The bumper sticker on the dirty Chevy S-10 in front of me says simply, “Jesus is the answer.” Its simplicity belies the enormity of its message: Jesus is the answer, so stop asking questions.
“Jesus is the answer,” and its equivalent thinking in other religions, is what’s wrong with religion in the early 21st century: it presumes to answer what cannot be answered; it presumes to know what cannot be known; it shuts down the human capacity to imagine and create and think outside the box whose very self-proclaimed importance depends on never opening it, let along thinking outside of it.
Religion up until now has been about answers. Wars were fought over competing answers. And once an answer got control of a society, that society’s ability to think and evolve died.
If religion has a future—and that may be a big “If”—it will have to reclaim the power to question. If clergy have a future, it will have to shift from being the caste with the answers to the caste that helps you sharpen your questions. If churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples have a future they will have to reinvent themselves from communities with answers to communities of shared questioning.
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