I ask a lot of questions – about my faith, about the world, about politics, about Christianity, about theology, about everything. I’m rarely satisfied with easy answers, which means I’ve become a bit of a skeptic over the past few years. I’m less certain about things, less convinced of my previously held assumptions.
There’s a chance that this has made me a little obnoxious. Occasionally, my persistent questioning gets too aggressive or perhaps hits too close to home, and a well-meaning friend will try to “fix” me with an abrupt response.
Here’s a list of nine that never work:
- “It’s arrogant for you to question God.” - Most of the time, I’m questioning a certain theology or biblical interpretation, not God Himself. My husband knows me well enough to tell when I’m doing the latter. He’ll call me on it.
- “I’m sorry to hear that you do not take the Bible seriously.” - Translation from Christianese: “I’m sorry to hear that you do not agree with my interpretation of the Bible.”
- “God’s ways our higher than our ways.” - Taken from a beautiful passage in Isaiah describing God’s mercy and love, this verse is commonly inserted into the conversation when someone really wants me to shut up. Translation from Christianese: “Stop asking hard questions.”
- “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.” – Then I guess we can’t really talk about it.
- “You should examine your heart about this issue.” – Translation from Christianese: “You should change your mind and agree with me.”
- “Why can’t you just get over it?” - I got this response the other day when I said that I had a hard time accepting the idea that all non-Christians will suffer eternally in hell when most never even had the chance to be saved. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to just “get over” that.
- “You need to have a more childlike faith.” – But even kids ask a lot of questions... don’t they? don’t they?
- “That’s a stupid question,” or “the answer is so obvious.” - This may be true, but it makes me feel like a real loser for asking.
- “Well, Rush says...”
These responses don’t help because they send the message that God is too small to handle big questions. For the questioner, this only heightens skepticism and fear. I wish more people understood that I’m not really searching for air-tight, black-and-white answers to all my questions about God. I’m just searching for a safe place in which to ask them.
So, can you name a tenth?