Thursday, June 14, 2007

Defending the brain

Here's a nice thought from Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite in Newsweek:
Questions are a life-long conversation with God.

In the Protestant liberal tradition, faith is understood as a journey. Questions are indispensable to the journey of faith because they help you illumine the path. A distinguishing characteristic of liberal Protestantism is its strong affirmation of the human reach toward the world, toward one another and toward God through the use of reason in the search for understanding.

It is my belief, as a liberal Protestant, that only when people are truly free to question religious authorities, received traditions, sacred texts and even God that they can truly find faith. A coerced faith is an oxymoron. No one can force you to faith—it is found freely and embraced without duress or it is not found at all. I suspect that many who post so angrily to these On Faith columns were force-fed a rigid, doctrine driven faith and their God-given desire to question was harshly stifled. They are angry and resentful of that kind of faith and frankly I don’t blame them.
Where it gets fascinating to me is where the journey leads for different people.