Curiosity does not threaten faith; it fuels understanding


I love asking questions—I have for as long as I can remember.

When I was a little kid, if an adult would respond to me with a “because I said so,” my immediate response would be, “but why do you say so?”

I want to say that I have changed since I was four, but I haven’t. That gut response has remained.

I want to know why people say so. And as far as I can tell, so does everyone else because our information is collective and the only way to pass it on to each other is through questions.

I’m also sure we are all familiar with the feeling of someone making us feel like our questions are stupid or wrong.

Often this destructive urge stems from a well-intentioned place of faith.

When I say faith I don’t necessarily mean religion; I mean knowing that your beliefs are right.

I can’t blame anyone for doing this—it’s a very human response, especially when the questions are uncomfortable or difficult to address.

We all want to keep believing in what we believe. We want to know the people we admire are right. That’s not evil. It’s confirmation bias, and it’s part of being in a community. It is human, and it is easy to fall into.

However, it is still destructive because trust is built through gaining knowledge, and knowledge is built through asking questions.

I can’t have faith in something that thinks questions are wrong.

I can’t have faith in something that will not look inward.

These institutions are meant to give us guidance and peace and ways to be better in the world. I do that through curiosity.

I have changed some since I was four, but I think my core value of curiosity has stayed the same.

I want to have faith in something, and I want to be the best person I can be and love my family in the best way I can. The way I do that is by asking questions. My other values help, but they are not enough because love can lead to hate and faith, secular or religious, will decay if it is blind.

If it isn’t obvious already, I have no idea what I believe, but I have to be okay with that.  

However, I do know some things are true.

I don’t think you can hate something you are curious about.

Here are the most important questions for me: What if I’m wrong? What if the way I have always viewed the world doesn’t match up with reality? What if my values are flawed? What if I don’t know?

I need to ask if I am wrong.

I need to ask if my political party might be wrong, if the people I admire might be wrong.

I need to ask if my church (or lack thereof) might not have all the answers.

Questions do not threaten faith, they do not make it weaker. They are the way that it grows.

Questions are the way that we keep our faith intact and make sure it fits with the rest of our lives. I am going to keep asking questions, and I think you should do the same.


Megan Simonich is a freshman English and secondary education major from Sioux Falls, S.D.


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