Banned Questions about the Bible

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Overview

From Christian Piatt: "When I was a teenager, my youth minister threw a bible at my head for asking questions." Too often, for various reasons, people don't have the opportunity to ask the hard questions they have about faith, religion, salvation and the bible. And when questions are left unanswered in communities of faith, people either seek answers elsewhere or lose interest all together. The purpose of the series is to collect the most compelling and challenging questions from various theological areas and ...
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Banned Questions about the Bible

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Overview

From Christian Piatt: "When I was a teenager, my youth minister threw a bible at my head for asking questions." Too often, for various reasons, people don't have the opportunity to ask the hard questions they have about faith, religion, salvation and the bible. And when questions are left unanswered in communities of faith, people either seek answers elsewhere or lose interest all together. The purpose of the series is to collect the most compelling and challenging questions from various theological areas and pose them to a panel of "experts" who are challenged with responding in two hundred words or less in plain English. This volume addresses challenging or controversial questions about scripture collected from people on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other social networking media. Respondents include theology professors, clergy, lay leaders, liberals, conservatives and voices representing a spectrum of views. The idea behind the books is not so much to provide definitive answers as it is to stimulate thought, reflection and discussion. By offering multiple perspectives, readers have the opportunity to arrive at their own questions. Better, they come to understand that questioning faith is not taboo, but rather that it can be at the foundation of a strong and growing faith. The directive given to each respondent guided them to be concise and to speak in plan language, but also not to rely exclusively on "the Bible says it" justifications, or to wax abstract or overly intellectual. Instead, they write from personal experience as much as possible, and provide real-life contexts that will allow the average seeker or churchgoer to apply such ideas to their daily lives.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780827202467
  • Publisher: Christian Board of Publication
  • Publication date: 4/28/2011
  • Pages: 226
  • Sales rank: 304,452
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.48 (d)

Meet the Author

Christian Piatt is an author, editor, speaker, musician and spoken word artist. He serves as the Director of Church Growth and Development at First Christian Church in Portland, OR. Christian is the creator and editor of the Banned Questions book series, which includes Banned Questions About the Bible and Banned Questions About Jesus. He co-created and co-edits the "WTF: Where's the Faith?" young adult series with Chalice Press, and has published a memoir on faith, family and parenting titled Pregmancy: A Dad, a Little Dude and a Due Date.

Christian is:
A Contributor to the Huffington Post;
A Blogger for Patheos;
A Contributor to Red Letter Christians, and;
A Contributor to Sojourners, among others.

Christian Piatt is an author, editor, speaker, musician and spoken word artist. He serves as the Director of Church Growth and Development at First Christian Church in Portland, OR. Christian is the creator and editor of the Banned Questions book series, which also includes Banned Questions About Christians and Banned Questions About Jesus. He co-created and co-edits the "WTF: Where's the Faith?" young adult series with Chalice Press, and has published a memoir on faith, family and parenting called PregMancy: A Dad, a Little Dude and a Due Date.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Why a Book about Banned Questions? 1

Questions

1 Can I be a Christian if I don't believe the Bible is perfect, handed down directly from God to humanity without error? 2

2 If Adam and Eve were the first (and only) people on Earth, where did their kids' spouses come from? Did they marry each other? And if everyone on Earth but Noah's family was killed in a great flood, did Noah's kids sleep with each other? Isn't this a sin? 9

3 Aren't women treated poorly throughout the Bible? Why would any intelligent modern woman today even want to read the Bible? 12

4 How can a God be all-loving yet allow people to be thrown into hell? 16

5 What does "apocalypse" mean, and does the Bible predict one 19

6 What does the Bible really say about homosexuality? 23

7 What are the Apocrypha, the Gnostic Gospels, and the Dead Sea Scrolls, and why are they considered holy or sacred by some and not by others? 29

8 Doesn't the Bible condone slavery? 32

9 Was the book of Revelation written in code? Or had the author gone crazy? Was he hallucinating? Were the images portrayed to be taken literally? 36

10 Why haven't any new books been added to the Bible in almost two thousand years? Is there a chance that any new books will ever be added? Why or why not? 40

11 Is it true that the Ten Commandments found in the Bible are almost a copy of the Code of Hammurabi, which has been around longer? Why not just include the Code of Hammurabi instead of having a whole new set of rules? 46

12 Did God write the Bible? If so, why didn't God simply create it miraculously, rather than using so many people over thousands of years to write it down? 48

13 Do Christians need to read the Old Testament? Why? 52

14 Does the Bible ever refer to itself as "the Bible"? If not, where did the name "Bible" come from? 57

15 How do we reconcile the Old Testament command for vengeance (eye for an eye) with Jesus' command to turn the other cheek and love our enemies? 59

16 Is there a right or wrong way to read the Bible? 63

17 How do we reconcile the two different "creation stories" presented in Genesis chapters one and two? 68

18 Since the Bible isn't in alphabetical or chronological order, how did it get in its current order? 73

19 Is there a scriptural basis for God changing God's mind? Why? 76

20 Does God justify violence in scripture? What about genocide 82

21 Why is the gospel of John so different from the other three gospels? 86

22 Hell, Sheol, Hades, Gehenna, and Tartarus are all labeled as "hell" by most Christians. Are they really the same? Are they all places of fiery torment? Are such things to be taken literally metaphorically, or as myth? 90

23 Are there secret codes embedded in scripture? What are they? 94

24 How can we begin to take the Bible literally when it seems to contradict itself so often? 97

25 If I don't believe every word of the Bible is literally true, how do I know what to consider in context and what to set aside? 101

26 In the Old Testament, God seems to be actively involved in world events. In the New Testament, God is portrayed as less interventionist but still directly involved. Now, it seems God is much more abstract. What happened, and is this a good or a bad thing? 106

27 Why would a merciful God allow Job's family and fortune to be taken away, and why would God ask Abraham to kill his own son? 109

28 Is it true that both the gospel of John and the book of Revelation almost weren't canonized (included in the Bible)? Why? Who got to decide which books would be included in the Bible, and what rules did they use to decide? 113

29 Are Lucifer, the Adversary, Satan, the Beast, and the Antichrist all the same? If so, why use so many names? If not, what are their different roles, and who is in charge? 118

30 Was Mary Magdalene a prostitute? 120

31 Where are all the miracles today? If they were so prevalent in biblical times, why don't any happen today? Or do they, and we just don't notice? 124

32 Are there any mistakes in the Bible? Like what? 128

33 In some cases, Paul (the purported author of many New Testament books) seems to support women in leadership roles in church, and in others, he says they have no place. Which is it? And why the seeming contradiction? 132

34 Is God "in control"? If so, does that mean God made (insert horrible thing here) happen to pull off a greater plan? Why doesn't God intervene in a disaster? 137

35 Why do so many religions seem to have such similar fundamental stories, like the flood and creation stories? Are they from a common source? 143

36 Is it true that the word "Satan" is never used in the Bible to refer to an evil spirit? If so, where did the word come from? 145

37 Why is it considered immoral to get married or to have sex before age eighteen today, yet in biblical times, people (including Mary) did this all the time? 148

38 Does the Bible call for sexual purity? If so, what qualifies as pure and impure? 150

39 What is the sin of Onan, and why is it bad? 154

40 Are some sins worse or better than others? 157

41 Who gets to decide which laws in the Bible are irrefutable, which laws are out of date, and which laws should be applied only in certain situations? 160

42 Were there gay couples in the Bible? What about Jonathan and David? 164

43 If people have to be Christians to go to heaven, what happens to all of the people born before Jesus or who never hear about his ministry? 167

44 There are many stories recorded throughout scripture in which only one or two people were around. If so, did they write down their own stories? If not, how do we know that what is written is what happened? 170

45 Why would an all-knowing God begin the process of creation knowing that it would be corrupted by evil and lead to so much heartache? 172

46 Why would stories about a father murdering his daughter (Judg. 11) or handing his daughters over to a crowd to be raped and killed (Gen. 19) be included in the Bible? 174

47 Why are there so many completely different interpretations of the same scripture passages? 178

48 Do women need to follow the commands of 1 Peter and submit to their husbands? Why? What does it mean to submit? 182

49 What is the thorn in his side that Paul describes? 185

50 Why are (or were) the Jewish people God's chosen people? Why not someone else? Are Christians now God's chosen people? 187

Contributors List, Biographies, and Suggested Resources 189

God Image Survey 211

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