Most would admit that being observant and questioning is the key to learning. Yet in our religious lives many of us seemingly lose all interest in attempting to dig deeper in our understanding. So often our religious perspective is formulated strictly from what we hear others say in a formal religious setting with little effort made to note underlying questions and implications to what is being said. If these religious gatherings are described and sold as a learning experience, then the lack of real intellectual engagement with the subject matter is strange indeed. Such ambivalence would suggest a lack of seriousness, but does it?
I believe that many of us would like to more seriously address our religious dimension. Obviously, the business of our secular lives is one impediment to that desire. However, I perceive another even more substantial barrier to spiritual growth. That barrier is the longstanding reluctance of the church to actually encourage questioning as the proper route to growth. Over history, the formal church setting has devolved into a rather sterile, highly orchestrated event in which the learning format is totally lecture oriented with little or no discussion and questioning.
New church members probably ask the most questions but they quickly perceive that serious inquiry is not invited or seriously addressed. In the classroom situation, the teachers are generally volunteers who are often ill prepared to deal with deep issues themselves and in the formal worship gatherings, there is no opportunity to question those whose paid positions should indicate a keener understanding.
It would be easy and reasonable to conclude from the unquestioned nature of our religious experience that what we do experience is highly questionable. Unchallenged and unchallengeable dogma is not a sound basis for growth. Without a doubt there are many questions for which we have no answers and maybe never will. However, that is not an excuse to dismiss all questions and to stop seeking new answers to the age old issues of life.
The secular world has shown numerous times that today's truth is invalidated tomorrow but only after someone dares to question what has been long believed.