The Christian's Defense
This is in answer to YourGothicNightmare's story, asking about Christianity. If you will be offended by reading this, please don't. And if you read this anyway and are offended, please don't comment offensive things. Just cuz you're offended doesn't mean I want to be. X)
Here's My Response
You say that now that we have scientific explanations, we don't have to use the excuse of "God did it" to explain how the world works. The laws of physics have been around since the beginning of time, so even if we're just now discovering Einstein's theory of relativity, it still existed back before we discovered it, right? Now I know that's not what you asked, but bear with me. If you believe God exists (which is a later question), you know that God has frequently chosen to interact with humans by means of something else - He doesn't just show up, fix things, and disappear. Yes, science explains things. But God created science. So all that's happening here is 1) God made something happen in a certain way, like opposite poles of a magnet attracting, 2) we're discovering that opposite poles of a magnet attract because of the laws of physics, and 3) we're deciding that God must not exist, because science explains things that He doesn't. Do you see what I'm saying? Maybe not, cuz I'm dyslexic and crap at explaining, but I hope I'm making sense.
About fearing death, ghosts, and the afterlife -
I'm gonna go a little out of order here and talk about fearing death and the afterlife together. A Christian has a guarantee, set down in the Bible, that if we 1) realize that we're not perfect and 2) confess to God that He's in charge and we're not, we're "saved" and will go to Heaven. This is based completely on faith - we can't say, "Ok, I'll believe, but first you have to show me a sign that You're real." If we could see God working all the time, what would be special about believing in Him? Everyone believes in something they can see. But it takes faith and searching to believe in something you can't see, and that's what sets Christians apart. If we have faith we'll go to Heaven, and if we have that promise, we shouldn't be afraid of death. Many people are, even if they have that promise of something good, because a lot of people just can't conquer that fear. We're all imperfect, and especially for people who didn't grow up Christian, it's hard to wrap your brain around the fact that death isn't the end. So even though many Christians are afraid to die, we don't need to be.
Now, about the ghosts - you've got to realize that just because people who have died show up in your dreams, that doesn't mean they're ghosts. Dreams are just your subconscious mind working through the thoughts in your brain. The randomest people can show up in your dreams - people who have died, people who never existed, characters from movies, monsters that don't and never will exist - pretty much anything. So dreams don't prove anything. But I will say that I don't really know if ghosts exists or not, never having been one myself. There's not much mentioned in the Bible about life after death, besides the fact that there's a Heaven and a Hell. Some people think that when you die, you go to Purgatory, which is a kind of in-between world while you wait for Christ to come back. Then, once He comes back and we all join Him, He takes everyone who's ever died and sorts out the saved from the unsaved and either takes us with Him to Heaven or sends us with the Devil to Hell. Some people think that when you die you go straight to Heaven or Hell, depending on whether you're saved or not. I don't know which it is, because I don't think much about it, so I can't really answer your question here. But I personally don't believe that we can contact the spirit world.
About which religion is right -
I don't believe it's "in your heart". That doesn't make sense to me either. If you want to find which religion is true, you've gotta use your head, not your heart. If you compare Christianity to every other religion in existence (and I do mean every religion), Christianity is the only one that involves an all-powerful god who actually proved his love for people. All the other religions involve people being servants to their god(s), but Christianity is about God making our lives on Earth better. Instead of us making sacrifices so that our god is happier, we make sacrifices so that our lives will be happier. God's set down the rules He has so that if we truly want to live according to His rules, we'll be happier. And it's a proven fact that people who live according to God's rules are happier. Even secular studies agree to that. So I'd say if you're looking for a true religion, pick the one that cares about the people.
I'm going to skip over the part about the video, cuz I haven't watched it. X)
About the "Jesus died for your sins" -
God already knows how your life's going to go. We still have free will, because if we were forced to believe in God and all that, this religion wouldn't be any different from the others. So God knew, from the beginning of time, that we were going to sin. According to the rules set down when Adam and Eve sinned (talked about in a later section), people weren't automatically saved anymore. So they had to do something to earn their salvation. For a long time, people had to sacrifice animals to God whenever they sinned. There were specific rules about what kind of animal you sacrificed depending on what sin you had committed. Shedding blood was the only way to prove that you were really sorry for your sins. When God sent Jesus to die for the sins we would commit, He was the ultimate sacrifice so that we wouldn't have to sacrifice anything else to pay for our sins.
And we don't have to worry about making sure we sin everyday - we would whether we tried to or not.
Ok, now to the actual questions!
1. If it was God's plan for you to get pregnant, why did he let you miscarry that child? Wouldn't God just make that kid healthy? He IS God after all.
Because it was God's plan for you to miscarry, too. He could make the kid healthy, if He wanted to, because He IS God; that's what He does for most births. But He's got a plan that involves a miscarriage. Please keep reading so I can explain my heinous remark; people die all the time. Everyone knows that. And that's all part of God's plan too. If He could, He would keep us all from dying; but He chose to give us free will. That means we can do whatever we want. And since we're imperfect people, we will make the wrong choices. For example, men, even Christians, die young in war all the time. Why do they die young? Because there was a war. Why was there a war? Because there were poor decisions made, and an argument erupted, and there were two sides, and people decided they felt strongly enough that they were willing to kill each other about it. God let them kill each other because He promised us free will, so He has to stand by now and watch as we do whatever we want. But even though He has to let us do the stupid things we decide to, He can still use these things for good to make our lives happier. For example, maybe a group of soldiers die while defending a critical base and are awarded medals for valor. Not only was their sacrifice used for the good of their country, now people can be inspired by their sacrifice and their lives can be better. The point of all this is, God's plan includes bad things because we've got free will, but He can (and does) take a bad situation and make some of the consequences good. Maybe something good will come from the miscarriage, even though to our way of thinking, it's one of the worst things that can happen.
2. Why do we have belly buttons if Adam and Eve were made by God (not born)?
I'll answer, even though it's not strictly religious - there are a couple possible answers, and no one knows what is true since no one's ever met Adam and Eve. One possibility is that they didn't, but because of how God designed birth to happen, their children did. The only purpose of a belly button is for birth, and so Adam and Eve wouldn't need one; but their children would. Another option is that God knew how birth was designed and gave them belly buttons, though they had no purpose for them. I tend to think that Adam and Eve didn't have belly buttons, because there wouldn't be a need, but honestly I don't much care if Adam and Eve had belly buttons or not. XD
3. If Jesus will forgive you for your sins, is it alright to kill someone and then say "God will forgive me"?
Depends what you mean by "alright". If you do kill someone, and you are truly repentant (which means you're sorry AND you're never going to do it again), God will forgive you. But you cannot justify your killing with "God will forgive me". It's no excuse, because God has very clearly and specifically stated, "Do not kill." You can be forgiven for any sin you commit, and you will still be saved if you commit a sin and then repent. But that doesn't make it alright to kill.
4. Why is there so much fighting in the world? And why would God let so many of his children die?
This goes back to the free will thing. God wanted our belief in Him to be based on faith, and for us to do that, we had to be able to make our own decisions. So we oftentimes make stupid decisions, like fighting and killing, where God would not have chosen that for us. And again, God has taken our idiocy and made good come out of them; so even in our imperfect, fighting, dying world, there is hope.
5. Why hasn't God shown people who don't believe in him that he's real? Why did God create athiests?
He has shown us. The problem is that non-Christians don't think the miracles He's worked are sufficient proof. For example, you've said that the Bible isn't good enough proof; well, you're asking for proof and then ignoring the proof. Now, I understand your concerns about knowing if the Bible's valid or not, and so does God; and that's why He gave us other proof. He does miracles, even today, though they're not as flamboyant as they were in Bible times. The problem is that non-Christians are trying to not see the miracles. The people that genuinely search for the truth can see the evidence that's everywhere, but those who are just out to disprove Christianity ignore it. There are miracles in people who meet "coincidentally" and end up playing very significant roles in each others' lives; there are miracles in things happening that should not have statistically happened, like the odds of someone suddenly and without treatment becoming cancer-free; there are miracles in prayers being answered. You can wave all that off as coincidence or chance, but if you're really, really searching for the truth, you can't afford to ignore the evidence.
As for atheists, that's all because of free will. People are free to choose their religion, and some choose to be atheists.
6. Marriage is a man made thing, why would God care if two people of the same gender married? Treat people how you would want to be treated. You clearly don't chose to be of a sexuality. I personally know someone who self harmed because he didn't want to be gay. Hating on gays and lesbians is bad enough, if I was God I wouldn't be proud of my children for doing that.
Actually, marriage is not a man-made thing. God invented it. Back in the beginning, He made Adam a wife (Eve) and told them to get married and have kids (not in those words, obviously X). Then he laid down specific rules about how marriage is supposed to work. Gays and lesbians are not in the rules. I don't know much about whether or not you have a choice about being gay/lesbian, being straight myself, so I won't touch that one. But I can say, emphatically and repeatedly, THEY SHOULD NEVER BE HATED ON. They have free will. They can be gay/lesbian if they want. No hating allowed. And I'm pretty darn sure God isn't proud of most of the stuff we, as His children, do. I will mention, while we're on the subject, that God will never turn away someone who wants to be saved, even gays/lesbians. It's no different than someone who has a habit of sinning in a different way, like gossiping or lying. But the gays/lesbians who are saved should seriously consider staying out of gay/lesbian relationships, because they are technically sinning.
7. Why do you need a book to follow? Shouldn't you already know what is wrong and right?
Just to clarify (this may be what you were saying anyway), we don't follow the book. The Bible's only purpose is to tell us what God is trying to say, for those who can't hear Him themselves. God doesn't physically show Himself 1) because of the aforementioned wanting us to believe because of faith thing, and 2) because God is so perfect and holy, and we're so imperfect and unholy, that if we ever saw His face, we would immediately die. So, obviously, He can't just pop up and say, "Oh, yeah, hey, by the way, I'm proud of you for standing up for your faith a minute ago," because a lot of people would die. So instead He uses the Bible to help us figure out the best way to live life. You can still be a Christian, even if you've never read the Bible or anything; it's just there to help us know what we ought to do.
And as for already knowing right from wrong, it's kind of like teaching a kid how to walk. The kid is born completely helpless and not knowing what to do, but with some guidance, they'll learn what they need to do to get from place to place, and eventually, they won't be able to even remember a time when they didn't know how to walk. People aren't just born with an innate sense of what's right and wrong; we have to be taught. That's what the Bible's for.
8. The Bible is written by so many writers, not by God. How do you know they're right?
Again, faith. But also for logical reasons. First of all, there's a lot of historical evidence that the stories in the Bible really happened; so that lends some credibility. Also, for the Gospels (the story of Jesus' life), there's very little chance that the authors were lying. Back then, Jesus was pretty generally considered a lunatic and anyone associated with him was stoned to death; so following Him was definitely not "cool", and it was dangerous. The authors were never paid or rewarded for their work, so there's no incentive there. Also, the fact that four accounts of Jesus' life were written separately at separate times by separate people and then were almost identical is reason to believe that that part, at least, is true.
Another main proof is that the Old Testament is filled with prophecies, written hundreds of years before Jesus was ever born, prediction the coming of a Savior. I think I once heard there are over 600 prophecies about the Savior - and Jesus fulfilled every single one. If that's not proof for you, I don't know what is.
9. Why would God allow us to go Hell if he's all good? It's alright if we don't believe in Him, because even if he was real, he'd forgive us anyway. God's all forgiving, right?
God does not just forgive you, no matter what. If you don't ask for forgiveness, He doesn't give it. Again, free will. He promised not to control our lives, so if we want Him to interfere in any aspect, we have to actually ask. Even then, He'll only grant forgiveness if we're truly sorry. The good thing, though, is that even if we make the same mistake over and over and over, He'll forgive every time. God lets us go to Hell because of free will; it all really comes back to free will in the end. Yes, He's all good; but we're not, and it's our decisions that determine our fate. We kicked God's decisions out of the equation back when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden. If it was up to Him, we'd all have perfect, sinless lives and no one would ever get hurt or sad or lonely; but we decided we knew better than Him, and now we suffer the consequences.
Well then. That was a lot. I'm sorry XD But I hope I helped! If I didn't answer a question well enough, lemme know and I'll try again.