In the Orthodox Church

“Believe and do not question”. Really?

When I first heard saying “What kind of God is the one who says believe and do not question ? That is blind faith! That means constraint”, I tell you frankly that I did not feel well. I felt between hammer and anvil because in my mind a bitter struggle started. On one hand I was saying that if Lord said that it means that He knew better why He had said so, but still I felt that the liberty of thought and knowledge was taken away from me. I felt this situation as a noose around the neck. On the other hand I wanted to know why God had said so. But from the reason to investigate everything, I still thought to look in the Bible where it is written that statement and especially in what context the word had been given.

After looking through the Holy Scripture, I found the expression “believe and do not question” nowhere. I was puzzled and eager to find out the cause of the dispute that the atheists and those lazy by nature find as an excuse for their unbelief, but also as a charge against faith of believers. Thus, I prayed the Lord to show me the truth about it and to know what to do. One day I found the answer to my unrest by buying Faith World magazine where I finally found an article that delt the matter  “believe and don’t question”.

Atheists and Free-thinkers assert that the quatation “believe and do not question” would be found in Holy Scripture. Of course if we ask them to show us the passage they will not find it anywhere, because this term does not exist in the Bible, but this expression had been deeply rooted among ignorant people at Marxist courses against religion. However, we find a passage in Scripture with this urge, but given in another spirit than the one raised by atheists and free-thinkers:

Seek not what is too difficult for you, nor investigate what is beyond your power.  Reflect upon what has been assigned to you, for you do not need what is hidden. Do not meddle in what is beyond your tasks,
for matters too great for human understanding have been shown you. For their hasty judgment has led many astray, and wrong opinion has caused their thoughts to slip
. “(Wisdom of Jesus Sirach, III, 20-23)

Because we didn’t respect these human limitations shown by Jesus Sirach, today exist a lot of atheists, heretics and philosophers which don’t distinguish truth from lies and speculation from reality. They believed that human reason is unfailing and self-sufficient, when only true knowledge about the world comes when you connect your will to the absolute truth of things: God, the omnipresent rational being, timeless and incorruptible.

Even St. John Chrysostom reminds us that there is a limited extent in human capacity for knowledge, beyond which there is only failure:

“It is with much gratitude we receive words of Scripture, not to exceed our measure, nor pry into those above us, as enemies of truth experienced and wanted to explore everything with their own thought. They did not thought that for a human is impossible to know completely the creation of God…

This is the reason why Hellenes were lost, they allowed all their mind and did not want to know that the human mind is weak, they thought of things beyond their powers, exceeded their own measures abroad and fell from their proper dignity … And once they strayed from the right path, went to the cliff and they rolled in the depths of evil …

Moreover, knowing that we are limited in knowledge and naive, St. John the Theologian tells us to test the spirits, the essence of all things, putting them in the light of truth: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are  from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (I John 4:1)

So, the urge “Believe and do not question” does not belong to the Church, but on the contrary, Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition together contain many exhortations designed to draw us closer to God and to increase faith, thorough research and real knowledge.

Even saints gave the example of researching not only the Holy Scripture, but also human sciences. St. Gregory Palamas tells us so: “It is better to deal less with the study of languages, rhetoric, history, the secrets of nature, the science of logic and geometric figures. And this, not only to use the knowledge gained for something, but for training the eye of the soul to discern things. But to remain attached them all the time is bad “.

Now I ask myself … how could I doubt in all that time, for even the faith comes through knowledge.

Did God put in us the thirst for knowledge to torment us or to reveal to us with all his works?

Is it from thirst for knowledge that is not observed human desire to seek the origin and sense of his existence?

God didn’t make man passive, apathetic, uninterested, but left this thirst for knowledge in his nature to investigate, to search, always to want to know more about him and everything that surrounds him, to know where he comes from and where he goes, to polish himself, but not in cold knowledge, without help, but to increase in faith and love.

A man without knowledge and research would be totally blind but their expression often saves even from unbelief. One of the most striking examples is the Apostle Thomas, who after so many wonders which were seen in the presence of the Savior, also doubted the testimony of the other ten apostles that Saviour resurrected, and says:

Unless I see in His hands, the nails, and do not put my finger where the nails were, and if I don’t  put my hand into His rib, I will not believe.”

So he wanted to investigate to make sure that so is. To his disbelief was scold, but at least he got rid of it.

But we know that Christ the Lord said:

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you, for everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened .” (Heb. Matthew 7:7-8)

So let’s not hesitate, and get out of the darkness of ignorance into the light of faith, following the advice of our Saviour to investigate things, but with right count:

“Search the Scriptures; in them ye think ye have eternal life. And those are which testify of me.”

(Dan)

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