Is It Wrong to Want Evidence for What One Believes?
Question: I was raised from childhood in a particular church and believed everything the priest and my parents taught me when I was young. As I grew older, however, I began to have many doubts; but when I asked the priest, he told me that I must accept what the Holy Father and the bishops declared. I want to believe, but the questions keep nagging at me. Is it wrong to want some evidence and even proof for what a church teaches?
Response: It is amazing how many people who regularly attend a church have accepted the illogical and dangerous idea that when it comes to religion one should never raise any questions, because to do so shows a “lack of faith.” On the contrary, questions must be asked, and one must not be satisfied until one is certain of the answer. Skepticism is in fact essential as the first step toward faith so long as it doesn’t harden into pride or become a cloak for prejudice. Gullibility is no help to true faith but is actually its enemy.
Faith is absolute and total trust. Clearly, no one nor anything other than God is worthy of our absolute and total trust and thus of our faith. Jesus said, “Have faith in God” (Mark:11:22). Therefore, whenever faith is associated with someone (pastor, priest, guru) or something (church, religion, institution) other than God, it is misplaced. Only God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent and therefore cannot fail us when we trust in Him. Only He is worthy of our total trust; and He holds each of us accountable to know Him personally and on that basis to put our total trust in Him alone.
Know Him personally? Yes. Both the Bible and common sense tell us that. Any priest, pastor, guru, or church that claims to act as a mediator between man and God and says “Trust me” is by that claim demanding the total trust that we are to place in God alone. Obviously, if any person is to act as the mediator between God and the rest of mankind, He must also be God, for no one else is worthy of our unquestioning confidence. Jesus Christ is God, who became man through the virgin birth. That is why the Bible says, “There is one God, and one [and only one] mediator between God and men, the man [who is also God] Christ Jesus . . . (1 Timothy:2:5).
Any religious system that demands faith in its teachings on the basis of its alleged authority rather than on the basis of hard evidence, and that is unwilling to allow its doctrines and claims to be examined freely by sincere, inquiring minds, should not be trusted. The idea that only an elite priesthood or clergy is qualified to determine truth in the area of religion, morals, or faith, and that their dogmas must be accepted unquestioningly, is a lie that has cost multitudes their freedom and peace of mind on earth and damned them for eternity. God himself has said to mankind, “Come now, and let us reason together . . . (Isaiah:1:18).