Insecurity is sometimes seen as strength when it comes to questioning people about religion. When some are confronted with a different point of view about the Almighty, they refuse to listen. They walk away, satisfied that they dodged the devil.
I can’t imagine that is what religious founders like Mohammed or Christ would want. I would like to think that their foundation was strong enough to withstand questioning from a skeptical non-believer. How solid can a belief system be if the ideology is so weak that followers refuse to listen to criticism?
If you don’t question yourself or your beliefs, how do you ever know that you’re right – or wrong? Worst yet, when you live in your own intellectual universe, do you eventually stop caring whether you’re right at all?
Anyone who has faith in anything ought to feel strongly enough to test the tenements now and again. To me, religious people should almost want to walk around challenging people to quiz them on the ideals they hold dear. This gives them a chance to fortify their beliefs and showcase the spiritual monument to the unconverted. Would you expect a vacuum salesman to sell a vacuum without running it on the carpet first? Wouldn’t you offer a free sample of pie if you’re trying to get customers to buy it? Wouldn’t you test-drive a car before you sign on the dotted line?
Customers ask for demonstrations of goods and products. Voters vote for or against incumbent politicians based on their job performance. Investors check stock prices every day to see how they performed on Wall Street. Why don’t some of the devout provide substance when religion? Why do religious people turn away from deniers who aren’t buying it?
Of course, there are many believers who are secure and who are willing to defend their values and who have questioned their own souls. The thing is, they don’t walk around looking for a fight.
And I’m not saying believers should issue talking-points or a bullet list of a religion’s aspects. They need to be able to handle debate, dialogue and follow-up questions. I’m also not saying that the religious should go out and confront their intellectual opponents. They should be ready when they’re asked to defend their beliefs.
But if the religious are not willing to question what they preach, then they shouldn’t question those who doubt.