my friend recently decided the all christianity (and all religions) are false and he has challenge me to come up with answers.
basically, if i were a theologian, it may be easy, but w/o deep knowledge, on the spot conter-arguments failed.
his coments are as follows:
1)the bible was written to scare law and order into man.
2)the hebrews stole the flood story from the mesopotamians.
3)there are many resurrection stories (ie. ra, the egyptian sun god)
4)man needs a god. as evident in early man respecting burial of the dead and religion in general.
any input will help me to help him through this. he did grow up catholic, but took a class which “proved” all of the above.
If he’s really interested, there are plenty of resources covering these and similar questions–for example, Kreeft and Tacelli’s “Handbook of Christian Apologetics.”
However, this won’t help if his questions are a smokescreen. Ask him, “If all of your questions get answers, will you return to Christ and demonstrate your return by returning to the Church?” If he is reluctant, point out: “Your basic problem isn’t with the intellectual questions; it’s with your will. The problem is sinful rebellion, in other words, just like all the rest of us have to struggle with.”
That might not win any points with him, but at least it would blow away the fog he’s trying to create regarding his falling away.
What I learned at the university about the great flood is that pretty much every culture has a flood story. The one that stands out in my mind is the Mayan flood story. And what does this say to me? That the Biblical flood was worldwide! To my mind, the fact that the Mesopotamians also have a flood story is simply more evidence that the Hebrew version of history is correct.
Here’s what I think about each of the points above:
The Bible reveals to us who God is and what He expects of His children in order to have a good relationship with Him. One of these things is to obey the Law He gave us. We were created to be in relationship with God, and so we should follow His advice on how to do it properly. If he doubts that the Bible is divinely inspired, I recommend looking up the test on whether Jesus was “Lunatic, Liar, or Lord” and presenting it to your friend. I find it works pretty well.
Floods are pretty common things, so it’s not surprising that many cultures would write stories about them, especially in Mesopotamia, where floods tended to be particularly problematic for the people. I don’t know how having contact with a people that have their own story of a flood means that the Hebrews couldn’t have experienced a flood themselves.
Your friend needs to work on his mythology (it was the Egyptian god Osiris, not Ra, who resurrected from the dead). I believe that every religion contains at least one element of truth about God in it, in order to help people who follow that religion to accept Christ when they hear about Him. The fact that the Ancient Egyptians’ religion contained many elements similar to Christianity (the resurrection of the dead, grouping their gods into triads (groups of three), the importance of the numbers 40 and 7, etc.) helped the Ancient Egyptians convert to Christianity in great numbers during the Roman Empire, because they recognized familiar elements in it. So God puts some truth into all religions in order to lead them to the Truth, who is Christ.
Same as the above, that even in very early history God revealed Himself in small ways to people in order to prepare them for Christ. Well, of course we need God, He created us for Himself. How does this prove that Christianity is incorrect?
Considering the ‘parallels’ listed on your own site between EE and Genesis includes a short list tossing on things like ‘They both involve creating dry land’, yeah, I’d say this is all fairly weak. Completely unrelated? Not my place to say. But otherwise, not very interesting. To me, anyway.