Category Archives: Discovery

Questions Jesus Asked in His Ministry

Sometimes people get the false impression that faith means learning the right answers. However, Jesus understood the importance of asking the right questions. Here are a few examples.

Questions of Priorities

The priorities I would write on paper and the priorities my choices write on the hours of my life sometimes begin to differ in the rush of living. A good question slices through the growing hypocrisy. Jesus understood the gap between intentions and actions, asking questions such as:

And why do you worry about clothes? (Matthew 6:28)

So, could you not watch with me one hour? (Matthew 26:40)

Why are you sleeping? (Luke 22:46)

Questions about Emotions

Jesus understood that faith is much more than intellectual assent. He knew that a good question presses beyond mere information to address the emotions driving our choices.

Why are you so afraid? (Mark 4:40)

Why are you crying? (John 20:15)

Does this offend you? (John 6:61)

Questions about Purpose

Jesus knew we are made for more than mere survival. Life is more than eating, sleeping, and working. Everyone has a greater purpose beyond just getting through the day. He asked people questions to help them get their focus beyond their immediate concerns to the larger spiritual truths.

But what about you? Who do you say that I am? (Matthew 16:15)

What do you want me to do for you? (Matthew 20:32)

Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? (Luke 5:22)

Honest answers to good questions grow our faith more than memorizing the right answers ever will.

 

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Faith Leaves Room for Questions (A Guest Post)

Have you ever had a serious faith-related question, but were afraid to ask it? Many Christians have their curiosity kick in, while at other times, the way something was explained raises more questions. Do you dare ask it? Do you raise a question that deals with a matter of…faith?

 

I had the privilege of growing up in a family where I could always ask questions, even questions that were related to faith. Admittedly, some of the questions asked made heads turn (no wonder I’m now a Ph.D. student in Theology); other questions led to answers of “I don’t know.” In either situation, this provided the opportunity to read, study, and journey together in a process of discovery. Questions concerning the age of the Earth, the eternal state of those who never hear the Gospel, and from where the spouses of Adam and Eve’s children came all serve as samples of the many questions on the minds of people of faith—questions that many are afraid to ask.

 

Admittedly, some will argue that such questions are a source of weak faith or a lack of genuine faith. I strongly disagree. If anything, these questions stem from a heart seeking to learn more about the God they serve and the world in which they live. Just as I remember being told, “I don’t know.” I also remember, “…but we can study together and see if we can find some answers.” That attitude has aided me in understanding the importance of asking questions. So from where does the fear of some come? Some fear that the Bible (the written standard of their faith) might be proven wrong or that their entire faith is wrong because they come to understand that one thing they believed was incorrect. I can say that my thoughts have changed on some issues, and I find this experience has actually strengthened my faith.

 

I encourage you to ask your questions and grow in your faith. God is big enough for your questions. He isn’t afraid of them; you shouldn’t be either. If you choose to ask some of the “hard” questions of faith and explore them with others, there is no guarantee or requirement that you all come to the exact same conclusion. That is okay. The beauty of faith is that we can have unity on the essentials, liberty on the non-essentials, and love in all things. Remember to remain humble on this journey and be open to the thoughts of others.

As a final note, be warned that there are some things for which you will not obtain a solid answer. Use these opportunities to embrace the mystery of the God of the universe. I mean, if you could really figure out everything concerning God—an omnipotent, eternal being—he wouldn’t really be God, now would he?

Dan Morrison is enrolled in the Doctor of Philosophy program at McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, ON. When Dan is not reading or doing research, you can usually find him working out at the gym.

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  • The beauty of faith is that we can have unity on the essentials, liberty on the non-essentials, and...  Buffer
  • If you could really figure out everything concerning God—an omnipotent, eternal being—he...  Buffer

Which Butterfly Caused the Tornado?

The public expects science to deliver discoveries that provide increasingly precise answers about our world. Yet some scientific discoveries suggest inherent limits to scientific knowledge. One example is chaos theory, popularized as the “butterfly effect.”

The butterfly effect is a simple insight first extracted from the complex science of meteorology by Edward Lorentz in 1961 at MIT. He found that small changes in initial conditions, such as rounding a number used to represent an atmospheric condition from .506127 to .506, could completely transform a long-term weather forecast. He explained this insight in his 1972 paper, “Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?”

 His paper described both a practical limit for weather predictions and a philosophical limit for the explanatory powers of science. In complex, nonlinear systems, a small change in input can produce a large change in output. Thus, weather predictions more than a week in advance always will be fairly inaccurate. The philosophical limit is that the effects of chaos prevent us from knowing which butterfly caused the tornado.

So the lesson of the butterfly effect is that our world will remain fundamentally unpredictable because tiny differences in our scientific measurements make too big a difference in the final answer. Everything happens for a reason, but science may be unable to give us an exact cause for an event. Accepting limitations to the explanatory power of science does not diminish the importance of science. After all, the discovery of our human limitations in fully comprehending our world is a finding with profound significance.

Questions to ponder: What does the inherent limitations of science say about the limits of human understanding? Does science preclude spirituality?

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The Power of a Good Question

I believe in the power of a good question. Questions promote discovery. Every scientific experiment starts with a question that leads to a hypothesis.

Why is the sky blue?

What causes uncontrolled growth in tumor cells?

How do plants convert sunlight into energy?

In life, questions can clarify your goals and sharpen your sense of purpose.

What do I do well?

How can I live life to the fullest?

Who matters the most to me?

Questions also reveal truth and cut through unnecessary complexity.

Do you love me?

Why wasn’t I invited?

What happened to all the cookies?

This new blog, Question Your Doubts, is all about asking questions. Questions to promote discovery. Questions to clarify your life goals. Questions to ignite a sense of purpose. Questions to reveal truth. Questions to strength your faith, your confidence, and your relationships. Thanks for visiting!