Since we’ve been looking at history and science so much recently, I decided to list some philosophical objections to Christian theism.
Here are a few of the most common objections:
- Why does God allow evil and suffering?
- Why isn’t there more evidence for God’s existence?
- What about those who never heard about Jesus?
- Is religion more like ice cream or medicine?
- Aren’t all religions basically the same?
- What makes Christianity so special?
Let me just comment on the first two briefly.
First, the problem of evil. You should definitely start by making the atheist define what evil is, ontologically. This is, of course, impossible on an atheistic worldview, since there is no such thing as an objective moral standard or objective moral duties, on atheism. On atheism, there are only two possible sources of moral values and moral duties: 1) individual personal preferences and 2) arbitrary cultural conventions. Neither of these is adequate to ground a robust notion of evil.
Second, for the problem of suffering. People today are pretty sure that God, if he exists at all, would want humans to make themselves happy in any way that they want. This is, of course, a pretty self-serving concept of God. The purpose of life on Christian theism is to know God, and suffering may be necessary to help us do that. Even Jesus suffered. My own view is that suffering is necessary to cause people to desire God more than they desire earthly happiness and comforts.
Third, the hiddenness of God. Check if your objector is already familiar with the standard scientific arguments for the existence of a Creator and Designer, as well as the minimal facts case for the resurrection. There is a lot of evidence available, but it takes a little digging to find it. God is not interested in coercing people’s will by dazzling displays of his power. He is interested in having a relationship with people who are interested in him, and that means people must seek him.
You can find some less common or less interesting objections in my list of arguments for and against Christian theism.