Interview with the Preacher

“…you’ll have a better time in the interview if you know roughly what he’ll say beforehand, and that’s not difficult.”

Question from Bailey:
I’m an atheist and a freelance writer. My dad’s preacher has agreed to answer some questions I have about the Bible and his views on things of the religious matter. Trouble is, now that I have the opportunity to ask whatever I want (and get an entirely silly response I’m sure), I am a bit stumped. I have in mind:

1.) If the Bible is as black and white as they say, why ignore the laws in the Bible such as “don’t eat shellfish” and the like, and follow rules like “homosexuality is a sin?”…I will be referring to the laws in Leviticus.

2.) Do you believe in creationism or evolution and why?

3.) Why are there so many contradictions in the Bible? (I will be using specific examples, but would like as many ideas as possible).

Yeah, that’s pretty much it. Help?

Answer:
That lot’s a good start, but you’ll have a better time in the interview if you know roughly what he’ll say beforehand, and that’s not difficult.

I’ve only just answered a question about the nasty Leviticus laws, so check that out first.

Whether your father’s preacher is a creationist depends rather a lot on his denomination. Evangelicals are generally creationists to some extent (with some high-profile exceptions such as Francis Collins), whereas Catholics usually toe the Vatican’s line of theistic evolutionism which is basically, “God caused evolution.” Either way, what he believes is almost certainly what his church officially believes, and you’d do best to look that up.

You may be at a disadvantage if he does turn out to be a creationist. There are a great many creationist arguments which, unsound as they are, take 5-10 seconds each to say and require a bit of research to rebut properly. About the best thing I can do for you is supply a slightly old but still exhaustive list.

If you’re looking for contradictions, you can’t go past the Skeptics’ Annotated Bible. It’s got a huge collection of them. Best of all, it’s been around long enough for other sites to write replies, and in a grand example of sportsmanship the SAB links to them directly. If you have a selection of apparent contradictions you’re going to bring up, you can get a very good idea of how this preacher will respond if he decides to defend them.

Besides your suggested questions I have one more, which I always try to ask believers: quite simply, “Why do you believe?” Once you know that, it’s only natural to work through the follow-up question with them: basically, “Is that a good reason?” It’s why I’m an atheist, really. I examined my own reasons for believing in the Christian God, and they just weren’t good enough. Self-examination, if you can manage to provoke it in others, is a powerful tool.

Best of luck with the interview, whatever your goal is. (You didn’t really make that clear. I hope you actually have one.) Let us know how it goes.

SmartLX

2 thoughts on “Interview with the Preacher”

  1. why do churches lie about CHRISTMAS. 1. Jesus was not born on December, 25 or even around Christmas. 2. This is a custom that was being used by a group of people who worshiped the saturn god. they worshiped this god by exchanging gifts so the sun would come back from all the winter months. Now that I have finally read the entire bible myself the one thing that God repeats is I am a jealous God. So why would he want us to take a custom from another group of people who do not believe in him and use it to worship him with. Can anyone give me a truthful answer. Because even the word christmas is not in The Bible !

  2. The word Christmas evolved over a very long time; it started as Christ’s Mass. It became a tradition well after the Bible was written. The exact date is arbitrary, because by the time 25 December was decided upon around AD 440, nobody had a clue what day Jesus was born.

    The time of year and the style of the occasion (gatherings, gift-giving) were designed to overlap with pagan solstice festivals so that Christianity could compete with other religions of the time in community spirit and wholesome enjoyment. Christians would have felt left out if they didn’t have their own important anniversary celebrations while everyone else was partying, and pagans would have had less reason to convert.

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