Thursday, January 26, 2023

As a Pastor, I Invite Questioning


                                                                        (Monroe, MI)

(Adapted from my book Deconstructing Progressive Christianity.)

One complaint progressive Christians have is that they were never allowed to question beliefs about God, and other biblical matters. One thing we see when progressives chat on social media is bitterness about their former churches, and how oppressive the pastors and leaders were. Sadly, some of that is true. 

For me, as a philosopher [PhD, Northwestern U., 1986], I invite questioning. Imagine 50+ years of meeting with people who  want to ask questions about Christian beliefs, such as the existence and nature of God. I never turn them down. 

Philosophy is the discipline that demands questioning. Of everything. Of the meta-issues (do I exist; metaethical matters; epistemological obstacles; how do words refer; etc.) 

We philosophers are trained to evaluate, and not to affirm, until the evaluation is sufficient. So, I question many things, including progressive Christianity. I am skeptical about the metanarrative progressive Christianity offers me. I read Richard Rohr and John Shelby Spong and Brian McLaren and Rachel Held Evans and Marcus Borg and you-name-them, and I question them. I question the postmodern claim that we cannot know objective truths, which would mean, we can’t know about God. (And which devalues science.) 

Progressive Christians who love questioning should rejoice that I am doing this! (p. 77)