Questions for evangelicals

I’d like to address a question to a group that is, on the whole, unlikely to frequent my blog: those who would characterize themselves as conservative Christians.

Whether you were brought up in Christianity or accepted it later in life, the chances are overwhelming that you weren’t just taught to accept Jesus as Lord: you were sold an entire package. Whether it was done prior to conversion or immediately subsequently, you adopted a body of teachings on many subjects, doctrine intended to ground you and detox you from the lies of the world. Typically, depending on your particular tradition, you were told that Jesus atones for us by satisfying God’s need to punish people for wrongdoing, hell for unbelievers, the Trinity, and that all our confidence for the preceding proceeds from the non-negotiable truth that the Bible is 100% accurate (with the unspoken presupposition that your tradition’s intepretation of it was correct).

The main question I’d like to ask is this:

When you accepted the faith, did you even consider that there may be at least something in that package that does not belong?

And I don’t mean in the periphery – something big, like the validity of the canon, the Trinity, or something in the creeds. I also want to emphasize that when I say “consider”, I do not mean “anticipate arguments against your beliefs and counteract them with arguments from like-minded apologists,” but “seriously entertain the possibility that an honest examination and evaluation of your beliefs would overturn one or more of them.”

Follow-up questions:

  • If you have not seriously considered the possibility of a mistake in your short list of important doctrines, why not?
  • If you did at one time consider it but have since discarded that doubt, why have you done so?
  • If you have questioned and modified one of your beliefs away from the mainstream evangelical Christian stance (e.g. on evolution, eschatology), how did you justify going against that majority in order to do so? Would you be willing to do so on other important topics (i.e. the virgin birth, etc.)?
  • Do you think that holding the line on beliefs you haven’t critically examined is a justifiable exertion of energy?
Tagged with:
Recent Posts: