A Day in the Park (Questions and Answers)

A Day in the Park (Questions and Answers) January 10, 2013

I was talking with my pastor today over lunch, and our conversation touched briefly on the subject of questioning God. I remarked that if someone never questions God, they probably have not paid much attention to the Bible or to life, since both lead naturally to such questioning.

I recently shared a cartoon about the relative value and effect of questions vs. answers. A commenter then shared a link to a rather long but really wonderful web comic on the same topic. Below is a sample. Click through to read the whole thing. It is worth it.

"It was also good that Grace's death wasn't just brushed aside; whilst I accept that ..."

Doctor Who: The Ghost Monument
"She says something like "That's ominous" as it rumbles, um, ominously open."

Doctor Who: The Ghost Monument
"I don't remember what she said immediately after that - sorry!"

Doctor Who: The Ghost Monument
"“Big locked door. I love a big locked door.”Did you pick up what she said ..."

Doctor Who: The Ghost Monument

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  • “Reality can change as easily as the way you care to see it.” struck me as perhaps the key phrase spoken by the key character in the comic – the idea upon which the thesis of this comic was based. And it is claptrap.

    I’ll gladly concede that one’s perception of reality can turn on a dime, but not reality itself. The comic’s author is trying to make the point that anyone who is certain of anything must, ipso facto, be wrong. This is the only certainty for a willfully uncertain person. And it is the common refuge of so many in our time who want to reject the idea that we can be certain about Jesus Christ. Indeed, we may not be able to be certain about many things, but about Him we can most certainly be certain.

    • As I read your post, I can’t help but imagine you as a big fish in a bowler!

      (btw, you’re free to imagine me as a one-eyed creature with vestigial wings)

      • I don’t relate to either character, though I do recognize the one-eyed creature as largely typifying the spirit of our age.

        • I can only hope he does represent the spirit of our age – AND, the one-eyed creature is awfully cute!

    • FredrikHedstrom

      How and why can you be certain about Jesus Christ? Because of the bible? What criterias of source critisism are you using? Or isn’t it needed when reading the Bible?

      • The main thing you need when you read the Bible is a good conscience – that is, a desire to know truth and a willingness to do right.

        • FredrikHedstrom

          So to be certain about anything I only have to have a good conscience? Does this only apply on the Bible? Not on the Veda books, the Tora, the Quran or Mein Kampf?

          Who defines what is a “good” conscience? Who has the preference of interpretation of “good”? Is it you?

          • I answered your first question because you seemed interested. Now you just seem belligerent.

          • FredrikHedstrom

            Mby so, but you must understand that when you try to give me those answers I feel forced to raise a new question. You see every answers gives birth to a new question or we can’t mentally evolve. But if calling me belligerent is your answer to my question then its my opinion you have no urge to mentally challenge yourself or your religion.

          • You may continue with your erroneous opinion. I’m happy to answer questions but I do not wish to argue. Nor do I feel the need to prove myself to you.

          • FredrikHedstrom

            Isn’t that what the comic is about? You need questions to find knowledge ( not answers ).

            So why won’t you answer my question?

            Who defines what is a “good” conscience? Who has the preference of interpretation of “good”?

            I am really interested in hearing your opinion on this subject because imo it’s one of the core issues revolving around ethics and moral issues.

          • I have already defined “good conscience” for you: the desire for truth and a willingness to do what is right. As for preference, none of us has one. Rather, each of us has a responsibility – a responsibility to use the conscience we have been given.

          • FredrikHedstrom

            You still have not answered my intitial question about Jesus and certainty I’m afraid. And if you still uphold you search for the “truth” then what thruth? Is it an objective or subjective truth? Can all people uphold the “truth” without agreeing? Otherwise what is the point?

            Another question I must ask you is what is “right” in your definition of good conscience?

            English is my second language so if you feel like I’m aggressive it’s in the language barrier not in my intention. I’m interested how you think about these topics.

          • Truth is truth whether anyone believes it or not. Truth is truth whether we agree on it or not.

            A good conscience is the best means we have of apprehending truth.

            At most, each of us apprehends a measure of truth. There is always more for each of us to learn.

            Just because someone is certain he is right, it does not follow that he is necessarily right. Skeptics – like believers – exist across a broad spectrum of certainty-uncertainty. One can be right without being certain, and certain without being right. The desired state, of course, is to be right and to be certain that one is right.

            People may not always agree about what is right, but they should always agree that right is right. Otherwise, no meaningful dialogue can take place.

            Anyone with a good conscience should be able to differentiate the moral quality of the Torah from Mein Kampf. Similarly, no reasonable person could confuse the morals of Jesus with the morals of Muhammad. One was a man of peace, the other a man of war.

            In a democracy, majority vote determines law. One hopes that democratic law is right, but it is just as possible for a democracy to enact an unjust law as it is for a dictator to do so. In other words, just because a majority of people believe something is right or true does not make it right or true.

            The Bible makes certain claims about Jesus Christ. I believe these claims to be true, but that does not make them true. Likewise, you may not believe the Bible’s claims about Christ, but that does not make them false. These claims are either true or false – regardless of what you or I think about them.

            My statements here probably don’t answer all your questions, but if your desire is simply to know how I think, you should be largely satisfied.

    • johnz96

      If you were born in a different culture you would be just as certain about something that contradicts what you are certain about now.