Sunday Morning Musings: Over the years I have lived the wonderful paradox that is life. Today I will talk about the paradox of asking questions. We likely all have at one time or another encountered the child who seems to be constantly asking questions and feeling harangued by these questions we finally have to say: “Stop asking so many questions!” On the other hand, we often may have encouraged that same child by telling him or her that “asking questions is the best way to learn”. It is easy to see why asking questions can become one of life’s paradoxes.
Some of life’s questions can often be answered with simple answers. Child: Are there yet? Adult: No! But other questions may not be that simple. “What is the meaning of life?” “What does God look like?” (I know of a book entitled: Does God Have a Big Toe?). It maybe that we have rarely, if ever, given any thought to these or other of life’s big questions. During life’s journey it is important that we do give some thought to these and what I would call other spiritual questions.
Too often, we are fed the answers as if there is only one correct one which can often do us more harm than good. I often wonder how many adults carry around in their heads the same image of God that they were likely taught as a child. We will often make reference to “the Big Guy up there” when referring to God. When a ten year old drew me a picture of God, he drew an old man with a beard in a long robe surrounded by clouds. How does that fit with the “panentheistic” God who is in all things? (Note I didn’t use the word “pantheistic” which means “God is all things”. The same paradox arises with other spiritual questions.
I strongly believe that asking questions is a very important way of learning. Yet, I just as strongly believe that to assume that there is only one answer and that answer doesn’t change is not very helpful. When science proves that the earth is much older than Biblical genealogies tell us, it is time to change our thinking and understanding of the Bible. I don’t mean that we should totally ignore the stories and history recounted in the Bible, but we must be willing to adapt our way of thinking.
I have often said that to think that if we think we have all of the answers, then we haven’t asked all of the questions. That doesn’t mean we should ever stop asking questions. Rather, we need to keep asking; we need to keep learning.
Living with the questions is very important. It helps us deal with one of the many paradoxes of life itself.