Why Ask Why?


“A man may be a heretic in the truth; and if he believes things only because his pastor says so, or the assembly so determines, without knowing other reason, though his belief be true, yet the very truth he holds becomes his heresy.”        John Milton

It’s been said that a journey begins with only one step but for some journeys a great leap is instead required.  Such is the passage of faith my life has taken.

Like many, I’ve kept my questions to myself and I’ve certainly had plenty of them.  It was an easier existence that required little in thought but plenty in obedience.  Obedience only required me to recite the offerings provided by others without the least bit of effort to really understand and appreciate the value of learning.

Issues of faith became quite simple, do as we’re told and everything will work out fine in the end.  No need to question anything as those who have the insight have already resolved these dilemmas.  If something is troubling, the problem is me I was informed, not the issue at hand, I had to get in line.  Life is a series of systematic steps we take that propels us forward into the unknown with clarity of purpose and direction. “Ours is not to reason why, ours is to but live and die” was the clarion call that inspired us to walk in lock-step with so many like minded drones ignoring their conscience and the pull to something different.

I lived an extremely fragmented life in my earlier years, a cyclical existence of blind loyalty to any authority figure followed by extreme rebellion to any and all leadership whatsoever.  As a naïve compassioned soul desiring wholeness and comfort I found myself sitting alone frustrated by my thoughts too often.  Why wouldn’t my mind work like so many others around me?  Why can’t I just be content fitting into a system of order that provides safety and companionship to it faithful followers?  Why must my thinker ask questions where questions aren’t asked but answers so easily accepted?  All I wanted to do was fit in.

Stepping away from the sterile world of orderly flow and easy belief wasn’t easy, it was actually painful.  As a person so enmeshed in this lifestyle it’s akin to willingly stepping off a cliff.  Maybe a better description would be a self-shunning where my departure meant a great division would grow between where I once stood and where I now find myself.  Once we see behind the curtain we can never look at Oz the same.  At the point we allow ourselves to question just one part of our faith practice then the freedom to question all of it soon follows.  The damn crumbles fast when the cracking wall starts to show the first sign of weakness.

The freedom found from opening a life to truth springboards calm into a dimension beyond understanding and any possible verbal description, instead something meant to be experienced firsthand.  Calm is good.  This is what must be meant when we were told about the truth setting us free. The sad part is I wasn’t aware than the chains that made captives out of our hearts were self-imposed, we put them on ourselves.    I let others convince me the burden that I called life necessitated quenching my soul from exploring the limitless boundaries and wonder found in each and every day.  How very sad.  How very painful.  How much of life passed by me.

I’m convinced the reason so many refuse to question the life model they follow is purely because they fear the answer.  What if everything I’ve been told isn’t the truth?  What if I have to think for myself?  What if I have to make my own decisions?  What if I don’t have someone doing all my thinking for me?

In school getting the most answers correct certainly improved ones grade.  Oftentimes it didn’t matter why something was right, just that it was, and knowing the answer was all that mattered.  Life isn’t graded by the total number of correct answers we posses, far from it.  From my vantage point, the less answers we claim to know for certain possibly provides us the greatest freedom to live our lives.  Gaining permission with our heart to ask questions of God, life, people, natural disasters, etc…actually draws us closer to the holy.

We have not because we ask not.


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