Do my questions have any bearing, any weight, on the core of orthodox Christianity?
In my book, If God Disappears, I talk about my experiences traversing a massive and very steep glacier. It took 12 hours to carve out hand and foot holds to go up. It took 5 minutes of glissading to come back down. Did my boots and gloves make any difference to that glacier while I was climbing up? And, did my boots make any difference on the way down? No. Why not? That glacier very well could have been on that steep mountain side for thousands of years. It was immensely thick and mainly consisted of very hard packed snow turned to ice. What’s more, the glacier stretched for 2 miles. My presence no more impacted that glacier than an ant does while walking up and down the bark of the massive 125-year-old pine tree in my front yard.
Again, do my questions have any bearing, any weight, on the core of orthodox Christianity? No. Why not? By definition, the core of orthodox Christianity was established nearly two thousand years ago. It was intensely forged and mainly consists of a reiteration of the core Gospel truths espoused by Jesus Christ and His apostles. What’s more, every branch of Christianity down through the centuries and around the world has borne witness to those truths. My questions have no more impact on the core of Christian orthodoxy than an ant does walking on the massive pine tree in my front yard.
For this very reason, I should not be afraid to ask questions. Tough questions. Skeptical questions. Doubting questions. Even angry questions. The very kinds of questions that the biblical David asked some three thousand years ago, fully confident that God was pleased to hear his psalms. All of his psalms. Even the ones we’d rather skip reading in the middle of our Bibles.
For all these reasons and more, I also should not be afraid to hear the questions of others. Questions from fellow believers, from struggling saints, from doubters, from skeptics, from agnostics, and even from atheists. Why? Because their questions — even the ones that shock, shake and stump me — cannot damage, diminish, harm or shake the core of orthodox Christianity.