Friday, January 25, 2013

Doubt


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In my faith journey, I find that asking questions is sometimes frowned up. Oh, sure, easy questions are encouraged, because they help you learn more about God and grow spiritually.

The hard questions, though? They are often invalidated with comments such as, "As you mature spiritually, you'll find getting the answers aren't so important." or "We can't ever completely know the mind of God." or "You just need to have faith in God and don't worry about asking questions."

I have had versions of the above directed at me for most of my life.

Wondering why the child on the other side of the world who never had a missionary come and tell her about Jesus would die and go to hell earned the response, "That's why you need to pay for missionaries to go tell people about Jesus or even be willing to be a missionary yourself when you grow up."

Asking why mentally disabled children didn't get spanked ("Because they don't have the mental capacity to understand good and bad or cause and effect."), and then extrapolating that toddlers don't have that capacity, either, so why do they get spanked? And what about kids who look normal, but have developmental disabilities? Yeah, I found out I should be thankful I'm smart so I can experience the joy of parents who express love through fear pain hitting spanking. I believe at that point I expressed a desire to be mentally retarded.

(I should probably also mention I don't have much of a brain-to-mouth filter.)


As I've matured aged, the questions have neither stopped, nor gotten easier.

If God has commanded, "Thou shalt not kill," then why does He (apparently) command genocide throughout the Hebrew Scriptures? (Joshua 6:21; 1 Samuel 15:15, 32-33)  Wouldn't that make God a hypocrite? Or at least give anyone who kills an automatic get out of jail free card by allowing him to claim "God told me to?"

If there is only one, true God (Elohim), isn't the command to have "no other gods" before Him kind of a moot point? (And, yes, the word translated "gods" is, in fact, Elohim.)

Is patriarchy really God's plan for how the world should work? Because, honestly, I think everything from government to family works better when both men and women are making decisions together. Besides, it would seem God's original plan was unity (not hierarchy or patriarchy) until sin was allowed to derail it. Still, doesn't Christ's sacrifice restore all things?

How do I trust a God who supposedly has the whole world in His hands and controls the universe, but can't reliably sustain life in the womb, i.e. allows miscarriage and still birth?

Why? How? Why, why, why? Sometimes I feel guilty for barraging God with all my questions. I mean, if our chief end is to "glorify God and enjoy Him forever," I'm not really glorifying God with all my doubt.

Am I?

Maybe I am. It always helps me (as a parent with infinite, unconditional love for my kids) to imagine myself as God's child.

In my role as a parent, I love when my kids come to me with questions. Yes, sometimes their attitudes are wretched, sometimes their motives are wrong, and sometimes, frankly, they aren't interested in the answers I have to give, but still, they come to me.

That alone says volumes about our relationship.

Likewise, I think God is glorified when I am comfortable enough to show my doubt, that I am honest enough to admit I don't have all the answers, and confess I don't understand His reasons why.

Sometimes my attitude is wretched. Sometimes, I come with wrong motives. And sometimes, I'm not even interested in listening to the answers, so arrogant am I and secure in my indignation.

But, I come.

That, alone, speaks volumes.