Got a question for God?
An Auckland church has given Kiwis a chance to put their burning queries about life's mysteries to the big man upstairs, and the Herald on Sunday can reveal the most commonly asked questions.
Greenlane Christian Centre ran a "NZ Asks God" poll online during June, where people could submit questions they would like to ask the deity.
Available through the church's Facebook page or nzasksgod.co.nz, results of the poll show most Kiwis were inquisitive about suffering, asking "Why does a 'loving' God send some people to hell, and others to heaven?" and "Why does God let painful, bad things happen to some people, and not others?"
Pastor Jonathon Dove was surprised at the deeply intimate nature of the responses.
"The feedback we got was very personal, questions like 'My brother has passed away due to cancer, why was it God's plan for him?' "
Mr Dove was also expecting more differences between questions from Christians and those from people who identified as atheists or agnostic.
"Questions of suffering, how to know God's leading, and how to be confident of God's existence and care were similar."
More men participated in the poll than women. A total of 55 per cent of respondents were male and 45 per cent female.
A breakdown of the religious beliefs of those who responded show 55 per cent identified as Christian, 14 per cent were atheists, 10 per cent agnostic, and 18 per cent "other".
Other religions were not greatly represented. Muslims, Buddhists and Hindus made up 3 per cent of poll participants.
Mr Dove said the poll was part of a concerted effort to use the internet and social media to connect with people through the church.
A panel will address the five most common questions put forward over the next five weeks.
Five most common questions asked of God
• What do we do with all these different religious beliefs in today's world?
• Why does a "loving" God send some people to hell, and others to heaven?
• Why does God let painful, bad things happen to some people, and not to others?
• How do you hear and know what God wants or doesn't want?
• How do you prove that the Christian God exists and is the right God?