I have had several conversations in the past few weeks with people who have walked away from the church. One of the things that proved detrimental in each of their stories was not being allowed questioning beliefs.
When we equate our religion with God, we lose the ability to question it without being accused of doubting God. This is unhealthy. For anyone who needs it, I would like to offer you permission to question your beliefs. To question your beliefs isn't a criticism of God; it is the awareness that our understanding of an infinite being is finite. We need to have the humility to be open to the possibility that our understanding of an infallible God may be fallible. If we refuse to question, we limit our ability to understand who God is and risk getting stuck in our misconceptions.
There is, of course, a group of Christians and churches on the opposite end of the spectrum. In this group, we question everything. Questions are a staple of how we interact with God. Where the first group values certainty, the second values doubt.
Questions are paramount to seeking God and allow for movement down the path of our individual journeys of faith. But the problem the second group has is that it has gone too far and worships questions above truth. I’ll steal a quote from the apostle Paul, who wrote,
“Question everything; hold onto only what is true.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21
Allowing this idea to inform how we structure our faith is the only way to have a healthy belief system. If we question without the purpose of finding truth, we never allow ourselves to actually know anything about God. We hold everything we used to believe in an open hand and then stop there.
Jesus described himself as the truth -- we should be wary of calling ourselves his followers if we don’t hold truth in any esteem. We as a church have to be willing to question and to search for answers.