"Easy Answers" - 1 Cor. 1:18-25
What do self-proclaimed Atheists and Fundamental Christians have in common? Easy answers. Yes, I just lumped Atheist and Fundamental Christians into the same camp. Offended or intrigued?
Scene 1: Remember In the most recent episode of The Walking Dead, entitled “Remember”, the group is finding it difficult to transition into the new lifestyle of a “utopian society”. Is it because they have always had to look over their shoulder for walkers or a would-be attacker? Have they been on the road too long? Maybe it’s because every time they thought they had it all figured out (the farm, the jail, Terminus, etc.), it never seemed to work out for them. Regardless, they are finding it difficult to rest in this “easy answer.”
Scene 2: Science or Theology? I grew up in the church. My grandfather was a Methodist pastor, and my mother is a church organist/pianist. As you might imagine, God and church have always been a huge part of my life. Science is also a big part of my life. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a Scientist who invented things in the laboratory. Therefore, my academic career led me toward a MS in Biology.
In several conversations with fellow Biology classmates, they couldn’t fathom how I could both believe in God and pursue a Biology degree, as though there was an insurmountable conflict of interest. Also, according to them, Christians were simple-minded people who think the answer to everything is “Jesus” (insert loud churchy voice here). Similarly, I had conversations with some self-proclaimed Fundamental Christian “church folk” that were suspicious of Science, its need for proof, and its unyielding approach to creation and evolution. So, it’s either science or theology, and “never shall the twain meet,” right?
Scene 3: Easy Answers When reading 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, I couldn’t help but think about how sure some people are that they are right and have “the answer,” and others are obviously wrong. In The Message translation, verse 18 reads, “The Message that points to Christ on the Cross seems like sheer silliness to those hell-bent on destruction, but for those on the way of salvation it makes perfect sense.” Christians: although you might have the right answer, first think about how you arrived at this answer. Was there any doubt or struggle along the way?
Conversely, those in the science realm that think themselves “intellectual,” wise, and possibly superior, I call your attention to 1 Cor. 1:19: “I’ll turn conventional wisdom on its head, I’ll expose so-called experts as crackpots.” How sure are you, really, that you have the right answer? Are you so confident that you have no doubt whatsoever?
Personally, I’ve never been one to settle for easy answers. I’ve never been one for easy, period. I’m not sure if it’s just my skeptical nature, or if I’ve come to embrace the struggle. Life is very complicated and difficult; how is it, then, that I am to rest with easy answers? You see, close-mindedness and easy answers stop conversations and the journey of understanding, and keep the relationship with God from growing.
Indeed, God has given us answers to all of our questions. However, these answers don’t necessarily fit right away into our messy, broken lives. We might not even be certain what to do with them. We must allow God’s answers to shape and mold our lives in order for it to begin to make sense to us.
God’s answers are definitely not “easy answers.” And, we don’t really possess these answers or even fully understand them or their potential in our lives. This is why I can honestly say that I don’t have easy answers to hard questions, nor do I wish to receive them. To all Liberal Atheists that think they know best, all Conservative Fundamental Christians that think they know best, and everyone in-between: be aware next time an “easy answer” is about to escape from your lips, and be open to the answers God has given you that can shape and mold your life.