As a growing apologist, directly answering the opponents of Christianity is something we defenders are required to do. Hemant Mehta’s 22 reasons to stop believing in God has convinced many to begin questioning their religious beliefs. Although skepticism is healthy, I’ve found it can often lead to some head-scratching conclusions.
If the first thought to come to you is “Why is he holding a banana?” you’d be right if your next thought is that this video really isn’t meant to be taken seriously. However, many do, so we’ll see how strong these reasons are before casting judgment.
1. If God knows everything we’re going to do in the future, we don’t have free will. But we do. If God doesn’t know everything we’re going to do in the future, He’s not really omniscient.
The first reason Mehta gives is a supposed contradiction in Christian theology. However, it’s difficult to see the contradiction between knowing what someone will choose and the ability to choose it. If I know someone well enough I pretty much know what they desire as well. For example, if your favourite food was chocolate fudge, I know you’ll choose that for dessert over something I know you don’t at all enjoy any day. It’s ridiculous to think that, just because I know you so much, you are merely a robot with no free will. No one thinks this way.
2. God couldn’t stop a murder when there were only 4 people on Earth!
Obviously, this dives into the argument of evil, which I don’t get too much into as it has been addressed many times over. One thing I would say is that no obligation exists for God to stop any and every murder that takes place at any given moment. In regards to human evil see I’ll direct readers here.
3. If we’re supposed to be God’s special creatures, then the universe is full of a lot of wasted space.
I’m not quite sure I understand what Hemant is implying with this one. For one, it seems strongly inconsistent with other arguments Hemant has used against religion. If a religious person says he has all the answers and a scientist humbly says “I don’t know” if he doesn’t yet know the answers (according to Hemant), why is he portraying absolute knowledge that the universe is “wasted space”? In fact, science has shown that it isn’t wasted space (i.e. the fine-tuning argument). Why is Mehta denying the scientific evidence?
4. The myth of a great flood and a virgin birth were around long before Jesus. Maybe those elements just make for a good story?
Before I answer this I’d like to point out this video is just under 2 years old at the time of writing this rebuttal. This argument is hugely ignorant and has been shown as such by scholars and historians many times throughout the years. A little research into the supposed “pagan influences” is enough to refute this. The comparisons are hardly identical as this list shows. None come close.
5. Virgins can’t get pregnant. Not without modern medicine, anyway.
This argument misses the mark simply because it argues against the virginal conception, a one-time miraculous event never to be repeated. In addition, it’s validity is tied to many historical truth claims and proofs (i.e. the Resurrection).
6. Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin? Christian. Barney Frank? Not a Christian.
I’m not one for politics so I’m not too aware of who these folks are. Anyhow, this objection is pretty dumb. Many acts by Christians are hardly representative of the Christian doctrine itself. It’s simply a lazy cop-out from doing the legwork to see what Christianity itself says.
7. Isn’t it weird that God seems to agree with you about everything? And isn’t it weirder that God seems to agree with Christians who disagree with you about everything?
This is just another wording of the argument of Christian disunity, which I’ve already tackled here.
8. If you ever wrote a book with that many contradictions in it, your publishers would have to pull it from the shelves.
I’ve yet to find a contradiction that can’t be harmonized with a little exegesis and scholarly research. If Hemant believes there are unsolvable contradictions, he needs to provide the evidence, which he hasn’t done. In addition, I’ve dealt with a few contradictions myself, and I have many more on my list to address.
9. If God made us in His image, why do we have vestigial body parts and organs that often fail?
This goes back to that strange inconsistency in Hemant’s reasoning. Just because we don’t know how something works hardly means it doesn’t serve a purpose. I’m more than certain if there is a body part we are unsure of, science will find the answer. I’m honestly not sure why Hemant is undermining the very thing he advocates apart from satisfying an anti-religious agenda. Also, the fact that our bodies disintegrate over time hardly means we weren’t made in God’s image. Hemant is implying that that verse tells us we are God’s physical mirror. That is false. The phrase “Made in God’s image,” simply means we are representatives of His work. It says nothing of physical condition but of action.
10. 99.9% of all the species God created are extinct. How many do-overs does God need?
The Genesis flood wasn’t a “do-over” but a revelation of sin’s end consequence. If it was simply a do-over I wouldn’t think God would wait two hundred years in order to save possibly everyone on earth, He would have flooded it immediately.
11. God doesn’t exist because I said so. What, you don’t like that reason? Because that’s pretty much the same reason pastors and parents give to kids to convince them that God *does* exist.
This isn’t much of a reason either, and it conveniently excludes the well-read apologists and scholars who do give evidence for Christianity’s truth to their children.
12. The Holocaust
This is a repeat of question 2 on the argument of evil, so we needn’t address this again.
13. The proof people often give relies on their personal experiences — they felt God. God spoke to them. They just *know* God exists. It’s the sort of proof we’d never take seriously if it were applied anywhere else.
I agree with Hemant here. Subjective experience isn’t solid evidence for Christianity. That’s not to say it should be ignored, but rather than seeing it as conclusive evidence itself, it should be seen as supportive proof for what’s already established: the truth of the Resurrection. However, I have to fault Hemant for his purpose in bringing it up. It does no good to use a strawman as an argument to stop believing in God.
14. Too many of God’s followers, using Bible verses to support their actions, have made life worse for other people.
Please refer to the answer to argument 6.
15. No matter what Ray Comfort says, bananas weren’t created to look like this. They evolved this way without God’s help.
This is where the banana comes in. The argument is since we formed bananas a certain way (he corrected his mistake in the video, so it wasn’t evolution) we don’t need God. This, I will address in the next objection.
16. Every time science and religion battle it out, science wins.
Essentially what Hemant is arguing here is that, since science answers what we used to attribute to gods we no longer need gods to explain the universe. This does well to answer the “Why don’t you believe in Zeus or Thor?” argument, but placing the Christian God in there is a category mistake. God wasn’t thought up to be a mere explanation of the universe. Of course, the presence of a designer is reasonable to explain why the universe is as it is, I’m not saying that God can’t be a possible explanation. However, it seems Hemant views the Christian God as nothing more than an explanation, which is false. It also makes the assumption that people created gods simply to explain how things work. There is no evidence for this. In ancient times explanations of natural phenomena were attributed to gods who were already thought to exist. Hemant has it the wrong way around.
17. You don’t need God to be a good person. So why not just cut out the middleman?
This argument misses the point. The moral argument is that without God objective good and evil cannot exist, not that you need to believe in God to be a good person. Since he missed the point of the argument we needn’t defend it any further.
18. People have been saying Jesus will return during their lifetime… for many, many, many generations. He’s not coming back. It’s time to move on.
If no man knows the hour, we can conclude those claiming to know are likely going to be wrong. My conclusion is that the final resurrection will be random, at least, in the sense that it will happen in a time where it is least expected. So I’d be hesitant to “move on” simply because people have been watching for a long time.
19. “God works in mysterious ways” is a euphemism for “Stop asking hard questions”
To me, it’s an answer when nothing else explains a phenomenon apart from God. Still, I don’t use this term, and no one I know does, but I can’t fault those who do unless it’s used as a cover-up to the tough aspects of Christianity. I recommend facing the tough questions head-on. If there is anything that causes concern in regards to Christianity, don’t ignore it or brush it off, I’d encourage you to find the answer. There are many (including myself) who can help.
20. Between tornadoes in OK, droughts in TX, and Hurricanes in AL, there are a lot of natural disasters going on in the places God loves.
Another facet of the argument of evil, this time regarding natural disasters. I won’t go into detail here as it would take way too long to provide a thorough answer so I will recommend Glenn’s article here.
21. You were made perfect, in God’s image. Except for your foreskin, apparently.
This final reason may be the worst of them all. Once more Hemant raises the false implication that being made in God’s image means we are physically like Him. Already the point of this objection fails. This one is also a complaint against circumcision, a Jewish act of loyalty towards God and the covenant He established with them. This argument ignores the reason for circumcision (to set Israel apart as a holy nation) and isn’t worth taking seriously.
And that brings Hemant’s video to a close. It’s amazing how many take this video as a serious argument against Christianity. It’s fraught with ignorant claims, misconceptions, false assumptions, and anti-religious bias that all create truly bizarre reasons to stop believing in God. Some, like the ones dealing with the problem of evil, are legitimate concerns worth answering, but the video is mostly a joke.
We will see Hemant Mehta again as he has another video in this series that’s worth checking out.