What the Christian god wants
What the Christian god wants is a list of questions about divinity and how each major Christian denomination believes their god answers the question.
Each answer is sourced directly from an authoritative web site for the specific denomination. A gray box means I couldn't find an authoritative citation answering the question, and a yellow box means the denomination either can't agree internally or believes the Christian god finds either answer acceptable.
|Question||Anglican||Assemblies of God||Calvinist||Eastern Orthodox||Jehovah's Witness||Lutheran||Methodist||Mormon||Presbyterian||Quaker||Roman Catholic||Seventh Day Adventist||Southern Baptist||United Church of Christ||Unitarian|
|Did God give you a soul distinct from your body?||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Y/N||Yes||No||Yes||Y/N|
|Does God allow good people to enter Heaven?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Y/N||Yes||Yes||Yes||Y/N|
|Does God require good deeds to get into Heaven?||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Does God let evil people go to Hell?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Y/N||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Was Jesus God incarnate?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Y/N||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Did God give people innate free will?||No||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Does God want infants to be baptized?||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No||Yes||No||No||Yes||No|
|Does God permit abortion in circumstances like rape?||Y/N||No||No||No||No||Y/N||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Does God think premarital sex is wrong?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Does God permit contraception?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Y/N||Yes||Yes|
|Does God allow women to be ordained?||Yes||Yes||Y/N||No||Yes||Y/N||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Does God allow for biological evolution?||Yes||No||Y/N||Yes||No||Y/N||Yes||Y/N||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Does God ensure that the bible is error free?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Y/N||Yes||No||Y/N||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Does God prefer worship on Sundays?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Does God condemn homosexuality?||Y/N||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Y/N||Yes||Yes||Y/N||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Adherents in this denomination?||85,000,000||65,000,000||25,000,000||240,000,000||8,200,000||70,000,000||50,000,000||15,500,000||45,000,000||400,000||1,166,000,000||18,100,000||15,700,000||900,000||800,000|
The main reason I created this table is to illustration a problem with Christianity. Most Christians I've spoken with agree that their god wants everyone to obey his commandments, and has the ability to easily disseminate his commandments and make them clearly understood by all. If this is the case, why do Christians disagree on nearly every single one of them? To me, this shows a failure of the Christian god. Many Christians would argue that it shows a failing of people to understand the bible, but if the Christian god is all-knowing, he should have predicted this problem, and, if he's all-powerful, he has the ability to create a failure-proof way of getting his message across, like directly communicating to everyone's brain. Since this has not happened, he either doesn't want his commandments known to all, is incapable of doing so, or simply doesn't exist.
Of course, this isn't just a Christian problem, every religion in history has had similar factions and a failure to agree on any theological issue. I'm willing to accept such a failure if either the god doesn't care if his people learn about his commandments, or if he's not all-powerful, and therefore unable to spread them.
I was inspired to create this table after meeting a Methodist minister who explained that their denomination doesn't believe in a soul separate from the body, a belief I had never previously encountered in my Christian life. This was quite a shock to me because, all the Christians I spoke with growing up believed in a separate soul, and I just assumed it was an intrinsic part of Christianity. This got me wondering how many other aspects of Christian theology were up for grabs, and, as it turns out, nearly all of them are.
By adding a number of adherents to table, it a helps give some perspective to how many Christians disagree on important issues. For example, around 1,200,000,000 Christians follow a church which says their god disapproves of birth control, but 630,000,000 do not. Obviously, this is not a definitive number since I'm still missing several major branches of Christianity.
This is a list of additional questions I want to add to the list when I have time to research them.
- Does God allow Christians from other denominations to get to Heaven?
- Does God condemn people who fight in wars?