Post Author: Bill Pratt
One of our goals with this blog, from the beginning, was to try to answer honest questions that people have about the Christian faith. Why do I stress the word honest? Because one of the first things you learn when you write a blog about ultimate issues (i.e., God, morality , meaning of life) is that many of the questions you get asked are not from people who are honestly seeking an answer. Instead, these folks think they already know the answer and their goal is to merely make the post author look bad.
This makes running a blog like Tough Questions Answered challenging, because there are people who do have honest questions, and you don’t want to ignore them or let them get drowned out by the first group I mentioned.
I ran across a blog post recently, written by Barnabas Piper, that sheds some light on the difference between the honest questioner and the person who has already made up his mind. Here is an extended quote from the post:
There’s a fine line . . . between being someone who questions things and being a skeptic. In fact, many people would call someone who questions everything a skeptic. Here’s the thing; I don’t think many skeptics actually question anything. They may phrase their challenges as questions, but their heart is set on rejection and disproving. To truly question something is to pose questions to it and about it for the sake of understanding. This may lead to disproving or rejecting, but the heart behind it is in learning. . . . If the heart of the questioning is to learn, then ask away.
I think he put his finger on it. If the questioner is set on learning, then these are the people I want to spend the most time with. I do not mind spending some time, also, with those who are dogmatically opposed to me, but I have to realize in those situations that the dialogue is an illusion – they are not trying to understand a thing I’m writing.
One commenter, Daron, said the following in reaction to Piper’s post:
It is very easy to spot the type of “Skeptic” being discussed. They gainsay everything they read on a Christian blog – usually the most picayune detail or lowest-hanging fruit – because no matter what they find to question, it justifies their predetermined rejection of belief.
I can relate to this comment. Often I will write a blog post about topic X, but instead of responding to topic X, commenters will pick up on some detail in the blog post that has little to do with the central point and blast me for it. Why? I can honestly say I have never, to my recollection, gone to someone’s blog or website and made comments with the sole purpose of making them look bad. It just seems like such a waste of time.
Let me end this post with a plea I’ve made before. When you read our blog posts, or someone’s comments about a post, please try to understand what they are saying, and above all, be charitable! Assume the author is well intended. Give each other the benefit of the doubt, and all of our conversations will be so much more fruitful. By the way, I am preaching to myself as much as anyone else; we all need to work on being more charitable toward each other.