From the Jack’s Winning Words blog come this little piece of advice – “It’s a healthy thing to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.” (Bertrand Russell)
We all have things in our lives that we take for granted, that we have long believed to be true; sometimes with no actual basis in facts. Most prejudices are based on things that we hold to be true with no actual facts to back them up. They are based upon unfounded hate or fear of something or someone. All of our fears, uncertainties and doubts are also baseless in facts and mostly founded in our own imaginations.
Even your faith practices may be based upon some things that you’ve long taken for granted without ever questioning why you do some things in certain ways. Asking yourself those questions is not really questioning your belief in God; but, rather, questioning the practices that have been implemented by men. Martin Luther questioned the practices of the Catholic Church hierarchy in his day, but he was not questioning his faith, just the practices of the men who were the religious leaders of the Catholic Church at the time.
Faith, like patriotism, has never been based upon blind acceptance of whatever direction the leaders of the church (or the country) were taking at the time. Questioning the rules that are promulgated by those leaders does not make one a heretic or any less the patriot, if they are remaining loyal to the principals upon which the institution was based – the Bible or the Constitution, depending upon which one is being discussed.
Children have a natural tendency to question things; to ask why something is the way it is. Often they may run up against the answer from an adult that sounds like this, “that’s just the way it is” or maybe “because I said so.” Some of those things they just file away as things that they take for granted, without further questioning. Some of those things become the prejudices that they carry around with them in adult life. As adults, we all carry some amount of that type of baggage; things that’s we’ve just accepted or stopped questioning long ago and taken for granted.
All of those things that we take for granted should set off little warning bells in the back of our minds and force us to question why we believe them to be true. What proof have we ever had for disliking (sometimes even hating) or fearing certain groups of people, people who are somehow different from us? Absent any proof, what sustains those beliefs? Is it just the laziness of mental momentum that keeps those fears or that hate in our minds? Why not question those beliefs and seek the truth? Why not, as Jack’s quote today suggests, hang a question mark on every fear and prejudice that you carry around? You really have nothing to lose and perhaps quite a bit to gain in terms of new experiences and new friendships.
In your faith, God is the answer, not the question. It is fair to question the practices that men have tried to build to govern the practice of faith. All religions have created structure and rules to try to guide and control the practice of the religion by the believers. Some have even created elaborate set of rules for day-to-day living and try to control all aspects of one’s life. Some have perverted the teachings that are the basis of the Bible in order to support their personal views of morality. None of that comes from God, just from the minds of men. At its most elemental level, your faith is your personal relationship with God. All of the rest of the trappings of the various religions are the works of men. So question those trappings if they don’t seem right to you; but, not your relationship with God.
In Isaiah 41:10 God said – “fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Having God and the teachings of Jesus at your moral core will give you the light up to which you should hold every other thing in your life that you “believe”. Prejudices melt away when held up to that light. Hate fades into the background when that light is shined upon it. Fears cannot withstand the light of belief in God and his care for us. Evil slinks back into the darkness from which it came when God’s light shines in your life. Uncertainty is replaced with self-confidence when God’s light shines through you.
So, question everything else in life, but hold fast to God as the center of your life and the rest will take care of itself.