January 18, 2012

Questioning Our Faith

I don’t know about you, but I’m a questioner. I’m naturally inquisitive. I was that annoying kid always asking her parents, “But why?” I’m that journalist always digging deeper into a story, pulling out the details to arrange them in my mind until they make sense.

In school, teachers like to say that there are “no stupid questions.” While that may not be entirely true (especially for the class clown determined to prove the teacher wrong), questions are encouraged in school. Questioning is how we learn. It’s how we process things in our own minds until we come up with an answer that is satisfactory.

But somewhere along the way, I think some Christians have gotten the idea into their heads that it’s not OK to question our faith. That if we do, we are sinning. That asking questions means we don’t have faith at all, that we are doubters and thus not really Christians.

And that, my friends, is how we get into trouble. Big. Trouble.

I know there are several places in the Bible where Jesus talks about having faith to move mountains, not doubting the Word of God, and believing in His power. But God also created us to be inquisitive beings. In my mind, that means He not only knew we would inevitably ask questions, but created us to do so.

Because He doesn’t want robots. He wants followers and friends who have thought about His words, invested time in considering what following Him really means, and who have CHOSEN Him.

It’s the same reason why there’s free will.

Think about how many people out there follow their prescribed religion because it’s what their parents followed. It’s how they were raised. It’s ingrained in their heritage.

But to them, that’s what it is. Religion. Not a relationship.

I know, because I’ve been there. I was raised as a Christian, and never wavered in my faith until my mom got cancer when I was 15. Until then, my faith had never really been tested, and when it was, I had a lot of questions.

But I felt like a big fake because I didn’t think it was OK to question. I thought I wasn’t a very good Christian because I was questioning whether God actually loved me. Whether He was all He said He was. Whether He truly was a good God who wanted good things for His people. Whether “Christianity” and the Bible really spoke the Truth or if some other religion was the answer.

But the thing is, the Bible says “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). God knows there will be times when life will knock us on our rears and our faith will be tested.

And in my experience, those are the times when, if we truly seek Him, He’ll reveal Himself to us. Sure, we won’t know every reason behind why God allowed what He allowed in our life.

But because of our questioning, we will have a different sort of knowledge.

We’ll know our faith is real and that He is Truth.

Your Turn: Have you ever questioned your faith? Do you agree that it’s OK to question? Do you agree that it can be a dangerous thing to blindly follow a faith without examining/questioning it first? Why or why not?

*Photo courtesy of Master isolated images: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1962

13 comments:

  1. I think questioning faith is ongoing—lifelong. And I agree: God created us to be inquisitive. Not only that, but in my experience we don't all question the same things; it depends upon where we our in our personal journey. As a result of a major questioning-quest (lol, sounds funny), I have come to some different conclusions than you (i.e., when I documented all the sovereignty verses and studied them out as I read through the Bible, it changed my notion of free will). And yes, I also agree, it's dangerous to blindly follow a faith without questioning it. I think God often works through a still, small voice within us, and that's where questions are born.

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  2. It's always dangerous to blindly follow, you need to ask questions so you know why you believe what you do. Outside of religion, I know people who are "democrats" or "republican" or whatever simply because their parents and/or friends are and they don't even know what "whatever" stands for.

    When my dad died, I questioned my faith, God's love and almost everything. In the end I came to a deeper understanding of Gods love and became closer to God than I had ever been. I still don't understand, but at least I don't question God like I did.

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  3. I've questioned, I've wrestled, that list can go on. I know my God is big enough to handle my crazy head. Following blindly seems dangerous to me.

    ~ Wendy

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  4. I have questioned my faith many times...but, like Barb, I read the verses about God's sovereignty and realized God chose me..not the other way around.

    Once you realize this, you have a different perspective of who God is and His plan for you. You see yourself in light of God and not God in light of yourself. You learn that there is a purpose for everything that happens. That realization is what truly frees us!

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  5. Love this:

    "Because He doesn’t want robots. He wants followers and friends who have thought about His words, invested time in considering what following Him really means, and who have CHOSEN Him."

    I didn't question my faith much until college, and even then, it was so deeply embedded in me, I don't think it was ever a matter of do I/don't I believe. BUT, because I had a religion minor, I was exposed to all sorts of, um, I guess technical or logistical questions about my faith. And thinking hard, processing those, actually caused me to grow - I actually interacted with Christ and my faith in a way I hadn't before. At the end of the day, my curious side was always satisfied, and what's more, calmed, by God's voice. He's awesome that way. :)

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  6. Barb, I definitely think that the free will debate is a complicated one. I don't think I even understand it all, that's for sure. But I love that idea of God's still, small voice. Sometimes it can be even louder than a shout, if you know what I mean. :)

    TC, I had the same questions when my mom died. But I totally agree. In the end, God drew me nearer through my questioning.

    Wendy, I love that...God IS big enough to handle our questions or any other emotion we might feel. We shouldn't be afraid to bring any of it to him.

    Ruth, I definitely agree that God chose us. Like I told Barb, I think the free will debate can be a bit overwhelming and somewhat complicated. I think God wants a relationship with us; He grieves when we turn from him and rejoices when we choose to come back.

    Melissa, when I took a summer trip to Europe with a group from my university, I stayed with girls who weren't believers and who had a lot of questions. Their questions challenged me; some of them I'd never thought to ask. But in the end, God was faithful to lead me to the answer or, like you said, give me a calm assurance of who He is.

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  7. I think trials always force us to look at our faith closely and decide what we're really going to believe. Thankfully God has reminded me of His presence in even the darkest moments and pulled me back to faith in Him.

    Great post, Lindsay!

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  8. I worry about Christians who don't question some things, or who think they have all the answers. There's a way to trust and still question. I don't think questioning always indicates a lack of trust but that's what we're taught.
    Great post, Lindsay!

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  9. Sarah, amen for God's light! It's kind of interesting that we don't always recognize it as such until we're in the darkness. Then we crave it, and our desperation for it brings us to our knees.

    Jessica, exactly! It's a good thing to want to understand things for ourselves.

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  10. "Unanswerable" questions are how I get ideas for stories. I love to run up against the unknown and ask God for the eyes to see through it. This takes devotion, guts and lots of friends!

    I love what Wendy said.

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  11. I had to post again, that little grey box doesn't represent me very well. ;) That's what I get for being lazy and not logging into google.

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  12. God's ways are unfathomable. And his thoughts are higher than ours. He tells us that, straight up.
    And I think that invites us to question.
    Honestly, I get into more trouble when I don't question. When I think I know it all. I distance myself from God more when I let the questions pile up, the doubts, the what-ifs ... and I don't ask.
    And he knows my heart, my thoughts anyway.
    What? He doesn't know just because I'm not asking?

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  13. Jessie, that's OK! I show up as a weird box on some people's sites. :) And I love what you said. That's actually true for me too; I'll get story ideas either from questions I currently have or questions I've had in the past that God has answered.

    Beth, what a great reminder! God knows we have questions. Actually asking them means we're communicating with him. What an awesome thing to be able to communicate with the God of the universe.

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