Monday, August 29, 2011

Dangerous Thoughts or Pertinent Points?

I continue on my journey of undergoing seismic shifts in thinking, beliefs, questioning, and doubts.  It seems the more questions I seek to answer, the more questions I end up asking, with no answers in sight. While it leaves me somewhat disconcerted, I'm trying to make peace with the idea that some questions are just not going to have answers; or at least, no answers that I can cling to with 100% assurance.

I was discussing some of my doubts with a family member a few weeks ago, and while he acknowledged he too had doubts, he insisted that my approach to my faith conundrums was "dangerous."  Dangerous, because I pointed my finger at the church and held it responsible as the source of much of the pain and confusion I've undergone in the last decade.  In essence, he was saying it was okay to question God, but don't go blaming the church for my issues.

I admit, I was taken aback.  Sometimes in church we hear, "Hey, it's OK to express doubt. Ask God these questions. Wrestle with them.  It's normal to doubt and wonder."  Yet when you do those very things, people start to get nervous that you are "falling away from the faith" or bordering on the profane.  How is it "dangerous" to point out where the church has erred?  How is it harmful to reexamine past teachings and beliefs in light of new knowledge?  Do the doubters among us get pushed to the fringes of our faith communities because we think the whole thing will unravel by a question or two?

Asking questions about God, faith, the church--and more specifically, fundamentalist faith--is like a Pandora's box, in that once you start, you can't ever put those questions away.  When you realize you've believed wrong things, you can't go back to blindly believing them. "Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise."  In that sense, I suppose my thinking is dangerous.  I can't go back to the warm, fuzzy comfort of an unquestioned faith and assurance in God.  But blind, unreasonable faith--that seems to be a greater danger in the long run.

And so, I keep asking.

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