Driving into church today I wondered if I had the whole Christianity thing right. I do that a lot; wonder if I’m doing something right, be it Christianity, marriage, life, existence…. Things that I can’t possibly know the answer to, as if there is a right or wrong to them that I could figure out in a 20 minute car ride despite an entire civilization chewing on it for thousands of years and still not being sure.
The more I think about it, the more I’m pretty glad I don’t know. Once man learns what right and wrong is, he has this nasty tendency to go around and point his finger in everyone else’s face that is doing it wrong (according to his understanding) and say “I’m right, you’re wrong. I’m superior, you’re inferior.” It’s destructive and divisive and yet, if you belong to a major religion, it’s inevitable to arrive at a point right and wrong. What’s funny about it is, once a person feels like they are right, they put up their walls and close the circle. I mean, if you’re right, why listen to anything to the contrary?
I’ve always had this problem with hyper-awrness. I have trouble tuning the stuff happening around me out. There are a lot of times I wish I could tune everything around me off or narrow the search parameters in my mind to focus on more specific terminology. There are even, I admit, times I wish I was just plain dumber. Oblivious. Narrow minded. Why? Because I honestly think faith is a lot easier for those who are oblivious to the world around them. I don’t think I’m one of the smartest people in this earth by any stretch. Like I said, I just can’t turn my head off, and I can tell you from playing baseball for most of my adult life that there definitely moments in time where the people who can turn it off (or those whose head is in the “off” position by default) can excel.
Me and many of my friends have received grief for begin the way we are—over thinkers, analyzers, questioners. The church actually calls this struggle with reconciling the human mind to an infinite God, “to much head knowledge.” In any other facet of living, to much knowledge is never a problem. In fact, 99.9% of the time it’s the more knowledge of a subject the better. But in religious circles there a those who think that any knowledge that leads to the challenging of your faith is a negative thing. Some believe this to the point they will demonize the institutions that provide this knowledge, and shun or excommunicate those who attend them. Apparently to these people God can’t work through certain venues—only the ones that vend the properly filtered brand of Christian rhetoric.
It’s a shame, really, for everyone involved. A dividing point where one need not be. Once you go down the road of higher learning, you can’t tell those who don’t follow you that they are wrong in their thinking. To them, you’ve been corrupted and any challenge you present them is proof of it. In faith based circles there is a precedent set to keep it simple stupid (KISS). Indeed, having a faith like a child is desirable.
Faith like a child, yes, I get that. But is having an education like a child desirable? Is having an adult understanding of the world around you undesirable? Does pursuing knowledge of God from all available sources make you corrupted? And, maybe most importantly for those who seek more knowledge, once you possesses it, can you not still have a child like faith?
I understand why those outside the church look at the people in it and say, “wow, what close minded hypocrites that do nothing but in-fight and make themselves dumber.” To those people I want them to know that, yes, that does happen. But there are also those who desperately want to know more about this God who loves us to the point of death and has asked us to follow after him. A God who would have us pour out our lives to make the world around us better. Who is He? What is His nature? and, the scariest of all questions, Is He real?
How do we live this life He has called us into in a world that we can not tune out? Should we even try if we are to meet it’s needs? My heart breaks for the the church that values ignorance and shuns those who would challenge that value. I sometimes fear that in man’s quest to contain God, he has contained himself as well.