Do you question your beliefs?
A friend of mine went on a number of dates with a girl who was part of a smaller denomination within the protestant faith. As they were chatting, my friend did some research on her denomination, and he found some things that were very different than his beliefs. He asked her about those differences and what her thoughts were on them. She responded and he shared his differing beliefs. I don’t know all the details of their conversation but it ended with her being offended that he would choose to disagree strongly about something she didn’t see as very controversial when they barely knew one another (they had been going on regular weekly dates over the course of the last quarter).
Him and I spent a few hours after she sent her last message about how she was offended at that talking about the issue and solidifying his thoughts on it, I questioned his beliefs, pushed him for rationales, and poked holes in a couple of them, sometimes outright, and other times it was a, “Yeah, I agree with your conclusion, but you can’t use this argument for it, try this other one instead.” During my friends’ and mine interaction, we decided that while he may not have had the best way of presenting things there were irreconcilable differences. She was born, raised, and educated in this denomination and had told him she believed everything that the denomination believed and didn’t see any reason to question it.
This is an odd thing for both my friend and I. He goes to a church where he sees many of the pastor’s beliefs as heretical (he goes to a cessationist Calvinist church) but appreciates the pastor’s other sermons and loves the people there. I was raised by hippie parents who raised me to question everything and come to my own conclusions. My library at home has books ranging from Mark Driscoll to Rob Bell, C.S. Lewis to Joseph Prince, Charles Spurgeon to Sam Harris. Truth is a beautiful thing and we should always accept it and push for it wherever it is.
One of the things I loved so much about Velvet Elvis (Rob Bell’s first book) is that he devotes an entire chapter to the idea of questioning and in this chapter he examples many questions that heros of our faith ask God.
Central to the Christian experience is the art of questioning God. Not belligerent, arrogant questions that have no respect for our maker, but naked, honest, vulnerable, raw questions, arising out of the awe that comes from engaging the living GodRob Bell – Velvet Elvis, page 31.
Understanding why we believe what we believe is a basic call to Christian life.
Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. and if someone asks you about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.1st Peter 3:15 – NLT
This verse is where the idea of Apologetics is sourced to.
Apologia is the term in the greek that Peter uses and it means to give a defense.
Now, my friend definitely could have come off too harsh with this girl. He may have been a bit too quick to explain his beliefs and give a defense for them. Maybe he thought he knew what she was going to say and cut her off, or maybe he was building his own defense in his mind while she was talking.
I’ve been guilty of this, especially with people who give very very basic and generic responses to things.