- Why is the physical universe so unimaginably large?
- Why would God desire to create embodied moral agents, as opposed to disembodied minds (such as souls, spirits, or ghosts)? Why is the human mind dependent on the physical brain?
- Did Australopithecus have a soul? What about homo habilis? Homo erectus? Neanderthals? Why or why not? (HT: Keith Parsons)
- How do souls interact with physical matter? Do you have any answer that is not tantamount to "I don't know?" (HT: Keith Parsons)
- Why would God use biological evolution as a method for creation? Do you have any answer that is independent of the scientific evidence for evolution?
- Why are pain and pleasure so connected to the biological goals of survival and reproduction, but morally random? For example, why do sentient beings, including animals which are not moral agents, experience pain or pleasure that we do not know to be biologically useful?
- Why do only a fraction of living things, including the majority of sentient beings, thrive? In other words, why do very few living things have an adequate supply of food and water, are able to reproduce, avoid predators, and remain healthy? Why do an even smaller fraction of organisms thrive for most of their lives? Why do almost no organisms thrive for all of their lives?
- Why is there social evil, i.e., instances of pain or suffering that results from the game-theoretic interactions of many individuals?
- Why does God allow horrific suffering (and relatively little glorious pleasure)?
- Why does horrific suffering often destroy a person, at least psychologically, and prevent them from growing morally, spiritually, and intellectually?
- Why is there nonculpable (reasonable) nonbelief in God? Why are there former believers, i.e., people who, from the perspective of theism, were on the right path when they lost belief? Why are there lifelong seekers? Why are there converts to nontheistic religions and especially nonresistant believers who arrive as a result of honest inquiry at nontheistic experiences and beliefs? Why are there isolated nontheists, i.e., people who have never so much as had the idea of God?
- Why do some believers feel there is evidence for God's existence on which they may rely, but in which God is not felt as directly present to her experience, and may indeed feel absent?
- Why are there such striking geographic differences in the incidence of theistic belief?
- Why do only some people have religious experiences?
- For those people who do have religious experiences, why do they pursue a variety of radically different religious paths, none of which bears abundantly more moral fruit than all of the others?
- Why do so many people report not experiencing God's comforting presence in the face of tragedies?
- Why does the the relatively new discipline of cognitive science of religion support the claim that forming beliefs about invisible agents including gods is very natural for human beings?
- Why does God allow such confusion or disagreement among people, including theists, about what is morally good and bad?
- If you believe humans have free will, why would humans have free will if God exists? Why are we able to exercise free will in some situations but not others?
- Why should we believe that, of the innumerable deities worshiped by human beings over the ages, yours is the one that really exists? Why believe in Yahweh rather than Zeus, Odin, Marduk, Ishtar, Osiris, Quetzalcoatl, Madame Pele, Ahura-Mazda, etc., etc., etc.? (HT: Keith Parsons)
Wednesday, June 06, 2012
20 Questions for Religious Believers
These questions may induce deep reflection and a search for hard evidence: