Questioning our Faith

By Engr. Carlos Cornejo

First of all, is it important to ask questions?  Yes, because we are humans.  It’s human to ask questions.  God doesn’t have to ask questions because He knows everything.  Angels don’t ask questions because they get their knowledge from God by mental telepathy thus, they also know everything.  And of course, animals don’t ask questions.

We are the only creatures in this world that wonder.  Perhaps animals have feelings or as they say crocodile tears but only human beings wonder.  Wonder is the origin of all philosophy, according to the three greatest philosophers, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.  When animals suffer, they just suffer.  Their song is, “Ours not to reason why, ours but to do and die.”  Computers do not wonder because they have no feelings physical or spiritual and thus not come up with questions.  We program them but they don’t question their program.  We too have been programmed by our heredity and environment, but we can question our programming.  We doubt.  Doubt is glorious.  Only one who can doubt can believe just as only one who can despair can hope, and only one who can hate can love.  Just as only one who is tempted can sin and only those who overcome sin can be rewarded.  This is all part of man’s freedom.

Another reason why asking questions is important is that they are the best way to learn.  Questioning means that our mind is hungry.  If our body is not hungry, we won’t eat and if we won’t eat, we will not grow.  If our mind is not hungry—if we don’t have wonder and the desire to know—then we won’t ask questions, and if we don’t ask questions, we won’t find the truth.  And if we don’t find the truth that means our mind and spirit won’t grow.  The more passionately we care about asking questions, the more truth we will find.

Lastly, God wants us to ask questions.  He designed us that way.  Jesus never discouraged questions.  His disciples sometimes would ask silly questions but He would patiently answer them.  In fact, the best question to ask starts with the word ‘why’.  Why?  Because the answers usually are much deeper compared with those questions that start with ‘what’, ‘who’ and ‘how’.

Now the question is, “Should we question our faith?”  The answer again is yes.  St. Paul even encouraged it.  “Test everything, hold fast to what is good.” (1 Thess. 5:21) How can we know what is good unless we test it, unless we question it?  The more deeply, and honestly, we question, the more we will appreciate the answers we find.  The reason why it’s not easy to know God and his teachings it’s because He wants us to seek them. As Jesus said, “Seek, and you will find.” (Mt. 7:7) When answers are provided to us without our asking them, we would not treasure those answers because we did not look for them ourselves.  But if we seek the truth ourselves, because we are curious or we are in doubt or we are hungry for the truth, then we will surely value the answers like no other.

It’s good to ask for example, “Do Catholics worship saints or do we just pray to them by asking their intercession?”  We don’t worship saints.  We only worship God.  We pray to saints by asking them to pray for us because they are closer to God in heaven, therefore, they could help get our prayers answered.  “Is the sacrament of confession found in Holy Scripture?”  Yes.  St. James said, “Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16) These are the common questions Catholics get to be asked especially by our Protestant brothers.  We should have ready answers so as not to get swayed and begin to doubt our faith.

Doubting our faith is good if we seek to find answers to them.  But to doubt our faith without sincerely trying to look for the answers means we just like to question things.   Preferring questions to answers, is like preferring hunger to food.  As G.K. Chesterton said, “An open mind is like an open mouth: it’s open so that it can chomp down on something solid.”  So, it’s good to come up with good questions because good questions generate good answers.