I often find people asking questions, and people answering them. Then a bit further down the line, they encounter communicative problems as a consequence that sometimes lead to broken relationships.
I believe that often the causes of these problems are the underlying implications and assumptions every question brings with it. In this blogpost, we will look at some questions that refer to Christianity and will try and analyse some underlying assumptions to such a question. The idea is not giving you answered engraved in stone. The idea of this post is getting you into a habit of discovering the underlying assumptions and implications that lead to people’s questions. After that we will look at what to do with our discoveries.
Here some typical questions posed to Christians:
- Why is your faith the right one?
- There is more than one right faith system
- That again implies, there is more than one God
- It makes for an abundance of assumptions about other faiths
- Faith is something that should profit me.
- I can ‘shop’ for a faith system.
- There is truth in many places to be found.
- Are the different religions not all part of the same spiritual thing?
- The idea behind this is the idea of, a metaphor often used of, an elephant.
- Each religion is touching another part of the elephant and being blind folded describing it to be what they perceive
- These descriptions are very diverse, yet all describe the elephant.
- The fault in this assumption is that it is deeply arrogant because it assumes that the person posing the question is the only one that is NOT blindfolded and that can in fact see truth.
- Are Christians and Muslims not worshiping the same god?
- Their definitions of God are equal (which they are not)
- Muslims and Christians would agree that the other religion adheres to the same god as they do (which they don’t)
- ‘god’ is just a concept of an overarching maker you pray to. (the definition of ‘God’ implies something quite different though)
- Why should I choose your church?
- There are many different Christian churches and they compete with one another.
- What they have to offer has to enrich my life and make it better.
- Finding a church is like finding a fitness studio – you choose the one that best fits your desires and expectations.
- For Christians, it’s all about church.
- The church belongs to people, not God.
- Does Christianity allow for divorce?
- Marriage is nothing more than a contract
- Divorce is an option I should keep open like a back-door
- Can my possible choices of the future (which might imply sinful behaviour) be catered for?
- How ‘far’ can I go and still be in the will of God?
- God needs to cater for my own needs
- My will be done
- The will of God is unclear
- God is not truly Lord, but just a supervisor of my behaviour.
- How do you know the Bible is true?
- There is more than one truth to be found.
- The Bible has been disproved (numerous times).
- The integrity of the Bible cannot be established.
- If it falters at any given point, I can continue in sin.
Now these are just a number of typical questions. The assumptions are neither exhaustive nor elaborated further.
If you are a Christian reading this, you will possibly/probably know that whereas you have heard the question before and were assuming you need to answer it, all the underlying assumptions were wrong (with regards to Christianity). (If you have a question regarding any of the assumptions and are unsure if that assumption is untrue, please contact me via email and I will gladly discuss the matter with you.)
So what now? What should you do with all of this?
First of all, start looking for the assumptions in questions, when you engage in communications with people. In the beginning it will take some time and might not be possible during the actual conversation, but only later. However the more you do this, the easier it gets.
Remember that looking for the assumptions is not looking for fault or doubting the question. It is in fact UNDERSTANDING the question for what it is.
Only once you UNDERSTAND the question, you can rightfully ANSWER it!
If you are not a Christian, this post might have been insightful with regards to your own questions. Please feel free to contact me should you have questions about Christianity or truth. I hope you could none the less make the transferral to your own situation and communication situations.
Be abundantly blessed!