"I get way more out this than you do." That's what one of my mentors frequently says to me, after our conversations. For a long time, I found it hard to believe that could possibly be true.
|Photo courtesy of J.K. Califf at flickr.com|
I met with a young man I've been mentoring for the last 6 months. He's a brilliant and ambitious go getter who, like me, was raised in the church. Previously, he mentioned that he had some theological questions, and I told him to bring them to our next meeting.
About a week later, we sat down again, and I was blown away when he handed me a list of more than 90 questions pertaining to life, the universe and everything. For the next two and a half hours we managed to get through just a few of them. But it helped me realize how much I had been taking for granted.
In college, I took 30 hours of Bible classes (which taught me barely enough about the Bible to understand that I'm clueless), but the young man's list highlighted how much of my biblical training I've been taking for granted. I saw that when I meet people, who have grown up attending church, I assume a lot about what they know and believe to be true. And part of discovering more potential in my life comes from learning the value of the things I already know.
With his permission, I've published his list of questions below. Have a good look at them, because he's not alone in wondering about these things. These are the spiritual questions that the young men and women in your church likely want answered.
If someone presented you with this list of questions, where would you start? And how would you answer? I'd love to know, and the young man who wrote these questions will undoubtedly read this. So leave your answers in the comment section below.
1. Who created God?
2. Does the bible say anything about beings outside earth?
3. Does everyone who doesn’t believe go to hell?
4. What happens to people if they don’t know about God? Do they go to hell?
5. What happens to little babies who die? Where do they go?
6. Do animals go to hell/heaven?
7. What do atheists believe?
8. What do Buddhists believe?
9. What do Hindus believe?
10. What do Jewish people believe?
11. What do Mormons believe?
12. What do Muslims believe?
13. Do Mormons go to heaven?
14. What’s the difference between Catholic, Protestant, Lutheran, etc.?
15. The universe is giant and I believe we’re not alone. What happens to other beings not of this earth when they die?
16. How come God didn’t tell us about aliens?
17. What is their history?
18. Do they sin?
19. Do they have souls?
20. How many other civilizations outside earth could there be? Do those beings go to heaven? Did Jesus die there too?
21. Are we the only planet God watches over?
22. Why did God create us if he knew we’d sin against him and destroy ourselves?
23. If God created everything did he create sin?
24. If God knows everything, then he must have known Lucifer would become the devil. Why did he allow the devil to be created?
25. How do souls become a ghost?
26. Are ghosts that haunt stuck in neither heaven or hell?
27. Why is there pain in the world?
28. Why does God give us a choice to hate him?
29. Why do people think God is an imaginary man?
30. Is religion bad?
31. Can the devil really posses your body?
32. Do we have memory in Heaven?
33. Do we eat, sleep, wear clothes, have marriage or physical bodies in Heaven?
34. What do we look like in Heaven? Do we look like the day we die?
35. How long will the age of man last? Will it be reborn again?
36. What is said about Jesus’s return to Earth? How can he return if his body already died?
37. If Jesus returns would he be reborn as a baby or come as a visible Spirit?
38. Is God fair?
39. Does God still speak to us today?
40. Can God sin?
41. Is God a certain gender?
42. Do we have a physical body in Heaven? Is Heaven a physical place?
43. What does God think of Siamese twins? Do they have two souls or one?
44. What about people who are born with both sex organs? How do they live a normal life for God?
45. Is it ok for us to eat animals?
46. Why did God create people knowing most will go to Hell forever?
47. If God ordered me to kill someone, should I do it?
48. There are thousands of Christian denominations, why are there so many if all he asks of us is to believe in him and glorify him?
49. If so many denomination, which one is right/should I believe?
50. If someone asked me to prove how God is real what do I say?
51. Will God punish humanity again for our monstrosities?
52. Is humanity a repetitive cycle of existence until we destroy ourselves, then start over again?
53. Are humans meant to be ruled?
54. Are people born of special needs able to get to Heaven even if they can never mentally grasp the concept of God?
55. Do babies who are aborted have a soul?
56. What happens to people in remote areas of the world who have never/will never hear about Jesus? How do they get to Heaven?
57. If God never created sin, would will still be able to have free choice of whether or not to believe in him?
58. Did Jesus ever want to sin?
59. Did Jesus ever get a boner?
60. Are there any descendants of Jesus who are alive today?
61. Why is there speculation that Jesus had a wife? Is it possible he did?
62. When Jesus was growing up did he realize he was the son of God?
63. Is this idea correct: If you don’t believe in Jesus you will end up in Hell.? So all Jews go to Hell?
64. How long was humanity around before Jesus? What happened to them when they died? How did they get to Heaven?
65. When we die to we go straight to Heaven or do we wait to get checked in at the gates?
66. How long will God continue to be around for? How long has God existed?
67. When did time begin?
68. Does space ever end? How can’t it be contained? How can it just extend forever?
69. Is Heaven/hell an actual physical destination?
70. Once in Hell, is there ever a chance for one to realize the past mistakes of one’s human life and redeem themselves in order to be saved?
71. If God can do anything does he/can he offer salvation to those already in Hell? Or does he only give us the physical life as our chance?
72. Is there a middle ground between heaven and hell? So if you don’t go to heaven, you automatically go to hell? There’s no other options?
73. If you commit suicide can you still go to heaven?
74. Does God have a physical body?
75. Do clones have souls? Does cloning debunk proof of God’s creation?
76. Why didn’t Jesus write parts of the Bible if most if it revolved around him?
77. How come the bible doesn’t say anything about Jesus’s life growing up? It really only covers about 95 percent of it – birth, miracles/parables, death. What happened in between that we don’t know about?
78. How did the writers of the Bible remember everything vividly? Did they remember it vividly?
79. Is it possible they forgot things or left them out since they wrote it years later? Is it possible they exaggerated things or changed them up since there was a long period in between the events and documenting them?
80. Is cussing a sin?
81. Who decided/ invented bad words and their meanings? Who deemed them bad?
82. In this time period has God created additional ways to punish humanity by creating things like cancer, unique diseases, autism, etc.?
83. When and where did cancer start? Why hasn’t it been around forever?
84. What happened to people who died before Jesus arrived?
85. Did Jesus really go to Hell to fight Satin in the three days he was dead after crucifixion?
86. Is it possible all this faith and God stuff is just in our heads and all made up?
87. Is it possible to belong to multiple faiths? Like being a Christian jew? Or a muslim Baptist?
88. If someone renounces their faith can/do they still end up in heaven?
89. How did Moses live for hundreds of years?
90. What happened to people who died before Jesus came?
91. Is it possible Jesus had a wife? Why is there speculation he did?
92. Would it have been wrong for Jesus to have a wife?
93. Is death the punishment for our sins? Is pain punishment?
94. What does God think about polygamy and have multiple spouses?
95. Is abortion a sin?