Observations of an Anecdotal Kind

The thing I wanted to talk about was something that I’ve noticed in listening to the GameChurch podcast. In it, the hosts interview various people in the games industry about two things. The second, as that is less relevant, is whatever sorts of ethical, moral, or philosophical things the interviewee thinks about when making games. The first thing they talk about, however, is where the interviewee comes from in terms of religious and spiritual background, and where they are now.

A majority of the people they interview are non-Christian, which makes it even cooler. It would be understandable for a Christian to talk to a Christian about Christianity, but it’s not often that a non-Christian talks frankly about their religious background to a Christian. Of course, that’s not because it’s particularly uncomfortable for either side, but rather that we make it uncomfortable by thinking that we have to persuade the other of the right way of thinking. We don’t. It’s good to know where people stand, what they think, and where they come from. What makes them who they are today.

Interestingly, from the two-dozen or so episodes that I’ve listened to, I can predict where 75% of non-Christians came from. It’s obviously all anecdotal, but disregarding that, my findings are that many non-Christians were raised in a Christian home, wanted to ask questions, and were told to just believe, or what have you. Every time a non-Christian interviewee says they were raised in a Christian home, the deciding factor in every episode I’ve listened to has been whether or not they were allowed to search for their own answers.

For whatever reason, they were not allowed to. Either the Sunday School teacher didn’t know the answer and so told them not to ask such questions, or maybe they didn’t think the child should be asking such deep, theological questions. In any case, if the interviewee is denied answers, that is cited as the reason they no longer follow God. Of course, that’s not to say that the interviewees that are Christian were given all the knowledge they wanted, but the ones that did leave point at the lack of allowed curiosity as the reason they left.

Why, in a religion based largely in faith, would that not be the right answer for a Sunday School teacher to give to a ten-year-old kid? Quite simply put, if God can’t handle someone questioning him without someone there to shut down the questioner, then God’s not that great and powerful, now is he? But he is powerful, and he doesn’t need us to protect him from, of all things, questions.

So what should we answer when someone asks a question about God that we don’t know the answer to? “I don’t know,” is a start. It’s actually a really good start. It doesn’t shut the question down; it tells them to go further with it, to find someone who does know. So why not help them along? Tell them you’ll look into it, or better yet, “We should look into that.” Not only will that prevent you from dodging the responsibility of actually looking into that, but it will be much more personal and will allow you to develop a relationship with the person, kind of like a certain Father who art in heaven…

The latest podcast I listened to was interviewing someone who was still a Christian, and he actually cited his family’s encouragement to seek knowledge and be curious as the reason he is as strong a Christian as he is. It goes both ways. Encourage your children, your friends, your family, everyone, to be curious. Encourage them to search for knowledge, and be right there along with them. God can handle the questions, and he can use them for awesome things.

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