Thursday, February 5, 2009

On Questioning…

One thing I have realized over the years is that Christians are most often terrified of questions. I think we frequently get caught up in trying to defend our “faith” and yes, even defend God Himself. I have also noticed the stronger a person’s belief in God is, based on their personal experiences with Him, the less intimidated they are with questions, but people who are a wee bit shaky in their faith, whether they admit it or not, are thrown off by questions. I think it is important to try and understand God and His ways as much as possible, but I am also very aware that in this world we are bound by certain parameters that make understanding the fullness of eternal things very difficult! I feel there are some questions that do not have answers, at least for now, and I am ok with that.

But I appreciate people who are not afraid to ask difficult questions, and even more so when there are no apparent answers to those questions. I have seen how Christians get spooked by things like the Da Vinci Code because it challenges their beliefs. I appreciate a guy like Donald Miller who can say, “Sooner or later you just figure out there are some guys who don’t believe in God and they can prove He doesn’t exist, and some other guys who do believe in God and they can prove He does exist, and the argument stopped being about God a long time ago and now it’s about who is smarter, and honestly I don’t care.” (Blue Like Jazz) I see the need for simple faith and trust, but at the same time I see the need for questions, or at least the need to not be intimidated by other people’s questions.

I recently watched a documentary by Bill Maher called Religulous. It is a film that has caused a pretty, pretty big stir in Christian circles! He is basically saying there is no need for religion and went around trying to make people from all different religions look stupid for their beliefs. I must admit, I sat through it, enjoyed it from an entertainment perspective, and saw the validity in many of Bill’s questions. Does that mean I agree with him? Not at all. But I could see how much of his premise of the film was built on past hurts from experiences with certain religions, and, as I said, he asked some pretty good questions. He is just as dead set in his opinion that God does not exist and there is no need for religion, as we should be in our belief that God does exist. But I guess we easily get worked up if someone challenges us head on like that.

I think the important thing to remember is we are trying to grasp and grapple with eternal things; things that do not have the context and boundaries of this world that we know. So, it is understandable that we might get confused trying to understand these eternal things through the size, shape, time, color and earthly context which we know. So it is even more understandable that a complete "outsider" would find these things totally absurd! I often even wonder if it was frustrating for Jesus, coming from an eternal realm, to be wrapped in flesh and have to try and explain the Kingdom of God in the context of what humans know and experience. What a task! Good thing He was all man AND all God at the same time! That probably came in handy. But reading about Jesus’ time on earth you often read about the disciples just “not getting” the things He was often explaining to them. Even when they saw it with their own eyes! But Jesus was very patient with them.

All of this to say, I think the first, and most important question to ask should be directed at our self: What do I believe and how deeply do I believe it? (Ok, I guess that was two questions but I put it in one sentence.) Because the answer to that question will gauge how secure we are in asking other questions, and receiving other people’s questions. I have a strong faith in God and He has been involved in my life in a way that I could never be able to deny his existence! So it doesn’t matter what questions come my way, even if I do not know the answers, they will not shake that knowledge I have in, and of, Him. And because I am not a “child” that is insecure in my relationship with my Father, it allows me to be more secure in Him, and in the world, when questions are thrown my way. I don’t have to get defensive or upset, because I feel safe in my belief in Him.

I honestly can’t imagine God being scared of questions either. I mean, He is the creator of the universe and all. So I also think that we should not be afraid to ask Him questions, keeping in mind that we should not look for answers in “our” way. Like those people that ask you something and are only waiting for the response they want to hear. I like Chris Rice’s words in one of his songs, “God if you're there I wish you'd show me and God if you care then I need you to know me. I hope you don't mind me askin' the questions but I figure you're big enough; I figure you're big enough.” (Big Enough) We just have to come to a point where we realize that God is big enough for our questions, and once we truly have trust and faith in His “size”, then we also do not have to be frightened by questions, of our own, and those of others. And other times we just have to be ok with simple faith like a child, not need answers for everything.

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