Thursday, April 10, 2008

questioning paradox

in an earlier post, i briefly mentioned that ive had some retractions concerning christianity. this should not be understood as a retraction from God. again the fact that i see them as separate entities at times would partly explain my distancing. anyhow, ive noticed or perceived several issue's that have raised some 'red flags' for me concerning some of its tenets. honestly, i dont see the skepticism as a bad thing. i mean im an admitted dissenter. but its not just to simply argue or disagree for the sake of arguing and disagreeing, but it really does help to delve deeper into the things i say i believe. or as my bizzle(blog) states, it helps me to-unravel. i had some thoughts on the subject of questioning, dissenting, skepticism, doubting or whatever you want to call it. having said that...

most would offer a casual nod of agreement when concerning questioning. conservative and the not so, typically agree that questioning, thinking, doubting, even skepticism are permitted. i am not totally convinced of this, but i am convinced many would agree. there is a great chasm between verbal assent or affirmation and reality or actually 'experiencing'. by experience here i mean people actually experiencing or feeling what its like to be able to question, doubt, think, etc freely. again, i do not believe that is the case. there are constant strings attached that detract from this supposed freedom.

ive said before that concerning questioning and the so called allowing for it, that 'what' is being questioned or doubted sometimes seems to determine whether its permitted or not. i see at least three tiers at play. if you question whether drinking is permissable for believers, whether they're allowed to go to dance clubs/bars, or play the lotto then your skating fine even doing pirouettes on the ice. criticism and lectures abound and you are inundated w/ repetitive christian mantra plus you get tossed out the conservative/traditional group, but things are still 'okay'. now if you question other things such as the literal existence of job, adam and eve, jonah, the flood to name a few, if you think differently about the possibility of people being born strictly hetero or abortion, or regular church attendance then you are still okay. well sort of. no more pirouettes, but you're still on the ice just avoiding the cracks beginning to form. criticism and lectures increase significantly, you are now told things like, 'this is just part of your journey.' 'this is just where God has you.' or my favorite, 'you'll come back around'. as for the last tier of questioning, if you question things as to whether or not hell has a zip code, whether Jesus is the son of God, if the bible is inerrant, or if christianity is superior to any and everything out there then you are either a non-believer or heretic. you have fallen through the ice and are absolutely not 'okay'. you are prayed for with a fury both to your face and unbeknownst. mostly unbeknownst because people see you as leaving the fold following wayward trails and want God to bring you back so you become the 'topic' of church or bible study prayer request time.

ive made mention of 'what' is questioned, but concerning non-believers, it made me think of 'who' is doing the questioning. are believers solely granted questioning rights? (by believers i guess i mean those that said 'the prayer' in time acknowledging christianity as the only true alternative to atheism or ____.) well personally it seems that way to me. what 'non-believers' experience and most christians actually do is different from what is taught. assuming a sifting of christian beliefs is allowed, there are most certainly strings attached. its like 'you can sift but you better hurry and make-up your mind.' what i find surprising is that on the surface this mode of thinking sounds relatively feasible and it surely applies to other parts of our lives. choose a job before the window closes, ask her on a date before she picks another fellow, or buy that house before someone else takes it off the market are all types of decisions we must make in a limited time frame. but, personally, this methodology doesnt translate well for me concerning God. honestly speaking, to say that God is asking a hindu or muslim, who has been steeped in their own teachings for God knows how long, to run a sickle through everything they've been taught and hurry up and make a decision is so ridiculous and unbelievable. or to say that God is asking a pimple faced immature teenager (or the 'age of accountability' whatever the hell that is) to not only contemplate schoolwork, the opposite sex attraction, same sex attraction, and what they want to do with their life, He is also telling them to figure out the greatest mystery known to man. btw, tomorrow isnt promised to anyone so good luck w/ that. i suppose a hindu teenager has it twice as rough.

if my wife and i continually plead with our children that they can tell us anything on their minds/hearts and that we will always listen, yet we blow up in their face and absolutely do not listen when they share certain things w/ us; what they 'experience' is far different from what we say. what we verbally say is actually of little value because of what we actually do. the adage, 'actions speak louder than words' comes to mind. so of course most wont say, out loud anyway, that questioning isnt conceivable bc that sounds too rigid, too close-minded, even too pharisaical and no church going person wants those associations.


Amy Metz Walker said...

My grandmother had a saying, "Do as I say, not as I do." Sorta reminds me of what you were talking about...the actual action conflicting what we've said (like with the kids).

David Podwika said...

Hey it's the Podman. Glad you gave me the address for your blog. I have always know you as being a deep thinker. Actually, it's one of the things I appreciate about you. You often offer me insights that compliment my own. I am curious as to where this search will lead you. Keep us posted!

sammy said...

thanks dawg that means alot!

Chris Wilson said...

Deep thoughts indeed. It seems to me though that there is some blurring of the lines between what is Christianity and what is religion. There is a sizable rift in many churches right now based on a concept called Lordship salvation. Basically places a lot of the burden on human performance.

To me it comes down to the one on one with Christ, specifically the idea of grace. He did it, we accept the gift. The rules and regs of organized religion tend to distract from his perfect act of atonement (to use the jargon). I know there is nothing I can do to enhance what he did, nor can I diminish it. It was complete in him.

Therefore, I drink beer with several of the elders of our church among other "no-no's". I would dance, but none of us want to see that happen. It is not a license to do whatever without consequence, but I can't "do good" my way into heaven either. I believe that if we are growing in the primary relationship, there will be behaviors that lose their attraction and we will want to be more like him, but bottom line..... It is not up to me to save myself nor can I keep myself saved. Only he can do that.

I wrestled with the issues of other religions too. Had a college roomie that was Hindu. We had our own version of Detente. But that religion, along with so many others, has a system of works that keeps the ball in your court all of the time. What happens if you die in between acts of contrition or atoning sacrifices?

That being said, much smarter men than me have pondered these issues. This is just my best grasp of them.

By the way. What would it take to get spell check on here? Killin' me Smalls!

About Me

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texas, United States
im married to one succulent momma and we have 3 supremo kids. i like corn dogs, star wars, toothbrushes with the grip and there isnt really much more to say of interest about me. well other than the fact that i can moonwalk and count to 10 by 5's.

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