Faith is something that you are not supposed to mess with. It’s fixed. Its propositions are anchored in history. You accept them and you’re “in.” Reject them and you’re “out.” Question them and you’re a problem. How those things are understood have undergone some changes through the centuries. Some faiths give you a little wiggle room. Most don’t.
Children are told what to do by their parents and teachers. It’s appropriate. They need guidance. They don’t have the ability to discern these things for themselves. As they grow up they begin to question things more and more. It makes parents nervous, as teenagers and young adults they openly question what they have been taught. They try new stuff that they were warned about to see if they were being told the truth. The kids do some stupid things. Everything doesn’t work out well. But they form their own beliefs and values, rather than clinging to all they were taught
It’s the questions that worry the religionists. They act as though a question might cause a crack to appear in the foundations of their faith. Too many questions could bring down the whole thing. So they are fiercely protective of their belief structure. After all, there has been a whole culture develop around it. Religion jobs and pensions are at stake. Institutions could be threatened.
There are people who claim a whole complex theology as the only correct one. They know who’s in, and it’s not very many, because you have to agree on every point. They know who is out. They know pretty much everything…how you should dress, how to interpret every passage in the Bible, who you should vote for, and what political party you should affiliate with. Differ with them and you are suspect.
I think we can come to some common sense conclusions, but they will make the religionists fearful, or angry.
- Theologies should be examined and challenged.
- Faith must undergo an adolescent-like testing process to be real.
- Anything true can handle any questions we may ask.
- We don’t have God all figured out.