Reasons To Question
May 23, 2007
Warning: This was written as an essay for my English class (I went to a Christian school), so if you have a problem with religious themes, don't bother reading this. I didn't have to put Scriptural references in it, but it's more fun to pwn teachers with the same Bible they use to say that I shouldn't question things.
We are commonly told in many different ways that we shouldn't question things. Schools tell you that your teachers know more than you, governments say that you can't fight city hall, and people in general say to go with the flow. There are even those who think that to respect authority means to agree with authority. But is it really wise to just go through life accepting whatever we are told? There are many reasons why the opposite is true.
The first is that even if someone is smarter than you, his entire system of thought could be wrong. What has been considered common knowledge before has been proven false throughout history, and often entire disciplines of study are based on assumptions that contradict reality. In the Dark Ages, everyone "knew" that the universe revolved around the earth. In the time of Columbus, everyone "knew" that the world was flat. Even now, many otherwise intelligent people "know" that we came from monkeys. Popular opinion is often wrong, and we need to guard against being "carried about with every wind of doctrine" (Eph. 4:14).
Second, people with authority are just as capable of being wrong as everyone else, and while the Bible says to respect authority, the claim that we have to agree with those who have been put over us is noticeably absent. To say that the two are the same ignores man's sinful nature and is, for this reason, a very dangerous pattern of thought. In fact, in our system of government, questioning authority is not only our right, but our duty-our elected officials are supposed to represent the people, but they can't do that if they don't know what their constituents want; for this reason, it is our freedom and our responsibility to tell lawmakers what we think and believe about the various issues. It would seem that the people who say that questioning authority is bad either forget or simply ignore the fact that if it were true, we would all still be English.
Finally, while God and His Word are true, we are still human, so although the Bible is flawless, our understanding of It isn't. There are several verses that could even be viewed as actually calling us to question. The Bible says that we are to give a reason for the hope that is within us (I Peter 3:15), so we need to question our own faith, not to weaken it, but to be sure that we know not only what we believe, but why we believe it. Many parts of the Bible are more complex and take time and work to understand, so we often find ourselves asking questions in order to try to figure out what is being said. The only real difference is that since it's already assumed that God is right, instead of asking "Is this right?" we ask "How is this right?" Matthew 7:7 says "Ask, and it shall be given you," and James 1:5 says "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him," so we should feel free to ask God to give us a deeper understanding of Him and His Word. People say not to question God because they view it as disrespectful, but if it's truly knowledge and understanding that you seek, asking respectfully shouldn't be that difficult. The key is to simply remember the purpose behind the question; Hebrews 11:6 says that God rewards those who diligently seek Him, which is what we need to be doing when we ask Him questions.
Although many people say that we shouldn't question things, they seem to forget that we are given the ability to think rationally for a reason. Knowing more doesn't always mean knowing better, going with the flow often leads to a waterfall, it's quite easy to fight city hall when our votes are what put people there, and asking God for greater understanding is an important part of diligently seeking Him. Clearly we should be using our capacity for reason and thinking like humans instead of thinking like sheep.