This is something I learned quickly because of my inquisitive nature. I had lots of questions about a wide range of topics related to Christianity. I would often reach out to other Christians, at different levels of authority, requesting a deeper understanding of scripture, practices, behavior, church policies, etc. This was a very exciting time for me and I was eager to learn more.
The responses that I received were utterly frustrating and at times downright outlandish, so much in fact that even to this day I must be on guard to even think about asking fellow Christians anything related to the faith.
It’s a sad truth but the fact is that asking questions causes the following almost immediately.
I have provided the most typical responses that I encountered below and my understanding of why they reacted in the way they did.
The “Don’t Question” response. This is the most frequent and most lacking in substance. I would ask a question and they will come straight out and say they don’t want to answer such a question or sometimes just silence. The general stance is that the question is invalid and no answer is needed. They explain to me that such questions simply don’t matter or don’t require an explanation.
The “Lack Of Faith” response. This one is upsetting, I would ask a question (easy enough) and then I would be slapped in the face with a “You lack faith” statement. The mere act of asking a question, to some, literally means you lack faith. They feel that any question is a direct threat to all of Christianity and must be stopped before a soul is lost. Ironically enough the way they fix this is to immediately start asking me questions about my faith. O.o
The “You Are A Troublemaker” response. Some people have directly stated that asking questions is a sign that I’m a wolf in sheep’s clothing trying to tear apart the church. This was a huge eye opener for me since over the years I have been pulled aside to learn of troublemakers in the congregation. I now know I can’t trust this type of message because I have seen first hand the overreaction from people when I asked questions.
The “Devil Made You” response. This one took me utterly by surprise the first time it happened to me and I must admit I don’t run into it often. It starts with me asking questions to gain more understanding but it ends with someone rebuking the devil. They insistently believe that asking questions is of the devil or even that the devil is speaking through people who ask certain questions. It’s a bit surreal when it happens to you, especially for easier questions that shouldn’t evoke any type of negative response.
The “You Already Know” response. This one is nonsensical, to say the least. I would ask a question and the answer is, “You already know the answer” or something like, “The answer is in your heart”. I feel like following them around, waiting for the moment to catch them asking someone a question so I can remind them how that’s not needed since they already know the answer. It’s insulting, as a growing Christian, you ask questions to get answers.
There has been no easy solution for me with this dilemma so I now just ask questions as needed but if the person overreacts, I back off fast and kind of put them on a fragile Christian list to avoid breaking them with tough questions in the future.
Questions are a part of life and life is God. We need to always be ready to provide an account for what we believe in.