I used David Dark’s new book, The Sacredness of Questioning Everything, in a Religion and Culture class this fall. It was met with mixed reviews by the students. (Seems they practiced a not-so-sacred questioning of my choice of this book). But I continue to find Dark’s insights helpful in negotiating the intersections of Christianity and popular culture. Of course we should also question our questioning but that’s a given (and another topic for another day). The passage below comes from the chapter entitled “Questioning Interpretations.”
I want to announce the good news that God, the God in whom I believe, never calls anyone to playact or pretend or silence their concerns about what’s true. I want to break through mind-forged manacles that render us incapable of seeing truthfully for fear we might let in the wrong information. God is not made angry or insecure by an archaeological dig, a scientific discovery, an ancient manuscript, or a good film about homosexual cowboys. Nor would I imagine God to be made angry or insecure by people with honest doubts concerning his existence. God is not counting on us to keep ourselves stupid, closed off to the complexity of the world we’re in . . .
. . . [T]he pretense of certainty comes at a cost. If we think our certainty is what drives success and, in the end, the very (so-called) faith that saves us, our honest confusion will become a source of shame and a sign of weakness. Yet we keep our doubts hidden. This is precisely where the biblical witness urges what I’m tempted to call a mandatory agnosticism. This is where we’re summoned to know that we don’t know. This is where we’re called to confess.
While we’re often rewarded in life for playing at absolute confidence, the pretense and the mind games are corrosive to the possibility of community, friendship, and redeeming love. Imagine letting go of the psychic burden of certainty. Imagine backing down from our imagined infallibility and assuming the mantle of a mere human. Imagine the poetic/prophetic way of relating that would be possible. We might become capable of questioning ourselves out loud. We might let a little air in. In the most life-giving sense, we might get a little religion.
The Sacredness of Questioning Everything, pp. 143, 149