Friday, April 05, 2013

From a Question Authority


Easter 2 - Year C 


Explore God's Love

What is holiness?

Does God change? Is God of the book of Genesis the same God of today?

Will I be punished if I am angry at God because I feel miserable and alone?

If Jesus and God are the essence of love, why does the Bible so often threaten us with hell and damnation?

What is the significance of the cross and the crucifixion of Jesus?

Where is the kingdom of God?

Does God make mistakes?

Why does God let bad things happen in the world?

What is meant by the "grace" of God?

Where do I look to find God in this world of tragedy and pain?

Does God punish us for our sins?

How can God love us when we consistently fail to follow His word?

How can the God of judgment and punishment, as often portrayed in the Old Testament, be reconciled with the concept of a God of love?

What is the power of prayer?

What if God doesn't answer my prayers?

What if Christian teachings fill me with feelings of guilt and worthlessness?

Explore Your Faith

How are we to respond to acts of terrorism and the hatred expressed by self-proclaimed "enemies" of Christianity?

I read the Bible and try to follow what scripture tells me to do. Why aren't things working out better for me?

Why would a Christian object to posting the Ten Commandments in public places?

How can God help me when I'm in the midst of depression?

How could depression lead to a richer spiritual life?

Why not emphasize the afterlife as the best reason for becoming a Christian?

Is it necessary to be part of a religious community in order to fully experience a relationship with God?

Why not believe that the Bible is the literal word of God?

How can I know the truth about Christianity if I question the Bible's status as the literal Word of God?

How can I know when it is God who is speaking to me?

Isn't searching for the God within just an excuse for narcissism?

Why are there so many disagreements about certain passages in the Bible?

What proof is there that Christianity is not a myth created to assuage our fears about death?

Do I have to believe that Christ literally, physically rose from the dead in order to be a Christian?

What if I'm not certain what I believe?

How can I know what God wants me to do with my life?

Is it all right to be spiritual without being religious?

What if I don't know how to pray?

How can I best incorporate God into my parenting?

What is the point of asking theological questions? Can we ever really know the answers?

As a Christian, how do I reconcile stories from the Bible with current scientific thought?

How can I live the life of faith?

Explore the Church

What if I am troubled by the negative attitudes toward women that I find in the Bible and in some churches today?

What is the difference between spirituality and religion?

How can I find a religion most suitable for my beliefs?

What is the heart of Christianity?

How can Christians accept Christianity as the way to God, and still give credence to the truth and reality of other religions?

I am uncomfortable with some of the doctrines professed in organized religion. Is believing certain creeds really what Christianity is all about?

Is going to church necessary for salvation?

What is Holy Eucharist and why is it so significant?

Do Christians really believe they are eating the body and drinking the blood of Christ when they receive Communion?

What is Pentecost and what difference does it make in our lives today?

What can Christians learn from other religions?

Why does the church put so much emphasis on the formal rites of worship?

What does Christianity teach about the moral status of homosexuality?

Do Christians believe that followers of other religions are doomed?

Do spiritual practices that are most often associated with Eastern religions have a place in the lives of Christians?

What if I strongly disagree with the views of someone else who professes to be a Christian?

How can Christianity be called a religion of love if "Christians" condemn those whose lifestyle and views differ from their own?

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questions
contain ideas
excuse inaction
bid us approach
fill lacunae
search for information
make a point
test hypotheses
bind together
simplify complexity
investigate events
build tomorrow
express faith
bully differences
lead astray
limit debate

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Codes of ethics or behavior are responses to life’s disparities. They answer all too well what can only be a response to life’s unanswerable questions. It is helpful to consider codes beyond any given set to the process of “coding theory” which is concerned with finding explicit methods of increasing the efficiency and reducing the net error rate of data communication over a noisy channel (human experience, if you will). These codes can be roughly subdivided into data compression (source coding) and error-correction (channel coding) techniques.

If we take the beginning list of uses of questions above, how do they helpfully interact without being reduced to one true purpose of a question? A dynamic between compression and error-correction needs honoring. Just as any series of creeds sets up a never-ending possibility of a next question, we live between what we have known and what is becoming known. Compressed faith brings error-correcting questions and vice versa. Anything else than this bubbling dynamic tension will get left in the dust of time.

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Following lines of questions can be as addictive as picking a scab. For more you may want to bookmark The Critical Thinking Community for return visits.

Blessed are questions and questioners — well, at least some of them.

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