Last Tuesday, a group of people sat in a circle and we began an open discussion about our questions about our faith. I have called this group “Doubters Anonymous” and have invited anyone who wants to explore any aspect of their faith to come together during Lent and do so in an open, welcoming atmosphere where we have placed a moratorium on heresy hunting.
These are the questions that came up in our time together:
- Questions about prayer: how to recognize answers—or no answers.
- How to recognize and develop a personal relationship with god.
- How to talk with God?
- What forces of evil are against us? How much power do they have?
- Do we either have to believe in the Bible wholly or don’t believe any of it? And what does it meant to “believe in the Bible?”
- How did the biblical record go from a God who likes to kill everybody to a God who seems totally different and loving in the New Testament?
- Does God “talk” to some people?
- If he “hear” God, or see something that looks like an answer to prayer, how do we know this is from God?
- Should prayers be said out loud to be heard?
- How do you interpret the Bible?
- Why are there so many translations of the Bible?
- What about other writings? The Apocrypha and the Gnostic writings and the other writings discovered when the Dead Sea Scrolls surfaced. Why are some considered “inspired” and others not?
- What does God expect of us?
- What about other religions that consider themselves Christian, but are radically, different, such as Mormons and their reverence for Joseph Smith?
- There are lots of sincere people in the world, but who do not believe in Jesus. Will they have eternal life?
- What does it mean to need to renew our salvation? Aren’t we just once saved/always saved?
- What is the actual nature of salvation?
- What does it mean to be truly saved?
Pretty interesting, isn’t it? Do you have any of the same questions? Different ones? What particular stances in Christianity trouble you? Let’s talk–and see if we can’t find some clarity in the midst of all this.