Questions. Answers?

Q and AIn the two men’s meetings I attend, we talk a lot about serious matters, not just practical things like relationships and dealing with stress but more esoteric subjects like what it means to be spiritual and the nature of God.  Like any group of guys, we are sometimes rowdy, sarcastic, vulgar and funny but we still manage to get to the important stuff.   We also work one-on-one, talking about the same sort of issues.  Recently, I was going through a workbook with the over-the-top title, Reaching for Personal Freedom with a friend.  Each chapter includes questions which we answer separately, then we compare notes when we get together.   Last week, I noticed something I found interesting.   My answers, unlike my friends, were filled with questions.   I don’t know why it took me 74 years to notice this but it is the way I live my life … my answers always include questions.

To say I am comfortable having questions about life’s bigger questions would be an overstatement.   I sometimes envy those who have (or appear to have) a crystal clear concept of God or a firm belief concerning life after death.   But I also accept that I am not built that way in spite of the fact that as a lifelongwhy engineer, my job has been finding answers.  As an often philosophical old fart, I am surprised I’d never considered the implications of this.  It explains one of my weekly frustrations that our meetings divide nicely into those who find a God of their understanding and those who believe but don’t understand (Older Eyes firmly planted with the latter).   It explains why even in my engineering projects I was able to push farther for a solution.   It is the reason I’ve always described myself as a searcher.

I posed the question, Are questions more important than answers? to the online answer-machine, Google.  It probably won’t surprise you that there are a range of answers:

Some believe that to question the Bible, God’s direction, or even God Himself is tantamount to blasphemy or, on a smaller scale, a sign of disbelief.  I think it all goes back to motive. Why are we questioning God on some particular issue or doctrine or direction? If it is simply because we are trying to stall our obedience to the Lord, then we had best quit; if it is coming from a prideful heart that says, ‘I know better than God,’ then we are wrong to question; if we question God’s authority, then that too is incorrect behavior on our part CBN

Overall, we’re continually faced with questions that challenge our belief systems. This isn’t a bad thing, and much of Jesus’s ministry revolved around asking questions. In the end, thoughtfully examining our faith promotes a spirituality that is healthy, honest, genuine, and matureSojourners

There is a constant need for us to question our own beliefs, and the beliefs of those around us. It creates a healthy atmosphere of skepticism and intelligence, and prevents people from coming to unreasonable conclusions. The way our brains work means that we frequently misinterpret events and data, and in particular, we always think there is more rationality and evidence for our beliefs than there is The Human Truth Foundation

Questioning is the art of learning. Learning to ask important questions is the best evidence of understanding there is, far surpassing the temporary endorphins of a correct “answer.”Teachthought

Like anyone who has kids know, that asking questions is an important part of growing up. But there is also the flip side to asking questions, as every kid who asks questions knows, that if you ask enough questions, you will come to a dead end. Some questions just don’t have an answerQuora

The post I related most to was on Bright Way Zen, titled Questions Are More Important Than Answers.  Not surprisingly it was filled with questions.   Do you realize how many questions there are you don’t really know the answer to? What keeps us from opening our hearts to one another every time we meet? What is the nature of our experience of time? What is it inside us that always knows what is generous and kind? How do we fully face and appreciate the fact that we will die? Is there a time to fight? What is it that allows us to keep participating in destructive and unjust systems? Wholeheartedly engaging any one of these questions could open up a lifetime of discovery and growth.  Don’t be satisfied with half-assed answers. And ultimately all answers are half-assed.

How comfortable are you with questions?

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