Doubt has changed the landscape of (American) Christendom. At one point, it was cool to question everything without trying to find real answers (Emergent anyone?). Although, this is certainly an overstated and simplistic view, the point still stands; I am not saying doubt is not a real issue, though.
Doubts are real
People are truly wrestling with the tension of what they have been taught and what they see and experience in real life.
Our society has moved from Modernism (“This is true”) to Post-Modernism (“Is this true?” “What is true for you is not true for me”) to a Neo-Modernism (“the answers I was given don’t hold enough weight for me to accept them”).
The answers are not failing as answers, however. I believe they are couched in the wrong verbiage. This does not mean we change the answers. We change how the answers are expressed.
I am not advocating the dumbing down of our answers. We are not talking with five year olds. We are talking to adults who have potentially faith-alleviating doubts.
I am advocating the rewording of our answers in a thoughtful, meaningful, and concerned way.
Modernism was a double-edged sword
Modernism was a blessing and a curse. The silver bullet approach to answering skeptics years ago has lost its effectiveness. Those answers are shrugged off like water off a duck’s back.
Many reasons attribute to this. One significant reason is biblical illiteracy. But more to the point, foundations for the “silver bullet” answers of yesteryear have disappeared. The building blocks which establish the answers have been eroding beyond recognition or have been completely dropped out of the collective discussion.
In other words, we are somewhat used to giving a simple answer to a question and people accepting that answer (whatever it is), but that was because the groundwork for the answer was already laid because biblical literacy was more common then than now.
The issue is immensely complex. The solutions are even more complexly difficult to implement. But here is a starting point for furthering the discussion:
- Prayer ala Mark 9:14-29 – “Why weren’t our answers to the questions good enough?” 29 And he said to them, “This question cannot be answered by anything but prayer.”
- Time – We need to spend a TON of time with those who have the questions
- Effort – We need to demonstrate our love for others in the difficult process of digging for answers
- Build Biblical Literacy – We need to construct anew the foundation for our answers
What do you have to add?