The Seoul Diocese started recently a program in which they invite well known teachers to give a talk and at the finish open up the floor to questions. The first presentation was from the vicar general of the diocese. His topic was the 24 questions that a famous industrialist, the founder of Samsung, the wealthiest man in Korea, sent to a priest friend. He was not a believer. He died about a month later from lung cancer without ever hearing the answers. They were answered 24 years later by Father Cha Dong-yeop in his book: Forgotten Questions.
The bishop said that on his bucket list, he had two wishes he would like to accomplish before he dies, and one is to start a school for prayer, and the other is to answer the 24 questions that were left by the industrialist. Below is the list of the 24 questions, freely translated from the written list that he sent the priest. Others have put their hand to answering the questions; not only, Catholics, but other religious groups and even atheists have given answers.
1) How can you prove the existence of God? Why didn't he make his existence clearer?
2) How can you prove that God made everything?
3) Biologists say that humanity is the product of evolution. What does creation of humanity mean? Isn't humanity and all living things the product of evolution?
4) With the continual advancement of science and the conquering of disease and long life, won't the belief in God disappear?
5) If God loves us, why do we have pain, unhappiness and death?
6) Why did God make evil people? Examples: Hitler, Stalin, and permit the horrendous crimes that we see?
7) Jesus is said to have died for our sins, what are our sins? Why did God leave us with these sins?
8) How were the Scriptures made? How can we prove they are the words of God?
9) What is Religion? Why is it necessary?
10) What is the soul?
11) What are the different types of religions and their characteristics?
12) Can we go to heaven if we don't believe in Catholicism? There are unbelievers, atheists and followers of other religions, and among them many good people. Where do they go after death?
13) All religions preach how to live a good life. Why do Catholics say they are the best and all the other religions are heretical?
14) After death we say the soul doesn't die. How can we believe that it goes either to heaven or hell?
15) There are many people with no religion, and they enjoy riches and honors, and evil people who have comfort and ease. What is the lesson that God is teaching us with this reality?
16) In the Scriptures we are told the rich man to get into heaven is like having a camel pass through the eye of a needle. Is being rich, evil?
17) Italy and similar countries are 99 percent Catholic. Why do they have so many social problems and so many crimes? Why are they not a good example of what a Catholic country should be?
18) Religious people are at times fanatics. What is the difference between a fanatical communist and a fanatical religious person?
19) Communists and Catholics are opposites. Why did so many Catholic countries become communist? Example: Poland, East Europe and Nicaragua?
20) In Korea we have churches spread throughout the country, there are many believers, why do we have so much crime and suffering?
21) They say the pope can't make a wrong decision. He is a man, how can that kind of self-righteousness be possible?
22) What are priests and religious sisters? Why don't they marry?
23) There are groups in the Catholic Church who consider that industry is exploiting the workers; they are promoting divisions and harm in society. Do they not see any good in capitalism?
24) Will the world come to an end?
There are many different answers to these questions. Fr. Cha has given us his answers in his book. The vicar general would like to give his answers to the questions. The article mentions that he already has answered six of them. In his retirement, he plans to give these questions a great deal of thought. One of the participants asked: If a person lives a good life, and he doesn't believe in God will he be saved? The bishop answered: eternal life is God's gift; it is not for us to judge whether one person enters or not, the Church is teaching us the way.