that they are significant and desired by the man.
- New study finds that teens who lose their virginity are more likely to divorce
- New study finds that cohabitation damages children
- New peer-reviewed paper highlights the benefits of pre-marital chastity/abstinence
- Does being a virgin before marriage affect marital stability?
- Tactics and talking points for defending traditional marriage
- New study links father absence to increased bullying
- How important are biological fathers for healthy child development?
- What causes women to become single mothers, and how are children affected?
- New study shows that children of working mothers live unhealthier lives
- New Scientist article shows why fathers are necessary for children’s well-being
- New study finds that women choose mates based on appearance
- Should Christian men marry Democrats who claim to be Christians?
- Men should prefer women who allow moral judging and spiritual leading
- Where have all the good men gone, and why aren’t men marrying?
- Do men have a responsibility not to marry feminists?
- Why do some women tolerate jerks as boyfriends?
- The dangers of sentimentality in relationships
- Is Mark Driscoll afraid to hold a woman accountable for her own choices?
- How feminism made women unsuitable for marriage and parenting
- Why Christian men should be chaste
44 thoughts on “Questions to ask to find out if a woman is a solid Christian”
I hope you realize that these questions should not come as the first thing in the inchoate relationship. I’m all for qualifying a woman so you don’t end up in a relationship with a Dragon, but there are some important steps that should come first, old boy.
I hope you don’t forget there’s got to be some attraction? If you approach this as Captain Apologetics, prepare to have your cape set on fire.
Well, now that we are in the comments, I can tell the whole truth. I do use these questions, but I try to phrase them as not being directed AT THE WOMAN. Instead, I will talk about a recent conversation or something and just see if she is interested in the topics and has anything to contribute. But you’re absolutely right, of course – you can’t ask all these questions like some sort of 3-hour job interview!
I do have to tell you though… there was one girl who got a shorter list of 5 all right, and she got very excited about them and thought they were fun.
That’s really cool. My wife likes talking about things on your list too, which makes for interesting conversation and a lot of respect from me. She has a growing interest in things like theology, apologetics, and politics.
I send her links to this blog. :)
Fred, I agree that firing this list off at a woman from the start is a bit intimidating. But I don’t think that attraction has to be there from the beginning. I think people should start with friendship, with discussing these things naturally, and move on from there. Attraction can develop later in the relationship.
Fred Woodbridge, you have given me my last laugh of the day.
Questions 1 through 6 are aimed exclusively within a particular context. Most of the spiritually mature Christian women that I know would not know how to answer. I think they should stick to Proverbs 31 and branch it out into their personal context.
Another thing, most Christians, even Christian thinkers do not spend the majority of there time debating atheists. To be quite honest, I do not know of any conversations that I’ve had, that have even sparked remote interest in God. Grant it, most of the atheists that I know are from the internet, but they are usually just antagonists, resulting in feelings of frustration at their angry outbursts. This is despite my self control, courtesy and respect displayed.
I think what you wrote would have been true 50 years ago, but with a 75% failure rate on producing Christian adults, we need to focus more on truth. Christian men need to be looking for women who can answer questions 1-6, because that’s where the challenge is right now.
Even many of the young girls I know that are in college don’t care to get into it. They tend to compartmentalize their professors from what they believe is reality. Now, I’m not saying that there isn’t a need to help these young people and equip them for college, and I’m not saying there are not problems. I think that the biggest two problems is being able to confront the hedonistic temptations as well as the intellectual sophistication on the campuses (subject material, teachers in authority, peer pressure, grades, etc.).
Another problem is that churches tend to target youth, specifically because they think that this is the best way for life long followers of Christ. This may not be the best. I’m certainly no expert. I do think we need to cultivate an intellectual life with the spiritual formation.
Yep! That compartmentalizing is exactly what I observed as well. I met women doing amazing degrees, majoring in experimental sciences and minoring in ethics, and they completely separated their faith from what they were studying. They would push lectures and debates back across the table to me when I tried to get them to learn stuff.
Dallas Willard has some excellent stuff on this subject. Anyone interested can google: dallas willard~mp3.
The latter paragraph is in concern with Christian women engaging in evangelism. I’m sure that some of them that I know are actively sharing the Gospel with some skeptics, but they usually tend to stress the relational side (Jesus, salvation, etc.) or the authority side (the Bible). Even then, they have no idea that they are even using apologetics. they are simply sharing the Gospel. There is the tendency for them to put the skeptic in God’s hands, rather than trying to impliment a bottom to top, rational argument.
I’m just trying to say that I don’t think the above is the best standard for finding a suitable helpmate, unless you are seeking a co-laborer in apologetics or some ministry to skeptical folks (i.e. college campus ministry, internet evangelism, etc.).
Yes, you are 100% correct. This is the typical approach taken by Christian women in evangelism, and that’s why I am deliberately tying to detect that so I can avoid it. I don’t think that the relational/authority approach produces influential Christian children. I don’t think that the approach of putting the skeptic in God’s hands is effective for raising Christian children, and having an influence in the community or the church.
You have a good point here, but this is more likely to be something that is developed over a period of time. If a Christian woman is interested in doctrine and evidence in general, than I think she will be apt to cultivate this.
I want my wife to have a general understanding of these topics (and she is getting there, along with myself) so she has an answer ready either to a question given to her or if she hears Christianity\Conservatism getting a bad rap, she can defend it like a true ambassador for Christ. This kind of learning isn’t just for men, but for women too.
There are awesome women like Ann Coulter, Bachmann and Sharp just to name a few who can defend Christianity and conservatism in Rambo-like fashion. It’s also good to have a wife who can do these things, so the parents can dual-teach the children. A team is better than a solo effort.
Just some thoughts.
Ann Coulter’s a big bully, and don’t you believe for a minute she doesn’t take it out on her nearest and dearest. Wife material? Run for the hills.
Are you trying to say that Proverbs 31 is the only passage of scripture that is applicable to women? Last time I checked, the whole scripture is applicable to both women and men. Also, I can know God exists without having a degree in advanced science. A Christian woman can be strong in her faith without being an intellectual giant. These questions might reflect your specific interests in looking for a specific type of woman, but should not be used as a broad generalization of all believers.
I’m fairly sure that the early Christians, in the middle of a pagan empire and all sorts of heresies, still didn’t demand that the Christian man or woman in their lives should demonstrate their command of the right side of Christology or chiliasm questions. Not go hang out with the Gnostics and Nicolaites, sure. But deliver discourses and answer pop quizzes? No.
Now, if you want to marry an evangelism-focused woman with a theology and science degree, or a woman who actually loves you enough to study a bunch of topics just to be able to talk with you (a traditional and honorable gambit for both sexes), then you have a right to ask these sorts of questions. But that requires a lot of preliminary selection bias against most of the Christian women in the entire world. Even then, the woman would have to be pretty darned interested in you and in these topics not to tell you kindly to go jump in the Dead Sea.
Focused on any other kind of woman, this sort of questionnaire is more likely to leave you lonely and alone. It is pushy. It is boring. It is controlling. And mind you, I say this advisedly, and even as an extremely nerdy, apologist-minded, and theologically-interested Christian woman.
Not all gifts belong to all Christians in the same ways, and binding burdens on your potential beloved is a real good way to make her not want to be loved by you. Demanding that God send you a wife built according to your specifications is a really good way to make God laugh at you.
That is some fantastic advice Maureen. You sound like an awesome woman of God. I would say that if you were available, guys like Wintery Knight should jump at the chance. Shoot, if I weren’t a committed man, I would look you up. :)
A couple of things to consider. Didn’t Jesus say ask anything in my name and it shall be given to you ? My experience with that has been the following:
1. it hasn’t happened yet
2. quite often God will “second guess” me and answer me with what I really want (Quite often what I want isn’t the best thing and I thank God for showing me).
3. He gives it to me
In a nutshell, when He doesn’t give me something it is because He has something better. With that being said I always make my requests politely known and finish them up with let Your will be done because You know best.
Another point is I am in agreement with WK on asking these questions. In fact, a woman has to PROVE TO ME that she is VERY SERIOUS about Christ and living the overcoming life ( see Rev 2 & 3) and not interested in the moral cesspool that America has become. I have met very few ( and I do mean very, very few ) who are interested in a all out relationship with Jesus and what is entailed with Christian discipleship.
I am really going to go out on the limb and speculate if I ran across someone like I just mentioned ( ie overcoming) I am pretty sure she will be just as picky as me and we will have quite a bit in common.
Kudos to you for appreciating different gifts and knowing “your gift” as different people have different callings but the same Spirit. When I read between the lines of what WK is saying I am going to guess he is looking for a godly “help mate/mother/wife” vs. a church attender.
I was going to try to put my thoughts into my own words, but Maureen has already said it so well I couldn’t agree more.
You are looking for an Ann Coulter type, not a wife.
You need to spend more time thinking about more important things like gratitude and looking for the presence of God in the world and the people around you, rather than focusing on convincing women to be interested in apologetics. I don’t think you’re approach is going to find you a wife, at least not the kind of wife that you can love in the way that a man and a woman are meant to love eachother.
Yes, the response of women who are not solid Christians is going to be to disregard the questions, refuse to learn anything, and to attack me personally. That’s why this quiz is useful – it detects women who are not Christians easily. Either they don’t know, or they don’t want to know. And smart men don’t want to marry a non-Christian and allow her to block them from their roles as husband and father because of her feelings and selfishness.
Sorry, if I’m misunderstanding, but it sounds like you’re saying MJ is attacking you personally. I don’t see how MJ did any such thing. In fact, if anything, all MJ “attacked” was your approach.
Please correct me if I’m wrong.
Well, that’s for each reader to decide. I think it’s useful to see how some women respond to the questions. That’s the key. Do they want to learn how to answer them? Or not? If not, why not? What does it say about them that they don’t want to answer them? Go through the questions one by one and ask yourself – what does it mean that she refuses to answer this question? What does it say about her understanding of Christianity?
More interestingly, suppose God’s existence and character is being attacked in public. What does it say about a woman who has never studied these questions in all her life, so that she knows how to respond to attacks on God’s reputation? Should a Christian man knit his soul to a woman who doesn’t care about God’s reputation?
Yes, the benefit of the quiz is clear when reading a response like this one. Basically, the quiz is meant to detect women who either 1) don’t know the answers or 2) don’t want to know the answers. As a man, you want to avoid someone who is isn’t an authentic Christian, and this quiz helps men to detect those people. The women who refuse to focus on the questions but instead offer evasions and personal attacks are not authentic Christians – they don’t want to have to do any work, and they don’t want to have their freedom bounded by knowledge. They want to do anything that makes them feel good. It basically shows a man how much a woman believes in the objectivity of her obligations to God and to other people in her family and community.
Let me take for an example a certain young woman in my church. She has a deep passion for God, his word, the Christian faith, the church, ministry, prayer, etc. One could be forgiven for thinking that her every waking moment is saturated with and invested in a fully committed Christian faith, most notably because that is the context in which she ever talks about anything. And it is probably not far from the truth of the matter, as it is rather difficult to fake that sort of thing consistently. The point is, she is absolutely devoted to God and involves herself in the local church is as many capacities as she is able. She loves to stay immersed in and reflect upon God’s word, gets frustrated by worldly conversations taking place during Bible study, has a rich prayer life and has a passion for motivating others to develop or sustain one for themselves; I could go on and on but you get my point.
Now here is kicker, as it pertains to this post. The level of knowledge and complexity these apologetic questions involve are not only far beyond her capacity to understand or articulate but they are incongruent with her personality and spiritual gifting in the first place. I could ask her about cosmic background radiation but she is unlikely to have a clue what I am talking about. I could explore the issue of theodicy with her but she probably could not even spell it, much less entertain the finer points of it. She simply does not have any interest in such intellectual pursuits as this, being geared more toward matters of the heart, of nurturing the spiritual life of her friends in church, of encouraging people to serve in the church, to pray, to fellowship and so forth.
In short, one would be extraordinarily wrong if they thought that she is not a solid Christian from the fact she bombed this quiz.
I have to agree with some of the other commenters here. If the stated goal is “to find out if a woman is a solid Christian”, finding out if she is deeply into apologetics would be fine if you were aiming “to find out if a woman is a solid Christian apologist”, but not simply a solid Christian. There is nothing about “solid Christian” that requires a keen knowledge of the defense of the faith. Indeed, Scripture seems to indicate … now, I know this may sound nuts, but … that the genuine Body of Christ is like a body. There are different parts of the body that have different functions. Not all are apologists, are they? Not all have the same approach, do they?
Spiritual maturity is important. “Solid Christian” is indeed important. I’m just not convinced that having the proper response to the “is-ought fallacy” is a reasonable measure of either concept.
I find it hard to see how someone who is so suspicious, argumentative, critical, angry and arrogant considers themselves to be a “Solid Christian”.
Christian women prefer men who are good husband material, ie. authentic Christian men. Just because you are an expert in apologetics does not mean that you are a “Solid Christian”, because being a Christian has more to do with the heart than the intellect. Also being able to win arguments against athiests does not make you a ‘Solid Christian’. I’m not saying this to “personally attack you”, but because I hope it can help you in your search for a wife.
Can we PLEASE talk about the questions and stop attacking me personally? This post isn’t about me, it’s about giving men a list of questions to help them to find a woman who cares about developing a Christian worldview, so that God will be served by the marriage. The questions are, I think, excellent for detecting whether a woman knows God exists as a matter of fact, whether she is resistant to tragedies, whether she is diligent in studying areas that matter to her Christian life, whether she cares about God as a real person, whether she has a good understanding of the role of Christianity in a believer’s life, whether she is aware of alternatives to Christianity, whether she has thought about Christianity and politics, whether she has thought about Christianity and economics, whether she has thought about how to raise effective Christian children, whether she has thought about the roles of Christian men in the marriage, whether the woman thinks the resurrection really happened, whether she believes in traditional marriage, and whether she has a passion for protecting unborn and born children.
On Facebook, two of the best Christian women I know loved this post – and they should, because they are able to answer these questions. The phrase used was “Love it!”. Authentic Christian women DO love these questions, because it gives them an opportunity to show how their faith has worked out in practical service to God. These questions are a test of the quality of faith that a woman has, and a great way to rule out pretenders.
“Authentic Christian women DO love these questions, because it gives them an opportunity to show how their faith has worked out in practical service to God. These questions are a test of the quality of faith that a woman has, and a great way to rule out pretenders.”
When I think of the word “heart” as associated with Christianity, the first thing that comes to mind is an emotional mindset, void of doctrine. If not for the doctrines of sin, Hell and Salvation, there would be no Christianity at all – just a general, vague feeling of being good. I don’t see how you can say that the heart (emotions) is more significant than knowledge.
Yes, without knowledge, destruction comes (From the Bible).
My 2nd post, as a layman and interested in apologetic(I’m from asia), I’ve been a follower of these type of discussions and often watched WLC debates.
I believe it is important for men and women to be involved in some discussions especially in doctrines such as the Trinity, Deity of Christ and the resurrection, I believe that every Christian should understand and defend these doctrines. Failure to understand gives rise to cults of all kinds we have today. The list are quiet above the average, few among us would be interested in topics such as cosmology(yes let us leave that in school). But, education is the key, and there must be someone who is willing enough to share the list in a meaningful way so that a congregation will understand it from the least up to the great.
Thanks irisguayer, and welcome! We value your opinion.
The reason why my list is focused on the resurrection more than the incarnation and trinity is because I am putting a heavy emphasis on things that are tied to evidence in the real world. The WHOLE POINT of the questions is to establish that the woman doesn’t just think that these things are “our made-up beliefs from Sunday school” or “what I had to say in order to be accepted in church” or “what my parents made me learn in church”. The questions establish that the woman has done the additional work to link all of her stated beliefs to the real physical world out there.
So I don’t want to hear her recitations of Bible verses in Genesis – I want to hear her explain the light element abundance predictions that prove the Big Bang, a theory which shows that the entire physical universe came into being out of nothing 14 billion years ago. That’s when I know she believes in creation. I don’t want to hear her talk about the Bible verses on marriage and divorce. I want to here her speak at length, with evidence, on the challenges of no-fault divorce and single mother welfare to marriage. And so on. I don’t believe someone who just speaks words. I want to see that they have tried to applied what the Bible says to the real world, and have found these things to be true. I do this because I do not believe that a woman can overcome her emotions to make good decisions if religion is just something she “believes” in because it makes her feel good and makes people (like her parents) like her. She has to have done the work to test what the Bible says, and using evidence and research.
Look at Mariangela quoting Thomas Sowell on economics. That’s the kind of sign that a man looks for when he evaluates a woman for marriage. Has she done the work to look out at the world to understand it? Just quoting the Bible is not enough – anyone can do that, whether they believe it or not. I don’t believe that a person can be a robust Christian without linking theology and the Bible to the real world, and cosmology is probably one of the first and best places to do that, along with the historicity of the resurrection.
I dunno, Knight. I would ace your quiz now, but when I married my nominally Christian (at the time) husband, I was a non-Christian theist with an atheistic background.
If one just uses the questions to see about the other person’s intellectual curiosity, that could be good. Not everyone is intellectually curious or wants an intellectual curious spouse, but if you do, (I did and have one.) I can see how these would be effective for that. I’m not sure, however, that requiring one’s spouse to be an apologetics hobbyist is an effective way of selecting a compatible mate. And note that I do think these questions test specifically for an apologetics hobbyist rather than a strong Christian.
Think of, for example, a woman who is wholly ignorant but sings hymns of God’s goodness and love as she undergoes incredible physical or emotional suffering. Is she less of a Christian for lack of intellectualizing her faith? I don’t think that is the case. The fullness Christian faith is open to all people regardless of intellectual ability. (Lest we fall into Gnosticism. Yow!)
Would you be compatible with an intellectually incurious woman? Probably not. But I think that you might be confusing intellectual curiosity with a strong Christian faith if you think that these questions test for the latter.
Interesting questions though, so thanks for that!
Your blog looks great on policy! But I would like to see more about apologetics.
I think what the questions show is whether a woman actually believes in God enough to do hard things to know him, to defend him, and to bring more of her thinking in line with the truths about his existence and character. Can a woman defend the unborn, or God’s existence, or traditional marriage, or parental authority, by singing hymns? Of course not. Is singing fun? Yes. And that’s why lots more men and women prefer singing to answering the questions. And that’s why the questions are a test for SOLID, AUTHENTIC Christianity. A person can say anything they want to say when it comes to making claims about faith. But only a solid Christian can answer those questions. Someone who actually knows that the things they claim to believe are really TRUE, whatever their feelings might be.
I have received compliments from atheists for this post, because now they see why so many people who claim to be Christians can act like non-Christians. The list of questions separates the champions from the pretenders.
Now, NO Christian is going to know the answer to those questions at age 15. But if you reach age 30 and don’t know the answers, that’s when something is wrong. There are many people who have spent years on their educations in order to get jobs and to make money, but the most they will do for Jesus is sing emotional hymns. That says something about the state of their Christian worldview. You can make an inference when you meet a Christian doctor or lawyer who has an expensive home and an expensive car and takes expensive vacations, who nonetheless has never learned how to answer these questions. If they haven’t re-prioritized their lives to protect God’s reputation and to know him so that they can make good decisions that reflect his character, in what sense can they claim to be authentic Christians? It would be like me claiming to be an investment banker because I said I was an investment banker and had emotional experiences while singing songs about investment banking.
Here are a couple of posts for you to read:
I understand your point here, but I don’t buy the idea that people of lower ability in logic or memory cannot have authentic, Christian faith, and your argument here would seem to lead inextricably to that conclusion.
I should clarify that I definitely agree that any Christian who swims in discussion circles has a Christian obligation to prepare himself to participate in those discussions intelligently.
I think we are 100% in agreement then.
No no, I get you. I think I am in a part of the world where there are ENORMOUS challenges to Christians from scholars, culture, media, etc. So I need a wife who can counter all that.
I agree with you 100% in your situation where Christianity was often attacked in campuses, media, from scholars and from your own culture, so your list is what you need to find a mate, however I may add. Her love for you would be overwhelming and that’s the beauty of having a partner in life.
From where I stand, it is very important also to know the answer of your questions. For there are gay activists who challenged Christianity’s traditional values such as marriage and the sanctity of life who promoted same sex marriage and abortions. I hope one day, we can have someone like William Lane Craig who will do tour campuses just to educate students on these issues.
1. While it is obvious that this list might be a good tool for YOU to find YOUR wife, it is ridiculous to generalize this as something that is helpful for all Christian men. There are lots of different types of men who minister and work in lots of settings who don’t need a wife who is super interested in apologetics and philosophy.
2. You might think you are being subtle when you try to bring up these questions with women you know, but trust me, every woman I know has a “wife-test-sniffer” a mile long. They can tell when they are being “tested.” And they don’t like it.
3. A wonderful part of marriage is teaching each other things. Just because a woman doesn’t know all these things (or even understand all the reasons why this information is important) doesn’t mean you can’t, over the course of a marriage, discuss and teach things like this to her. I have LOVED learning a lot of theology from my husband and am certainly thankful he didn’t make me pass a test to agree to marry me.
4. I just found it a bit laughable that one of the first things important to you in your discussion of the role of the husband has to do with bearing arms.
5. The point of motherhood and fatherhood is not to “produce” some other famous person from your children. It is to raise your children to love God and love their neighbor, and help them to become who God created them to be.
Wintery Knight wrote: ” I don’t think that the relational/authority approach produces influential Christian children.”
I beg to differ. God is a relational God. He created us to be in relationship with him and with each other. If you ask Christian converts what drew them to Jesus, you will find that the majority of people were “loved” to the Lord. That means that people manifesting God’s love who honestly cared about them enough to listen, to help, to serve, to stand with them in trials, to encourage and support them in their endeavours are why they gave Christianity a second look.
Too often I see people who fail to keep a balance between the head AND the heart when it comes to their Christian lives. Healthy spiritual formation demands both in equal parts. Yes, men AND women, should know the Bible, know the reasons why it is true, know why humanism and Darwinism and all those other “isms’ and religions are not. But to emphasize the intellectual at the expense of the relational is to make a huge mistake that will lead to less-effective witnessing and less-successful marriages and friendships.
Marriage isn’t a cold calculated intellectual union. Of course, you should seek a woman with a good mind who knows how to apply it successfully, but no woman wants to be a mere “walking brain”. Quite frankly, most women don’t want a man that is nothing but a walking brain either.
Please don’t sully the aspect of relationship. Knowing how to make one work is far more important than being able to “graph out the introduction of phyla over time and explain the Ediacaran fauna”. That information is not going to make anybody a good husband or a good wife. I’m not even sure it’s going to make them a good witness because the average joe on the street doesn’t care about such things at all. What they DO care about is having somebody sit with them as they watch their child die of cancer or help them find a job to support their family. Living out God’s love — THAT is how you win people to Christ.
I agree with the conclusions in this post and investigating a Christian’s knowledge of these things/ helping her to understand more and the reasoning behind why it’s important, but I do think there are other reasonings that should be added in addition to these that lead to the conclusion.
Ultimately, only a person who realizes they are a sinner (and therefore need to be saved from sin) and that they must obey God completely is going to be a person who will submit to these things (the role of a wife, the role of a Christian in society) and carry it out with all their heart. They need to properly understand the world around them so they can adjust their decisions and actions accordingly (they can gain this understanding by studying news, politics, apologetics, how to invest yourself, things like WK has mentioned in this blog; the part that I want to add is that in addition, they also need to know the difference between right and wrong according to God’s truth, which she can study by reading the Bible. For example, under the section about moral relativism WK says, “You can’t marry a person who thinks that the moral law is not a brake on their desire to be happy. There are going to be times in the marriage when self-sacrifice is required by the moral law – either for you, for God, or for the children. It will not be easy to be moral then, so you are looking for someone who thinks that morality is real, and not subject to their feelings and whims.” They need to understand what that moral law is (by reading the Bible), then in addition be able to apply it to reality and have the faith to stick to what they know is true ( as opposed to being confused about right and wrong and allowing their emotions/ selfish appetite decide what seems right or wrong for the moment.) I think in the above quote WK has the same ideas as I’m mentioning, it’s just not explicitly stated like he has explicitly stated the importance of Christians being able to practice apologetics.
The conclusion of the post is: if a woman (or man, it applies to everyone) is able to answer these questions (in the post), or is willing and persistent in finding a way to answer these questions, she shows signs of being a solid Christian. I agree with this, because I think it lines up with what the Bible teaches,
“22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” –James 1:22-27
The Word tells us to repent of our sins. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” A solid Christian is repentant (actually applies what she has learned to reality and does what the Word says, not just vaguely affirms “I believe in God but He knows I want to be happy so I’ll continue doing/tolerating whatever sin” ), and also tries to lead others to repentance. Not only is she repentant herself (this is a stage that never gets reached for many who call themselves Christians), she’s also advocating others to be repentant as well and is studying so she can provide an answer/argument to their false thinking (this further shows the extent to her commitment of repenting, and helping others to repent also, it shows a stage of maturity that comprehends commitment to God more deeply than many people. Of course, our maturity in comparison to other people isn’t what we are getting after or measuring by, what we are measuring by is God’s truth and His expectations of commitment from us in Christianity.) I’m not going to go through and explain how every question here lines up with the Word, but in my understanding of it, it does. I think these questions are helpful. In response to comments that say that “not all Christians are called to be apologists” I disagree, I think all Christians should be able to answer these questions, or at least want to. I don’t think it is like a hobby at all, studying these things and knowing how to interact with those who oppose Christian principles is part of being able to resist sin in the world we live in.