My daughter loves to ask questions. She asks them all the time, about every imaginable subject. I appreciate it to a certain point, and then I get brain tired. I feel as though God is giving me a taste of what it was like when I was a kid.
I hope she keeps asking questions.
Asking questions and seeking answers is how we grow as people. I remember times when I was young and I simply didn’t understand something. It seemed like I never would. But if you ask enough questions and you seek long enough, you’ll usually find the answers.
In my preaching I have encouraged people to ask questions for years. In fact, it’s probably a tired refrain at this point, but I believe it’s important to ask questions for a few reasons.
You Might Be Wrong
First, it’s important because you might be wrong. We’re all wrong about some things. The problem isn’t being wrong, the problem is being unwilling to admit you might be wrong.
That’s why I find atheism so fascinating. The idea that humans, in their short time on earth, could explore the mysteries of the Universe and declare, for certain, there is not a “god” or “higher power” is arrogant. It’s foolish arrogance.
I can respect an agnostic (while disagreeing). From the Greek roots the word literally means to be “without knowledge.” Most of us are agnostic about some things. I lack the knowledge to do certain home or car repairs. The same goes for soccer. It is in these areas that I avoid making black and white, or yes and no statements. To make such a statement about something I don’t understand is foolish. Yet many atheists do this very thing.
The same goes for my knowledge about the world, including religion. I might be wrong. Shouldn’t I ask questions and keep asking new questions? Why would I stop and assume I know everything?
That doesn’t negate my faith; in fact, a faith that has strength is a faith which is unafraid to ask questions. It’s usually out of our insecurities that we stop asking. A strong faith can ask questions.
You Might Learn Something
Asking questions allows you to learn.
Think for a moment about math, science, literature or history. How strange would it be to approach those subjects with the belief that you have nothing to learn? It’s the act of asking questions that allows you to grow.
Part of my faith story came from a desire to know if life after death exists. That is part of the reason I began to seek. If this life is all there is, I want to eat, drink and be merry. If not, what is the purpose, and what does an afterlife look like? Considering I have never died, I sought answers and I continue to ask questions. After 16 years as a pastor and Army Chaplain, and seeing countless people die, I believe that death is not the end.
Imagine if I had never asked the question? What if I was so afraid of death that I avoided the subject completely?
Sometimes you’re wrong, and sometimes you just lack knowledge. Asking questions expands your base of knowledge.
You Might Strengthen What You Believe
This is the last part: ask questions to build on your base of knowledge. I accept the Bible on faith, but it helps to understand the archaeological evidence as well. This is one of my hang ups with the Latter Day Saints (the Mormons). There is little evidence that the civilizations they claim existed in North America ever existed.
It would be troubling to read Paul’s letter to the Romans or the Ephesians while being told there is no evidence those cities ever existed. On the contrary, I’ve been to Turkey and Greece and explored many of the places mentioned in the New Testament. I’ve stood where Paul stood, where Lydia was baptized and explored monasteries build in the first millennium.
Going to Ephesus isn’t proof of what Paul claimed when he wrote to the Ephesians, but it expands and strengthens my knowledge.
This is why I encourage question asking at Beachside Community Church. I firmly believe that a faith that asks questions will not only find answers, it will be stronger.
Don’t Hesitate to Ask
I encourage you to ask questions. Don’t think you’ve got it all figured out. Have the security to ask questions, even when you’re afraid of the answer you might get. You might be surprised!