It is well known that most churches are not very open to anybody questioning what they teach, or believe. Sure, most people in church leadership will say that they welcome people who have questions, but the reality is that they are not open to actually questioning anything themselves. If you have a question, the position (or responsibility even) of the leadership is to show you how they are correct, to support their position.
This isn’t surprising of course.
If you go to the website of almost any church, you will find a section that is called their “statement of faith”, or “what we believe”, or something similar. This will usually consist of a list of statements that vary very little from one church to another. These are the items that are considered beyond questioning by the church. To “question” these basic foundations of their faith is tantamount to heresy. It’s the beginning of the slide down the slippery slope of backsliders. Nobody wants to go there…
The problem is that many people really do have some serious questions about some of these beliefs – for some very good reasons. There are far too many questions in real life that just can’t be answered by the “pat answers” of Christianity. To deny this is simply denying reality.
What happens with people who have too many questions that they can not ask? Can they actually ask these questions? Not without being told they are wrong, without attempts to put them back on the path, without being ostracized. For a time, people with questions may stay, go through the motions, do and say all the right things. Eventually, they get tired of “faking it”. Then they just leave.
This is not how it should be.
Fortunately, there are people – and pastors out there who aren’t afraid to think. I found one pastor like that when we were in Ukraine (I really do miss him now..). I think I may just have found another one of those in the past couple of months. He doesn’t think like I do – or necessarily agree with me – but he is quite willing to discuss things. This is a good thing!