Asking Questions, Questioning Answers

In the seeking of knowledge,
From cradle to college,
No matter the issue or task
It’s a pretty good bet
That the answers you get
Will depend on the questions you ask

The answer, my friends
Very often depends
On what question was asked, and of whom?
In the world that we face
It’s not often the case
There’s an expert right there in the room

It’s a process. We ought
To use skeptical thought
But the thing is—unless we’re omniscient,
You are different from me
So we might disagree
On what evidence we find sufficient

One man may be liable
To look to the bible
Another may look to his heart
If they honestly question,
Then here’s my suggestion:
That’s all we can ask, for a start.

I hesitate to weigh in too much on the skepticism/atheism kerfuffle, mainly because I suspect that much of the kerfufflage is the result of overreaction on both sides. A specific complaint is seen as a general one, colorful language is used, et voila! Molehills, mountains, teapots, tempests.

So, although I could be wrong, I don’t think this is a big deal. Of course skepticism and atheism are not the same thing; that’s trivially true and easily demonstrated. It’s not a major issue. One can easily be a skeptical Christian. I was, and it led to my atheism. My sister was, and remains a Christian (in my opinion, she asked the wrong people, and was shown bad evidence, but that’s a very easy thing to have happen where she lives; she has also been able to avoid science classes in her education, and may be ill-prepared to evaluate the evidence she gathers).

The real reason for writing this post, though, is to share this video. This man was a skeptic while he was a Christian, and does a great job describing the sorts of questions he asked, the answers he got, the puzzles he puzzled… His experience was different from mine (for one thing, he left Christianity younger than I did), but it had a familiar feel to it for me, and he is (unlike me) a comfortable speaker just telling his story, without notes, to a rolling camera.

And as of this writing, it only has 190 views. It deserves more.


  1. Joan says

    This is absolutely fantastic. Clear logic, just lazering through the myths. Wish there were a text version. It’s a journey a lot of us have taken, but though I argued with my very fundamentalist Sunday school teacher at age 11. “But what about the people in Africa who have never heard of Christianity?” I got shrugged off.

    I evidently didn’t pick up on the warning signals as early as the narrator. Or else I figured a whale had his own internal oxygen system. We were not given those biblical passages condoning slavery or my thoughts would have been freed a lot sooner. I eventually got it, embarrassing late in life.

    Concerning the problem of Hell decreed by a ‘loving’ God. One of my favorite parts of “Poisonwood Bible”, by Kingsolver deals with the same conundrum explained so lovingly by johnsharhynes’s Saudi Arabian baby example. “Would he (God) really condemn some children to eternal suffering just for the accident of a heathen birth, and reward others for a privilege they did nothing to earn?” Nope. We make children suffer. We made up a God who condones suffering. Let’s unmake him.

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