Sunday, 11 August 2013

Challenging our own Beliefs

Yesterday I received a facebook update from the CS Lewis foundation. What surprised me was the number of people who were quite happy to say he was wrong. I made the comment that if you disagreed with CS Lewis, it was probably worth seriously checking that you were right!

Predictably this was interpreted by some as my suggesting that he was always right, which was not the point of what I said at all.

Very often we have an inflated sense of our own perfection when it comes to our beliefs and theology. We  have a tendency to assume that we have a perfect understanding of everything we believe, and therefore a tendency to assume that anyone who holds a different belief to us is wrong.

Because of this, I think one of the most important things we can do is to challenge our own theology. When was the last time you really explored why you believed something to see whether you are right or not? When was the last time you seriously challenged one of your own theological positions to see if it is justified? We are very good at challenging everyone else, but what about ourselves?

Many people accept a version of Christianity put to them by church leaders and others, often without exploring alternative positions in depth. There is also the risk that our beliefs may drift off 'soundness' without our realising it as months or years go by, and we need to be challenging ourselves to make sure we avoid this.

We also as the 21st Century Church are prone to one of the great lies of our society, namely that new things are better than old things. This means we have a tendency to accept any new movement or interpretation as being right for no better reason than that it is new. In reality of course, God never changes, and what was true 50, 100 or 1000 years ago is still true today, and we forget that to our peril.

So next time you find yourself disagreeing with one of the great Christian theologians of the past, perhaps you should consider the possibility that it might be you that is wrong, and take some time to really challenge yourself in the light of their teaching.