Copyright © 2003, by John Lankford, Fort Smith, Arkansas

The atheist asks us:

  1. Why does God allow innocent children to suffer from birth defects, illnesses, etc.?
  2. Why doesn't God at least prevent damaging tornadoes, hurricanes, etc., from killing babies?
  3. Why did He allow Hitler to rise up and why did He not stop the horrors of the Holocaust immediately!?
  4. Why doesn't He heal those who have devoted their lives to Him when they ask for help?
  5. Why does one have to have some serious malady like cancer to "feel that God is close"?
  6. Why are we here? Why did He create fallible beings anyway?
  7. If He wants us to believe in Him, why doesn't He make Himself a little more obvious?
  8. Why are "answers-to-prayer" closer to just the "turn-of-natural-events" than some intervention by a God?
  9. Why should those who follow God experience death? Why doesn't He just "take them" like He did with Enoch?
  10. Why would God send anyone to a burning Hell if He "loves the world" as it says in John 3:16?

Christians have difficulty answering these questions. (And many of us are at a loss in trying.)

We ask the atheist to explain:

  1. What ever happened to the body of Jesus? It's been 2,000 years now and we need an answer!
  2. Why didn't the Romans stop that pesky Christianity in its tracks by bringing out the body of Jesus for all to see? It would have been an easy task. The Jews would have been eager to help them. [It is documented that this strategy was employed. Some Jews took "a body" and dragged it through the streets of Jerusalem and declared it was the body of Jesus (see the book Toldoth Jeschu ... the Jewish account of Jesus).]
  3. How could the disciples have stolen and hidden the body of Jesus without such being detected? (Dead bodies stink.)
    Further, how could they have "preached" the resurrection and given their lives for such if they knew the truth of the matter? What would they have gained?

Skeptics have difficulty answering these questions (and many are at a loss to try).

Our questions versus theirs:

      The questions the atheist asks us are far more philosophical and complex than what we ask. Ours are grounded in an examination of real historical facts. The atheist's questions are more like "what is the meaning of life?", and ours are more like "what happened to the car keys?" A simple retracing of history will provide a probable solution to our questions but not theirs. What they ask us to explain can go on endlessly. What we ask them to explain has a stopping place ... a body of evidence for an event.

Practical application:

      Often in discussions with the unbelievers, the talk never gets to the resurrection but stays on one of those cosmic, hard to answer issues that they raise. Let's confront the unbeliever with our questions rather than spending time on his/hers! Then we will get to the real crux of the matter. Then either belief or unbelief will be confessed and we can go on from there.


      Our confidence in Christ does not depend upon our ability to answer the tough questions on suffering, etc., but upon the evidence for the resurrection! That was the driving force behind first century preaching and teaching (in Acts). For them, the resurrection proved Christianity true (1 Corinthians 15:14,32). Let's restore the resurrection to its original status in evidence and presentation of the gospel!

  Read Extra-Biblical Historical Evidence for the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus

  Link to other Evidences by John Lankford

West-Ark Church of Christ