Wanna tick off a Christian? Ask him or her where in the Bible it says you can’t have sex outside of marriage. Bring popcorn.
Questions scare the pigment off the average Christian! I make jokes, but it’s actually a disturbing problem. When a non-Christian asks a tough question, the Christian will usually say something about how they just have faith and don’t to have the answers, which usually has the same effect as holding your fingers in your ears and singing, “LALALALALALALALA!”
But within Christian circles, it’s seriously destructive. At best, the Christian who avoids questions has weak, shallow faith that can easily be shattered. But I’ve heard of many, many stories where Christians tried to ask their parents or churches tough questions, and they were scolded, shamed, and scorned. Unsurprisingly, these are always the stories of former Christians. Any question why they left?
Why do questions bother us? Well, for many of us we simply don’t know the answer, and that sends us into full-blown panic. We pull out the line about faith and claim we don’t have to know the answers because Jesus is Lord, so there! But in reality, 2 Peter says we need to, “be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for [Christianity].” (NKJV). It’s one thing not to have an answer for someone who is just trying to mock you, but what if someone who is genuinely seeking the faith asks the same question? What will you tell them?
Other Christians, however, believe that questions are the arrows of Satan trying to destroy our faith.They treat any question with hostility and anger and a good, old-fashioned Bible-smack because you’re a heathen and you’re going to Hell.
The funny thing is there’s actually a nugget of truth amidst all the stupid! Questions, by their nature, push against the foundation of our faith. They poke and prod and inspect, looking for cracks and weaknesses. So, yeah, in a way, they’re trying to shatter your faith. Here’s the tricky part: it’s a god thing!
Do you want your faith to be weak and liable to break under you? Of course not. So why choose to remain ignorant? 1 Corinthians 10:12 says that if you think you stand, make sure of it so you don’t fall. Only a fool refuses to check his foundation before he builds a house. Questions are the means by which you inspect your foundation, by which you find the cracks and breaks that will cause disaster.
Christians don’t like that. They don’t like when people poke and prod and point out where their flaws are. But only when you are aware of your weaknesses can you fix them.
And here’s the big one! What will you do when GOD asks the questions?
Proverbs 17:3 says “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the hearts.” You think God won’t prod you with a question or two? But just like the gold, he’ll throw you in the furnace. And when he does, we are refined and purified.
Questions shouldn’t scare us. We should embrace them as tools to inspect and repair our faith. Faith cannot exist on its own. A chair without legs won’t reach the table; it needs legs. If someone is trying to kick your a leg out from under your faith, replace it with a steel one.
If questions scare you, find the answers. Once you have an answer, the question can no longer harm you, because your foundation has been tested to withstand the rain and wind.
Yes, the Bible says not to test God. Yes, faith is required for Christianity. No, we don’t have every single answer, and the answers we have are not always easy. But we cannot treat ignorance as righteousness, because it’s just foolishness. Jesus had an answer for every question ever thrown at him, yet we don’t call him a heretic. Embrace the questions because the answers will make you strong.
WHAT TO DO WITH HARD QUESTIONS:
1. Admit when you don’t know the answer. Too many of us panic and try to string together something nonsensical because we can’t admit when we don’t know. Fight that urge and be honest: say you don’t know, but also say that you’re willing to inspect the matter. Don’t be scared if you don’t know; the other person doesn’t have all the answers in the world, either.
2. Ask God. James 1:5 says that if you lack wisdom, ask God, “who gives to all liberally and WITHOUT REPROACH.” (NKJV, emphasis mine) God doesn’t want you ignorant; he’ll show you through inspiration, the Bible, your pastor, people, books…God has many means.
3. Study! Investigate the question and find your answer. Hold all things against the Bible and see if they line up. Don’t blindly accept someone else’s answer, but find your own.
And now, I leave you with a few difficult questions for you Christians to practice with:
- How do you prove that God exists?
- When does life begin for an embryo? What proof do you have?
- What parts of the Old Testament still apply and why?
- The Bible says the Jews are God’s chosen people. But they’re not Christian, so are they going to Hell?
- Are God and Allah the same person? How do you know?
- What does salvation actually mean?
- God says you can only marry one person. But Jacob had two wives. David had a harem. What’s up with that?
- If the Bible says that the Earth is only a few thousand years old, why do we have fossils? Where do dinosaurs fit into all that?
- Why does Paul say he doesn’t permit women to speak in church?
- If God created mankind in his own image, why am I gay?
- If God values life so much, why did he perform or oversee the slaughter of millions in the Old Testament?
- Where does the spirit come from?
- What’s with Speaking in Tongues? Is that still relevant? Prove it.
- AND THE GRANDDADDY OF ALL QUESTIONS: If God is good, why does evil exist?
Dizzy yet? I challenge every Christian reading this post to find at least one question from that list that gives them trouble and try to find an answer.
If any of these questions or truly bother you, I have an answer for almost all of them (still working on a couple). Please feel free to ask me, or if you have another bothersome question, feel free to ask that, too.
Ask, learn, grow.