[Conversation Stopper] Many students feel like there is nothing special about the Bible. They feel it is a collection of religious sentiments and is therefore just like any other religious book. They feel the Bible may also have a more subversive agenda in that it is meant to promote one particular view of Christianity at the expense of more “tolerant” options.
[Conversation Stopper] No one who reads through the Bible can ignore the blatant misogyny and barbarity toward women. There are examples of sexism toward women in both the Old and New Testament, and Christians today use those scriptures to oppress women.
[Conversation Stopper] Because of an American view of slavery, it is often assumed that all slavery--including slavery in the Bible--was and is as horrific as the transatlantic slave trade. The reality is that there are more humans being sold into slavery today than in the entire transatlantic slave trade.
[Conversation Stopper] Some skeptics see religion--and Christianity by association--as merely a means of “living a good life” or becoming a “good person." While this goal may be the focus of some religions, secular society, and many individuals, it is not the primary goal of Christianity. This misunderstanding, coupled with a culture of self-made morality/truth, creates room for the assumption that we can understand what being a “good person” means apart from God and attain it on our own.
[Conversation Stopper] A common misperception of Christianity and religion is the claim that most violence and war is caused by religious belief/intolerance. At best, this claim is a fundamental misunderstanding and/or lack of knowledge of historical conflicts. At worst, it is a deliberate misconstruing of Christianity, religion, and history in general, based upon an anti-theistic worldview.
[Conversation Stopper] Many college students were dragged to church at a young age by a parent or grandparent simply because it was the proper thing to do. At church, they would hear things like “love your neighbor” and “turn the other cheek”...and then have friends who were excommunicated from the church for a teenage pregnancy or coming out. The hypocrisy they experienced was personal and affected many of them in a number of ways, including leaving them disenchanted with organized religion.
[Conversation Stopper] “How can you believe in a God who allows so much hurt and pain in the world?” A response to this question that simply talks about humanity's evil nature doesn't fully satisfy students in today's culture. Here's how to expand the discussion to our sensitive and caring God who is not only aware of the problems, but is doing something about them.
[Conversation Stopper] Don’t we all want scientific, verifiable evidence that God exists? The seeming lack of evidence can drive people to dismiss the possibility of God’s existence, especially those with a more scientific or logical bent. Christians, when confronted with the accusation that no tangible evidence of God exists, often find themselves confused because it sounds like an atheist “throwing down the gauntlet.”
[Conversation Stopper] First, it seems totally inconsistent with the idea that God is love. If God is love, wouldn’t God find a way to bring people everlasting joy and life instead? Second, is it really fair for finite mistakes or bad choices in this life to result in everlasting (eternal) punishment? The punishment doesn’t fit the crime. Third, has everyone even had a fair chance to learn about God and Jesus? Do those people get sent to hell because they grew up in the wrong country where no one believes in Christianity?
[Conversation Stopper] In the media today, we often hear accusations of how outdated the Bible and the church are, especially as it relates to issues like women’s rights. The implication is that Christianity is irrelevant to the world today. These types of accusations are often made as authoritative blanket statements, yet rarely does anyone stop and question the validity of these accusations.