Freedom to ask hard questions

Sometimes I think Christians try way too hard to argue or convince unbelievers that God is real. Although I try to avoid judging people’s hearts, it seems that most believers are not so much concerned about the spiritual wellbeing of the individual they’re talking to as much as they are about convincing themselves that their faith is valid. Almost every question about God we’ve heard from unbelievers is a good question, one that, if we’re honest, we’ve all asked ourselves sometime. So why do we feel that we need to avoid these critical questions or be content with pat little Christian answers that really do nothing to solve the issue? It would be far wiser to just say, “I don’t know,” and admit that we don’t have all the answers. That doesn’t necessarily invalidate our faith — it just means that God knows infinitely more than our 3.5 pounds of brain matter can figure out.

If this happens no where else, I at least what my youth group to be a place where students feel free to ask the tough questions without feeling judged, pressured, or frowned upon. These critical evaluations of Christianity are positive! We all ask them, we all want answers, and it doesn’t make us less of a Christian. It’s the perfect opportunity to learn, grow, and take ownership of our faith.

(This is a great blog post by an atheist researching the misconceptions Christians have about them. I find it interesting that he seems to infer as much about the mistreatment or disrespect he feels from believers as he does about scientific evidence. When will Christians ever learn to love unconditionally?)

Posted on January 13, 2006

  • joli

    speaking of misconseptions, I think he is a she :smile:

  • I think for me that is a big part of waking up to a God who is more about questions than about answers. I long to be in control. I’m desperate to be the one with the power, the one who knows what is going on. I want to have God figured out. I want to run my fingers along Him until I find his boundaries and map out what He is and what He isn’t, because if I could find the edges then maybe I could find a way to fully understand Him, and when I fully understand Him I am back in control again.

    I don’t really like the idea of a God who is to big for me to know. I don’t really like the idea that every truth we know about God leads us to more questions and that every time we think we have Him understood we are simply worshiping an idol we have created because He can’t be understood. Isn’t it scary to anyone else that we are putting out lives in the hands of something that we can’t even explain, and can never understand?

    Of course at the same time I love the fact that I can’t wrap my mind around God, because it is His very otherness that makes Him so appealing to me. He isn’t like me and that He is greater than all I can imagine so I lift my heart to Him in praise. Even if He isn’t safe, and even if I can’t control Him, and maybe really because He isn’t safe and because I can’t control Him I want to pour my life into His hands and see what He can do with it.

    The problem is that traditional church has no place for questions like this. We have taken the “fear of the Lord” and replaced it with respect. In reality when I minds come across something so other, so foreign, so much bigger than we can understand we will fear, literally fear, and we should be afraid. God is wild and untamed and that is something to be afraid of. But we have taken these questions and come up with answers that are true, but ultimately unsatisfying. There is a truth in the mystery that fills us up and yet always leaves us hungry for more. It is the mystery that we should be celebrating in our churches.

  • Tim

    lol! Oops. :roll:

  • You have 3.5 pounds of brain matter? Man was I screwed on that one…

  • :wink:Once again Tim…great post and great job going where TOO MANY Christians are afraid to go! My wife and I HATE PAT ANSWERS and we DO BELIEVE. We both have questions and in our last church that we were in; heard nothing but pat answers and Christian cliches (and this was supposed to be a church that was all about reaching the post-modern norhtwest culture and tackling the tough issues).

    When I was in ministry, I sought the very same things…encouraging students to ask the tough questions, spending time outside the Christian bubble, and really learning WHY they believed what they believed…it's too bad there aren't more people in the church like you. i think it would be a more inviting place. Keep up the good work!:smile:

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