How good a skeptic would you be?

Let’s pick one of the most quoted verses in the Bible: John 3:16 (or square root of 10, if you know what I mean :wink: ). Can you present a coherent, rational argument against it from a skeptic’s point of view? You don’t have to agree with the criticism, obviously. But can you summarize why is it problematic for a skeptic? There are several problems with it. After all a good apologist should understand what the problems are for non-believers.

I’ll bite as I am a skeptic!
For God so loved the world
Evidence for God"
That He gave His only Son
Evidence that God has or ever Had a son
That whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life?
Evidence of eternal life?

This is a faith based creed and I’m fine with everyone believing in it. It answers no questions and simply requires faith.
Your response?

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I sincerely don’t see this verse as one that would trouble skeptics.

What are these “problems with it” that you see?

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Faith AND reason.

That’s a bit rude. You are baiting people in the forum.


Skeptics don’t have faith.

It isn’t provable, but that’s semi-obvious, so I would never use it in apologetics unless certain premises are agreed on, but I doubt that will happen.

As a skeptic, one issue I have is this idea that God gave his son as if it were some kind of loss – as if it were the parent of a soldier who died and won’t see him again. God did not lose his son or make any kind of sacrifice, even if we assume what else is said about God is true.

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Jesus is speaking the words in John 3:16. He did voluntarily give up his life at age 33 (or thereabouts). The divine nature does not change or suffer, but the Son, by taking up a human nature in the incarnation, does. Sure we can say it’s God’s fault that He did so, because everything is God’s fault, including the existence of free will, or that He could have decided to save humanity some other way.

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That’s what Aquinas did, present opposing arguments in their best possible form and then refute them. Likewise, it is extremely frustrating to discuss an issue with a Protestants who simply refuses to acknowledge what the Catholic Church actually teaches, as opposed to what he thinks it teaches.

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I may very well show my love to a family member or friend by giving them something which is s not sacrificial on my part in anyway. Why is this a problem?

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Since Jesus is God, He still did suffer.

Sacrifice by its nature involves loss. When it’s phrased in the form A so loved B that he C we are made to understand that A suffered great loss and C is hardly comparable to what others have done for love. I’ve heard preachers talk about how no one has sacrificed as much as God has, yet I say a mother (someone who is not all knowing and all powerful) who has lost children to military service has suffered more or sacrificed more.

What has God sacrificed? Jesus’ earthly form? That does not rise to the level of many humans who have sacrificed themselves for the greater good not know what the future holds. Could Jesus not appear bodily at every house in the world to speak to all of us and then leave his human form again? Could he not add or drop his human form at will?

When it’s described as his only begotten soon it’s couched in terms that God gave up the one thing he cherished the most. Yes, one can show love for another without sacrifice, but what is meant here clearly is considered a sacrifice. Just look up “jesus ultimate sacrifice” and see millions of hits.

Can an all powerful being suffer? Doesn’t the suffering of an infinite God pale in comparison with that of a finite creature?

And just to add another layer of skepticism on this thread asking what skeptics thing of John 3:16, we also question now necessary the death of Jesus’ human form was in accomplishing his goal of salvation. The question some ask is if God could have done something else. Its phrased in different ways by different people, the gist tends to be “God sacrificed himself to himself so that he could get around a rule he himself made and thus prevent his own wrath.”

It feels like you have this backwards. Skepticism would await you to demonstrate the claim.

It depends on the suffering itself and Jesus had a human nature that was capable of suffering so it is definitely possible.

From what I’ve seen it was done to express God’s devotion and wasn’t neccessary at all.

Can you print the bible verse please. NO good asking us to look at it, if you don’t print it up here.

Please define what you mean by the square root of 10 also.

It’s not possible for a creature to “more” anything than its creator, though. Not from an objective perspective. Subjectively, you could also think about Mary in this context, however.

Again it’s impressionistic and entirely subjective to state that anything in existence can do anything more than the source of that existence. But even subjectively, if Jesus is fully human, then his sacrifice was fully human as well. God did suffer and sacrifice for us. It’s interesting that in John 3:16 Jesus is speaking in the past tense, as something that already happened. We could understand this to mean the entire incarnation itself, and not just the crucifixion. God gave us his Son, became one of us, entered our experience and suffering of life completely, unto death. This is a direct counter example to a God that seems impersonal, distant, or uninterested.

Add/dropping his “human form” would seem to make his humanity an avatar, or a mere apparition, instead of a true and full human incarnation. Yes, I believe Jesus could appear and speak to each and every one of us in his visible humanity, as he did for St. Paul. If Jesus appeared to you personally, would you believe? Or would you think that you’re hallucinating? [For the record, I have not personally had the benefit of any visions of Jesus.]

If I’m a skeptic, why would I believe there’s a God at all?
A skeptic would pretty much just say God is fiction that humans made up to feel better about hardship and death, or to exploit for subjugating the masses.

No need to even bother with the rest of the verse then.

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We create machines that can do ‘more’ than us, usually at a specific task, every day. Factory machines that more more accurately, computers that remember and communicate more clearly. The day may come where we engineer creatures the way we do machines now, perhaps to excel at one task or another. A being may be limited in some way by the nature of its form, yet may be able to create another that doesn’t have such a limitation. I’m not saying that’s the case with God, but I’m also not onboard with the idea a creature can’t exceed in some way its creator.

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