Why Jesus Taught With Questions Instead of Answers


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Reposted from Huffington Post

Jesus talked a lot in parables, in little short stories. He also seemed to be more interested in questions then answers. When people asked Jesus a question, often he gave them a question back. In fact, he hardly ever gave a direct answer to anything.

Jesus liked to share his thoughts through parables that required his audience to go away and figure out the answer for themselves. I think that is a really significant thing to understand regarding how we learn from God. It’s not about waiting for answers, but, rather, we learn by daring to follow the questions God stirs in our hearts.

From the earliest times of the human experience, religion was steadfast in presenting God to mankind in the form of as an exclamation point; when Christ entered the world, he bent the presentation of God into a question mark. Jesus loved questions. We should, too.

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Jesus didn’t try to enforce upon us a doctrinal statement. He didn’t come to indoctrinate us. He came to liberate us. He came to encourage us to ask what we think about God. He presented parables to get us to stop and think, to question our own perception of God, to draw us into questioning what our own beliefs about God’s nature and plans are.

Jesus showed us that not only is it okay to question who God is — what his nature is, how he operates, and how he thinks of us — it is actually the only way to truly step out of the prison of belief-by-indoctrination that religion binds us to.

The further away you travel from religion and the know-it-all mindset you inherit with it, the more freedom you find in asking questions about your faith. You no longer feel obligated to pledge undivided allegiance to your doctrines. You become pleased to put them on trial, to examine then, and to discard them if they are found to be without substance.

You begin to enjoy the engagement of such questions with others; whether they agree or disagree is no longer the point. The point is to have an honest, respectful and open conversation. You get used to being uncomfortable with new questions. More than that, you begin to expect them to arise and for your next rabbit-hole experience to begin where you follow questions wherever they take you, and discover truth in strange and wonderful ways.

The starting point of organized religion is answers. When you enter into it you are stuffed full, and over time you get into the habit of stuffing newcomers with the same answers. But walking away from religion, while maintaining your faith, sends you on a very different path. You step into a wildly different pattern. It is no longer a starting point of answers, but continual journey of questions. Each question draws you into a greater understanding of God. Also, at the same time, each questions leads you into a deeper acceptance of the mystery of God, and a greater peace within all that you don’t know.

Questions and faith are not opposed to one another, but rather can be thought of as a perfect pair. We could even say that faith is more accurately measured by the courage within our questions, than the certainty of our answers.

You see, answers fit snugly within its given group, any group. Groups love definitive answers, for it reinforces the certainty that their group is right, and the rest are wrong. Questions, on the other hand, cause instability in all groups. Questions stimulate thought, and honest thought leads not into more certainty, but rather to more acceptance regarding how uncertain everything really is.

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Some people are afraid of uncertainty, as if it is opposed to faith, when actually it is the very picture of faith.

While answers desperately want to be considered a fact, questions are more than happy to walk by faith. Questions are not looking for a pat on the back from the group. Questions are looking for the truth. Perhaps that is why whenever someone came to Jesus demanding an answer, he gave them a question back instead.

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