Read highlights from the regular “Big Questions” section in the Bridge Magazine.

 

Can I be buried in the church graveyard? Strictly speaking, this isn’t an objection people have to Christian faith so it shouldn’t be part of our Big Question series, but it is a question I’ve been asked an awful lot lately, so please indulge me as we explore the rules the Church ...
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Why do they keep moving Easter? Every year I always enjoy reading fake April Fools stories in the newspapers. Here’s my favourite from last year, from a Devon newspaper, which claimed the Pope has postponed April Fools Day 2018 because of the clash with Easter Sunday. Quoting Papal spokesperson Pesce ...
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What is confirmation? So there I was, all set to write a Big Question article about Donald Tusk’s “small corner of Hell set aside for those who backed Brexit” comment when a friend suggested I should spare us all and follow up last month’s Big Question about Baptism with a ...
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Why do we baptise babies? David Beckham once said, I definitely want [my son] Brooklyn to be christened, but I don't know into what religion yet.”[1] It isn’t just David Beckham who gets confused about baptism. I’ve met atheists who believe having their child baptised will guarantee a place in ...
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When was Jesus really born? Combine all that fuss about Christmas, with our Anno Domini calendar system, and you might imagine that Jesus was born in 1AD on December 25th. The problem is, there’s nothing in the Bible to point us to December 25th, and lots of evidence in the ...
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Is God a she? My daughter started studying at Durham University last week scene of the latest round of our culture’s gender war. Not content with forcing the sacking of the assistant editor of Critique, the university’s philosophy journal for the transphobic hate crime of sharing an article[i] from the ...
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Is there a purpose to my life? I was a teenager when I first thought about whether my life had a purpose. I blame the Monty Python film The Meaning of Life for that. It promised so much in its opening song: Why are we here? What's life all about? ...
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Did God Create Evil? At our newly launched youth group (“The Deep End” - for young people in the yr5 to yr10 age range), one of the young people asked me a great question, “Did God create evil?” Some people would answer the question “Yes.” After all: The Bible says ...
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Do all religions lead to God? The belief that all religions are merely different paths up the same mountain is something of a cultural norm today. It’s often taught in schools to undergird the so-called “British” values of tolerance and respect, things which are surely essential in a multicultural society ...
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Did Jesus really rise from the dead? Someone recently told me he needed scientific proof before he could believe that Jesus rose from the dead. The problem is, it’s impossible to study past events under laboratory conditions! Thankfully there are ways to probe the past: our legal system depends on ...
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Does the Bible condone slavery? Someone once asked me, “Doesn’t the Bible condone slavery?” He’d been reading some bits of the Bible (in the books of Exodus, Leviticus and Philemon) and couldn’t find anything saying slavery was wrong. He therefore concluded that the Bible condones slavery. Was he right? Let’s ...
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“Virgin on the Ridiculous!” Was Jesus really born to a virgin? The idea that Jesus was born to a virgin mother is found in two of the Bible’s four accounts of Jesus’ life. The gospel of Luke tells the story from the perspective of Mary, a young teenage girl, who ...
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Are Christians inconsistent about laws in the Old Testament? Sometimes Christians get accused of picking and choosing which Old Testament laws they want to obey.  For example, the Old Testament outlaws the eating of shellfish, and the wearing of mixed fabrics – yet many Christians today say it’s okay to ...
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Doesn’t religion cause most of the conflict in the world? The sooner all religions are gone, the sooner the world will be a peaceful place” was how one angry caller responded to a phone-in on Radio 5 Live last week about the proportion of religious and non-religious people in our ...
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Does the Bible contradict itself? We all love to catch a politician contradicting themselves – but what about the Bible? Does it contradict itself, as you’ll sometimes hear people say, and if that’s the case, how can we trust anything it says? Personally when people say “The Bible is full ...
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Is the Bible True? In the first part of this series, we looked at whether the Bible has changed through the ages, and we saw that through the insights offered by the academic discipline of textual criticism, we can be confident that the Bible books we have today are almost ...
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Can we trust the Bible? And my short answer is predicably enough, “Yes!” I bet you weren’t expecting me to say that! Normally when someone asks me “Can we trust the Bible?” I like to ask them why they struggle to trust it themselves – and their answers usually fall ...
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Who Made God? Let me say straight-away that this question isn’t so much a critique of Christianity, as a great way to critique any notion of God. So who made God? Well one possible answer might be “Super-God” (because surely you’d need something even greater than God to create Him.) ...
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How does God feel about the Grenfell Tower disaster? A few days after 9/11, I heard a Christian preacher describe the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre as a punishment from God. I heard something similar said of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. One particularly graceless American preacher called it ...
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