In a world that offers too many bad answers and not enough good questions, Christians should be known for our curiosity.
The Church has always had a love-hate relationship with curiosity. On the one hand, much of what we know about science, medicine, and innovation in the western world has been rooted in an abiding faith in the God of the universe, which has then motivated the exploration of exactly what that universe entails.
On the other hand, new ideas often threaten our traditions, and that’s when we have ended up expelling from our midst those who have the audacity to claim that the earth is round or that the sun does not revolve around it.
Ultimately, the churn of our recycled answers leads us to an ever diminishing well of wisdom and truth. But the world is full of so much more than what we already know.
Christians have the anchor of truth, which is Scripture—(when it is rightly interpreted and applied to our hearts by the Holy Spirit. But while the Bible is comprehensive in what it tells us about the meaning of life and the purpose of humanity, it is not exhaustive. In short, there is lots left for us to discover.
In fact, that discovery is part of the purpose that God has assigned to humanity. As the crown jewel of creation, God commissioned humanity to have dominion over the earth, to be fruitful in it and multiply. And while that mandate has often been interpreted to be referring almost exclusively to procreation, multiplying what God has given to us is so much more. It’s a call to innovate. To ask good questions and seek truth in our world that in turn allows us to build better communities and societies.
While Christians are often known for our fundamentalism—or, to put it more charitably, our commitment to eternal truths that remain unchanging—we should be just as well known for our curiosity.
Here are three reasons why every Christian should work hard to cultivate curiosity in their lives.
1. Jesus Was a Master Question Asker.
Jesus is the incarnate God. You would think that he wouldn’t have any questions to ask. After all, God knows everything. The world was literally created through and by Jesus (Colossians 1:16; John 1:3). What more could he need to learn?
Yet Jesus was always asking questions. Whenever questioned, he would reply in turn. And while some may interpret that to merely be a part of Jesus’ communication skills and use of rhetoric, I think it was motivated by his curiosity. He truly wanted to know what was behind every question, the place it was coming from, the heart that motivated it, and the truth about the human condition that it revealed.
Too often, when we are posed with a question, we are quick to jump and provide an answer based on the information we currently have available to us. And that’s because, as Christians, we feel the need to be the “answer” people. After all, Peter instructed us to always be prepared to give one (1 Peter 3:15).
And to be sure, if you know the Scriptures and are reasonably intelligent, you have some really good answers to give. But maybe you are giving good answers to questions that aren’t even being asked. Maybe you need to start asking better questions. Be curious about the questions posed by others, rather than allowing uncertainty to fill you with anxiety. Be more comfortable with saying, “I don’t know,” and then pursuing your curiosity to find out what you can learn.