We are inquisitive beings by nature. “Why?” is one of the first words we learn. Throughout our lives we ask questions in order to gain understanding of the world around us and how we relate to it. This need for understanding extends into our spiritual lives as well. But I find that many Christians are reluctant to ask questions about the most important aspects of their faith. I guess that I am more of a “questioner” than most. That is why I began this whole project of researching the history of Christianity, with a focus on the origins of the doctrines and practices that Christians adhere to today.
A number of years ago I was invited to share my own faith journey with a group of adults. I am an engineer, both by training and by nature, and I talked about my personal struggles to reconcile faith with intellectual honesty. I remember closing with the thought that “God isn’t afraid of your questions.” God is the embodiment of ultimate truth, and He is undaunted when those He created seek that truth. In fact, that is our obligation.
We all have questions. Some of us seek answers to those questions so that our relationship with God can grow stronger and more focused. But I think that there are many believers that are afraid to even allow their questions to become fully formed in their own minds. They don’t even want God to know that they may have questions or doubts. They fear some kind of divine punishment for their lack of faith. Another possible reason for allowing important spiritual questions to go unanswered is intellectual and spiritual laziness. Either issue is a cop-out that weakens both our spiritual lives and our personal integrity.
I submit that there is, in fact, risk in asking questions about Christian faith and practice … but the risk isn’t with God. The risk is that we might find answers that cause us to change our thinking and beliefs. As I have studied the church of our fathers, I find that much of modern Christian tradition and doctrine was developed long after the time of Jesus and the apostles. The result of my questioning and study has been that I have changed my thinking about some things that I had previously just accepted as given. And that is a good thing.
- Asking questions about God is not the same thing as questioning God.
- God isn’t afraid of your questions.
- “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God …” James 1:5