Are people with a questioning approach to the Bible, who have a question about church doctrines, willfully ignorant or even downright evil and somehow inferior to those who readily accept church dogma as the true Gospel? The word “skeptic” has always been a derogatory term in the church’s vernacular.
I see no justification for disparaging the questioner, unless it is the fact that questions compel answers, answers which require sincere evaluation and careful definition of terms and assumptions. In other words, addressing questions requires much more effort than the church is usually willing to expend and opens the door to countless new issues, each one more complicated and therefore difficult than the previous.
At the hands of the institutional church, the biblical emphasis on faith has devolved into a blind adherence to church tradition and an unwavering reliance on the clergy to interpret the scriptures. Whenever legitimate questions are asked, the typical church response often involves either resignation to God’s sovereignty and inscrutability or a suggestion of sinful obstinacy on the part of the questioner. Admittedly there are questions which we may never be able to answer’ but that is no excuse for treating questions and inquirers with contempt, as so often happens.
This church mindset has created a category of unanswerable questions, ones which are not just unresolved but also ones which are never even raised. It has also generated a list of answers which can never be questioned. Often the only support offered for these unquestioned answers is that of longstanding church tradition. This suggests that everyone must recognize the infallibility of the early church fathers, in addition to that of the Bible itself.
Unanswerable question and unquestionable answers are both an impediment to a true personal faith, one which has the potential to transform personal lives, society, and our world in its entirety.