Don't Ask

For Christmas, my wife and I got each other a baby. And I just can't wait to raise that little kid. Kids, like cats, are really curious. This world is new to them so their days are filled with thousands of questions as they begin to understand what makes everything tick.

It's the foundational purpose of a question, really. Not necessarily to get a straight answer, but to discover the reasons and causes behind this life's many expressions and effects.

Take the question, "Why is the sky blue?" for example. While it can easily be answered by a discussion on particles and wavelengths, the deeper desire in that question is one of wanting to understand why the sky is blue and not red, yellow, or green.

It's the difference between seeking answers and seeking understanding. In the same way, when an adult asks, "Why did God ask his people to commit genocide?" well, some questions just aren't welcome.

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This generation may be one of the most skeptical in history. Which is a comparative statement as the previous generation seems to be one of the most trusting--at least regarding matters of theology and the church.

The first half of the 20th century saw some of modern Christianity's greatest theologians. And with that, doctrines were enriched, policies were established, and convictions were entrenched. Our grandparents had bolstered the Christian backbone of America, and our parents seemed happy to follow their marching orders.

Enter my generation. We took one look at those marching orders handed down to us and summarily asked to be discharged. And the reason why can explained if we take the question as defined above: the church has prioritized giving answers over fostering understanding.

This is a big part of why younger people are leaving the church. Questions are viewed as equations with designated answers. They just need to be plugged in with a winsome smile and a patronizing, "I'm praying for you." This is not done by accident.

Because if questions seek understanding, that means that questions naturally upset control. When every question is given a correlating answer, a system is established. So if any answer is rejected or questioned further, the power of that system is weakened and control is wrestled from those who espouse it.

Which means that it is out of fear that many in the church are left wanting in their understanding of God. Perhaps position or prestige would be in jeopardy if it were discovered that only good Christians go to heaven according to both Calvinism and Arminianism.

But I don't care if my quest for understanding knocks down a few man-made artifacts along the way. As a Christian skeptic, my priority is knowing God. And I intend to encourage the same healthy skepticism in my kid.