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So many questions — not so many answers
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Rev. John Bressler

Professor Vincent Ryan Ruggiero, in his book, "The Art of Thinking," wrote, "Inquiry is seeking answers to questions, investigating issues and gathering information to help us draw conclusions. It enables us to get beyond our first impressions, feelings, preconceived notions and personal preferences."

I'd like to add that critical thinking beats the socks off guessing, refusing to get to the truth and conspiracy theory. Of course, discovering that one is wrong isn't fun, but discovering reality can be painful.

I remember a conversation with my Dad a long, long time ago. "Dad, how long can someone last without food? How long can he last without water?"

The list went on and on. Dad looked at me and asked, "Why are you asking all these questions?"

I didn't know why. I was just curious. He told me to ask my mother if I had any more. I figured that Mom was smarter than Dad and there are more questions than answers.

I also found out that everybody had an answer — right or wrong — and I didn't know how to find the correct answer.

Growing up meant that every new day, for a kid like me, was full of unanswered questions. I remember the time I was riding my bicycle and was hit by a truck and pushed and drug my smashed-up bike back home. Why were my folks so upset? I was fine and never had a scratch. Gee whiz!

A friend of mind died because medicine did not have an answer for his illness. Why did he have to die? Why not someone else who was not as nice or deserved to die?

God, why do You make bad people? Why is there so much evil? Why does it have to rain on Saturday? Would it spoil Your heavenly plan to give me a photographic mind, make me a good athlete or allow me to be rich and famous?

If I have learned anything over the years, it is the indisputable fact that many questions just don't have satisfactory answers, and some questions may never be answered. Even Ruggiero knew enough about the Bible to mention that not only does the Bible have two names for the mountain Moses climbed to receive the Ten Commandments, but scholars have debated nearly 3,000 years as to its location. The last information I read concerning Sinai, Horeb or Jebel Musa -- yep, there are three possibilities -- they're all up for grabs.

Is there life in outer space? Does ET really exist or is this a pie in the sky hope so we don't have to feel we stand alone in an expanding universe -- whatever that means -- and if we blow ourselves into oblivion, life still goes on somewhere?

Since I am a simple guy, please do not send in your opinion. I am more interested in what I can see, touch, smell, interact with, and so my questions concern my close to home reality. I don't know too much about many foreign lands except what I have experienced in my travels or read about in the Smithsonian magazine or perhaps in the National Geographic editions. I suppose I could say they exist because exploration has made them real. There is a lot of our world I don't know and may never know.

Perhaps this is the root of the basic problems people attempt to solve and in the process of inquiry alienate and divide so much of society. For example, I don't know of any established church, denomination or coalition, that does not have its own position on what are the basic tenets of faith which must be accepted and no deviation allowed if someone chooses to be a member. Unfortunately, the requirements of one religious group so often differs from another religious group and folks are rejected, isolated and excluded because no questions are permitted outside of the rigid and fixed answers agreed upon and chiseled in stone.

I have always believed that God did a pretty good job in giving us His Word. I have never felt that any questions I may consider or pose as being inappropriate. I do realize that many of His answers are not to my liking and God may give me more than a second look as some of my inquiries could be considered lame or even dumb.

Let me close with this: one of the greatest questions of all time is, "What would Jesus do?" When the questions concern the treatment of life, resources, work, relationships, truth, honor, responsibility, accountability, ethics and morals, the answers are sound and not debatable.

My choice is now clear. Thank you, God, for the truth. Now help me to act in faith with firm conviction.

Thanks for the truth!

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