I have a confession to make: I am a skeptic, and always have been. However, the church is not always welcoming to people who question.
Instead of saying “I don’t know” or “I have never thought about that before,” when someone asks one of the off-limits questions, people in the small group or Sunday School often tend to shut them down. It is usually an honest, difficult question that challenges a fundamental belief. Those kinds of questions can be quite uncomfortable to consider.
It is out of that place of discomfort that people reply with “There are some things you just have to accept on faith” or worse by ignoring the questioner all together and switching the subject. If the questioner presses their case, the shut down continues with “I just believe what the Bible says” or “That’s just not something you can question as a believer.”
These sorts of responses say to the skeptic that the Christian faith is not strong enough to withstand scrutiny. It says that their type of curious personality is not welcome in church and causes many to unplug from the community of faith.
Not only can God withstand any level of scrutiny, but it is in scrutinizing that we come to a better understanding of the person of God and our Christian faith. Though it may be uncomfortable to question why we believe one thing or another, if we seek God, study the scriptures, search out wise counsel and use our own logical brain, we will come out with a faith that is stronger and more well defined.
Yet because it is such an uncomfortable task for the non-skeptic, we tend to shy away from asking the tough questions. That is why we need skeptics in our midst. Unhindered or unconcerned with the typical discomfort of questioning, they raise the questions that we dismiss or ignore. They help push us to establish firm foundations and clear understanding. We need skeptics.
Because God loves skeptics and because we have all been curious about taboo topics, we are going to spend some time in our 5:00 evening service honestly engaging with significant questions and discovering how they help us to live a life of obedience to God and grow closer as the Body of Christ. I look forward to seeing you and your skeptical friends and colleagues there!