Mr. Doubtwell’s Guide To Purposeful Skepticism

At the heart of the quest for wisdom is one question: “Why”? It is, maybe, the very first question we learn to ask in our lives. As my friend, Heather Kenney, explained last week in a blog post entitled simply Why?, at some point we all stop asking the “why” questions. The “how” of life intrudes on the “why” to the point that those who find a transcendent “why” and hold onto it leave us all in awe asking, “how do they do that?” (notice we’re still asking the wrong question…). “Why” is not just a life defining question it is a faith defining question. Just think for a moment about a deceptively simple “why” question, Why is there something rather than nothing in the universe? Not how is there something, but why, and not just why do I exist but why does ANYTHING exist? The implications are no less than eternal and spiritual. If words had weight “why” would be the heaviest word in the universe.

    “Why” is a foundational question when you’re confronted by a religious skeptic, even if it’s the one you see in the mirror when you’re brushing your teeth. “Why” is your color coordinated, spandex clad, cape wearing sidekick watching your back on every adventure deep into the heart of doubt. Have I gone too far? Perhaps, but I think I’ve made my point.
    “Why do you think that?”, or some version of the question should be the first words out of your mouth when someone comes to you and makes a statement in opposition to your faith.
    When someone says, “The bible is just a translation of a translation of a translation and none of the original copies exist anymore anyways.” You ask them, “Why do you think that?” and what you’ll find more often than not is that they read a work of fiction or saw a Youtube video and they’re just quoting that without much knowledge beyond the surface objection. On the off chance they do have substantive reasons for making the statement, by asking for more information you haven’t yet committed yourself to a point of view either way much less committed to arguing with them. So “why” gained you some things in the form of insight, knowledge, and confidence and cost you only whatever amount of time it took to have the interaction. And the best part is you can still ask more “why” questions if you don’t know what else to say.
    Doubting well is all about asking yourself those BIGGEST “why” questions and leaning into the process of answering them in a way that propels you forward.
    Why is there anything rather than nothing?
    Why do I think ______ is true?
    Why do I believe in the same God my parents did?
    Why does it seem like He’s not there sometimes?
    Why is it so hard to be the person I think I’m supposed to be?
    Dive deep with these kinds of questions. Look them, and yourself, in the eye and don’t flinch. Better you should ask yourself “why?” and answer honestly than be challenged by a skeptic and fall to the pressure of their doubt imposed upon you. Knowing yourself and your God intimately is the first task of any believer who wants to be a defender of his faith.
    So….. Go doubt something big this week!

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