During one of the first worship services that I ever attended (a whole 8 months ago), one of the congregation announced during notices that he was recruiting people for an evangelical expedition to a local shopping mall. Anyone who wanted to join him would be trained, and given explicit instructions on what to say and how to answer any tricky theological questions.
Google ‘Christian apologetics’, and you will get over 2 million results. Essentially, apologetics is finding hard and fast answers to questions of religion; defending faith against those who seek to scrutinise it, either through a genuine desire for clarification, or as an attempt to destabilise the foundations of a belief system.
To me, this sounds like an attempt to make religion a science; finding rational answers to what is at its core an irrational system.
I don’t mean irrational in a derogatory sense. I mean it’s not rational. It cannot be qualified or answered definitively. Surely that is one of the fundamental tenets of faith. A belief system that requires adherents to parrot back memorised answers is missing a fundamental point.
As Douglas Adams famously said, ‘proof denies faith and without faith, I am nothing’.
But it makes me wonder;
Are people within the church so involved in justifying their beliefs to unbelievers that they don’t have room to embrace the voice of doubt within themselves?
Instead of viewing genuine questions as enemies that must be dispatched before we can get on with the real truth of living, how about we embrace uncertainty.
Not supress it, for fear that it demonstrates the manifestation of a lack of trust in God.
What I’m looking for is for people to be honest about their doubt and uncertainty. I need this, in order to legitemise my own uncertainties.
You see, I want hard and fast answers. I want to know that God exists.
And that is something that I’m going to have to get over.
Short of an actual physical manifestation (and even I don’t think that I’m that special) it’s not going to happen. So I can’t imagine a time when I won’t have more questions that answers.
And if anyone claims that they do have answers for me, then I’m not going to believe them.
For now, I need to know that I can be safe in the understanding that disbelief and questions are an authentic method of lifelong growth, rather than as an expression of spiritual immaturity.