Thursday, August 18, 2005

Unquestionable Faith

Is there anything about your faith that you've never questioned? Is there anything about your belief in God that you refuse to question? Does it make you angry when certain things about God are sincerely questioned by others?
Do we imagine that God is afraid of our questions or that He can't handle them? Do we actually believe that we are somehow stronger because we blindly accept certain ideas or refuse to wrestle with our beliefs? Do we think God is cringing in some corner of Heaven begging "please don't ask that?"
Do we think it is noble to blindly accept things without ever really thinking through them? Is that really what we are trying to convince people of?

Why do we get angry when others question things we hold to be true? Why does it bother us if they reach many of the same conclusions we hold to be true, but take a different path to get there? Might it be an issue of pride rather than truth?

Is it possible that faith could become stronger because of questions and weaker when we refuse to ask them?

Is truth afraid of our questions, or does it actually long for them? Doesn't faith imply a certain level of uncertainty? Could it be that God is more readily found in humble questions than in proud certainty?
AE

7 comments:

bigsip said...

I think you have to question your faith or you won't grow. However, I think faith itself is a form of certainty. I am certain God exists, I am certain the Bible is His Word, I am certain Jesus is His Son. Faith, being the "substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen" is, by definition, a certain thing, or at least something that can fill us with deep calm. "Substance" and "evidence" are the key words. Jesus seemed to be fond of the expression "O ye of little faith". I think Jesus wants us to have BIG faith! This call to big faith is reassuring and exciting. Will we have questions at Didymus had? No doubt! But, we can grow stronger and have a BIG faith by coming through those times of doubt and becoming stronger and more assured by God's Word.

Matt Wilson said...

"And one thing to keep in mind is that we never arrive. Ever. One of the illusions of faith is that at some point we get it all mapped out and things get smooth and predictable. It is not try. The way of Jesus is a journey, not a destiniation. On a journey, the scenery changes. A lot. We can prepare for somethings but not all. We make mistakes, figure it out as we go along, and try new things. Failures are really just opportunities to learn. If you are part of a church, is the dominant understanding of faith in your church that of journey or destination?" Rob Bell, Velvet Elvis pg. 168

The realization of who God is comes from questioning (or at least that is what I have found). My faith grows stronger and my excitment for strengthing and knowing my faith has come through a questionable faith. At a point in my life when I felt I had it all pretty much together my faith was stale, boastful, and probably a bit cocky. There was no excitment to my faith; there was no life. But this idea of journey excited me in a valley in my life. I wanted a faith that would question and change and move around. And what I have found is that the realization of questioning is alright has given me a glimspe into God. But isn't funny that once you see that glimspe you walk away with more questions. Maybe it's not funny but more exciting to know that your not there and there is more in store. That moves me and keeps me going.

When Jesus walks on the water the statement is made to Peter "You of little faith, why did you dount?" Who does Peter lose faith in? "Not Jesus; Jesus is doing fine. Peter loses faith in himself. Peter loses faith that he can do what his rabbi is doing". This idea of rabbi excites me as well. If you are chosen by a rabbi your wanting to do anything and everything the rabbi does or says to do. And all throughout Jesus' life we see him continue to state and even in his last few sentences to his disciples, he is saying "You did not choose me, but I choose you."

"I have been told that I need to believe in Jesus. Which is a good thing. But what I am learning is that Jesus believes in me. I have been told that I need to believe in God. Which is a good thing. But what I am learning is that God has faith in me. The rabbi thinks we can be like him." Bell (134)

So as we learn and question may you be covered in the dust of your rabbi.

bigsip said...

Perhaps we are dealing with both a journey and a destination. Check out I Cor. 15: 35-58. Paul talks pretty openly about heaven being the goal. He also spells out pretty plainly how we are to live the journey and strive for the goal. Paul loved people and evangelism, and he talked about Heaven all the time. I think that's one of the resons I like his epistles so much.

Jovan said...

Truth has no fear of investigation...

theswordsman- Bill Jaimez said...

A few months ago a pastor in town lost their two year old daughter. I was talking to one of their members about how they were doing. I gotthe standard answer; "doing as well as can be expected." then I said I am sure that they are questioning why this happened. You would of thought I dropped the f bomb. I was told you should never question God or his plan. How foreign this sounded to me, and my few of God as a loving Father.

I thought of my own children, my six year old is always quetioning, everything. That is how he learns, he will never gain understanding without those questions. How much more for us in our finite state. We can't see things from God's eternal perspective, and for us to have any understanding or peace, we have to ask questions, seek his face, search him out, i believe that he rewards those who seek him in this way.

To maybe rant a little further. I was talking to this same person just yesterday. She brought up endtimes , during the cinversation she said the phrase "My pastor said...." about a hundred times, when I shared my endtime beliefs(partial preterist), she went nuts. She asked if I was reading the bible and not seeing end time prophacy coming to pass. I stood there for a second and asked "Well have you ever studied the bible to see waht it says about endtimes." She confessed no, but her pastor said...
I smiled, listened, and insisted what really matters is Jesus, and that we can fellowship with one another regardless of our endtime beliefs. I left the encounter thankful that I have gotten past the spoon fed satge of my faith and am ready to dig in some more.

theswordsman- Bill Jaimez said...

A few months ago a pastor in town lost their two year old daughter. I was talking to one of their members about how they were doing. I gotthe standard answer; "doing as well as can be expected." then I said I am sure that they are questioning why this happened. You would of thought I dropped the f bomb. I was told you should never question God or his plan. How foreign this sounded to me, and my few of God as a loving Father.

I thought of my own children, my six year old is always questioning, everything. That is how he learns, he will never gain understanding without those questions. How much more for us in our finite state. We can't see things from God's eternal perspective, and for us to have any understanding or peace, we have to ask questions, seek his face, search him out, i believe that he rewards those who seek him in this way.

To maybe rant a little further. I was talking to this same person just yesterday. She brought up endtimes , during the conversation she said the phrase "My pastor said...." about a hundred times, when I shared my endtime beliefs(partial preterist), she went nuts. She asked if I was reading the bible and not seeing end time prophacy coming to pass. I stood there for a second and asked "Well have you ever studied the bible to see waht it says about endtimes." She confessed no, but her pastor said...
I smiled, listened, and insisted what really matters is Jesus, and that we can fellowship with one another regardless of our endtime beliefs. I left the encounter thankful that I have gotten past the spoon fed satge of my faith and am ready to dig in some more.

Bill said...

------------------------------
Why do we get angry when others question things we hold to be true? Why does it bother us if they reach many of the same conclusions we hold to be true, but take a different path to get there? Might it be an issue of pride rather than truth?
------------------------------

While I don't presume to have the answer to your queries, personal experience seems to suggest that pride oftentimes is at the root of most angry reactions. It seems that individual insecurities also come into play, as well. Still, pride is the legalist’s nemesis! Have you heard the disingenuous lyrics of the old country song that lamented: "O Lord, it's hard to be humble when you're perfect in every degree"?

In regards to your question about why people get angry when others question their beliefs, a prominent figure from the 19th century speaks eloquently. It seems that the more things change, the more they remain the same. In the waning days of 1847 (yes, you read that right), under the pseudonym of Currer Bell, British novelist, Charlotte Brontë, wrote the following:

"Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last. To pluck the mask from the face of the Pharisee is not to lift an impious hand to the Crown of Thorns.

"These things and deeds are diametrically opposed; they are as distinct as is vice from virtue. Men too often confound them; they should not be confounded: appearance should not be mistaken for truth; narrow human doctrines, that only tend to elate and magnify a few, should not be substituted for the world-redeeming creed of Christ. There is—I repeat it—a difference; and it is a good, and not a bad action to mark broadly and clearly the line of separation between them.

"The world may not like to see these ideas dissevered, for it has been accustomed to blend them; finding it convenient to make external show pass for sterling worth—to let whitewashed walls vouch for clean shrines. It may hate him who dares to scrutinise and expose—to rase the gilding, and show base metal under it—to penetrate the sepulcher, and reveal charnel relics; but, hate as it will, it is indebted to him."

"Jane Eyre"
Preface, page xx
Charlotte Brontë

If you happen to have "Jane Eyre" sitting on a shelf collecting dust somewhere, you might want to pick it up and read on in the Preface. You will note that Charlotte Brontë dedicates the second edition of this classic work to one whom she evidently believes is quite adept in the delicate and dangerous task of plucking the mask from Pharisees.

It seems that the more things change the more they remain the same. Just like Texans don’t want anyone messin’ with the Lone Star state or their Stetsons, most Pharisees would be a thankin’ ya kindly to quit messin’ with their masks.