Zeke and I have been sending each other questions regarding Christianity in an attempt to excise churchianity from our wicked hearts (and limited minds) and replace it with the Truth. We haven’t gotten around to answering many of them yet, and they’re starting to pile up in my e-mail. So I spent 15 minutes extracting them, and here they are.
- What would you say are the biggest problems in the American Christian church? Can you think of many strengths? What exactly makes a church strong? How would you check its health?
- How do you tell the difference between a zealous Christian and a brainwashed Christian? I suppose that’s a deeper issue and can broaden easily to any opposing ideologies (Republican/Democrat, VD/Scalzi supporters, etc.) On rereading the Q, I feel like it should be followed by a punchline.
- Do you think church congregations forbidding drinking/dancing/caffeine are theologically defensible? Is that their place?
- The game blogs advocate alpha behaviors like dominance. Christ often demonstrated submission (to the Father though). What are some situations where dominance is best for the Christian? Submission?
- Was the Great Commission for a select few or for all believers everywhere? What are the Christian’s responsibilities to “pass on the torch”?
- Are large church buildings justifiable? Beautiful stained glass windows, golden candle sticks, 10-ton organ…where is the line in luxury? On the other end of the spectrum, where is the line in minimalism?
- Do you agree with these as essential Christian doctrines? Why/why not? (http://carm.org/essential-doctrines-of-christianity)
- Is it still necessary to celebrate the Sabbath?
- What defines a cult to you? Do Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses fall in to your definition?
- Is church a place to learn and practice how to be perfect and free from sin? Or is it a place to humble ourselves, confess our sins, and experience healing from that? Is it where warriors train or is it the field medic?
- Is it necessary to be well-versed in other religions?
- I had a thought about bringing glory to God by denying certain things as an act of discipline. It’s often practiced during Lent, but how do you decide some sort of boundary? Shouldn’t a Christian continually deny himself luxuries to glorify God? And for that matter, why shouldn’t he stand in the cold or whip himself for the glory of the Father? Why is fasting considered holy whereas flagellation is considered extreme?
- “But the paradox of intersexual relations is that in order to be truly accepted, loved, and desired by a woman, a man must always keep a part of himself hidden well away from her.” This is topical for me. Thoughts? Is it really so tragic?
- Here’s a more positive question. What’s something the modern church is doing right?
- Are you a Calvinist? Do you think the material universe is entirely deterministic, mostly deterministic, 50/50?
- Do animals have souls?
- Do you believe the Bible commands us to be communists? It sure seems that way.
- Is the earth 6,000 years old?
- Do you think it’s ethical to use music, emotional video clips and other psychological manipulations to induce feelings of spirituality?
- Do you believe the Bible forbids fornication with unmarried women?
- Why are you a Christian? And why aren’t you an agnostic? An atheist? Why aren’t you a member of some other religion, namely Hinduism, Islam, or the local variety of Paganism (in the States, I think that means environmentalism)?
- Why do you go to church? Can you think of a good defense for people who don’t go?
- What happens to people who’ve never heard the gospel? Do they go to hell?
- What advice would you give a pastor who’s taken the red pill?
- What are your thoughts on worship music? The worship music industry?
- I think tithing is an artifact of Judaism, and that tithing money to support various church “staff” hurts the church through ill-repute more than it helps to assure quality. I think pastors et al should have normal jobs (at least part-time) and preach on the side. Do you agree or disagree?
- Do you believe in the doctrine of plenary verbal inspiration? Why or why not? (http://carm.org/bible-inspired)
- Which topics do you wish pastors would talk openly about? Would talk about at all? What do they talk about too much?
- Do you believe that Mat 5:34, Eph 4:29, Col 3:8, and/or James 3:10 forbid swearing as sinful?
- Which topics do you wish churches would offer those little training classes on (like the money ones, the parenting ones…et cetera)? Which do you think they offer too often? If you could obtain some skill or knowledge through your church without any effort, what would it be?
And this last one, which doesn’t reformat easily:
When you’re looking for a church, what do you want to find…
…in the pastor?
…in the congregation?
…in the facilities?
…in the doctrine?
…in the extracurriculars?
What are your minimum requirements? What would be ideal?