When scientist seek to prove a hypothesis, they go through rigorous and repeated testing to find what works and what does not. They should, eventually emerge with a credible theory, having eliminated erroneous ideas and found the valid ideas to be true.
What if a scientist hypothesized that certain micro-organisms in water would prevent it from freezing at thirty-two degrees. What if this scientist then refused to do any testing of this hypothesis, but simply declared it to be scientific law. The person would be rejected from the scientific community and viewed as arrogant and delusional. His ideas about micro-organisms in water would never be taken seriously.
I believe that our Christian beliefs should be put to the test just like scientific hypothesis. If our beliefs cannot stand up to questioning, stretching, testing, and critiquing, then perhaps they are just not valid.
In his book “Velvet Elvis” Rob Bell offers that we should understand our beliefs as springs of a trampoline. As we jump and dance we test the springs. When first reading this, I had a hard time with this analogy. Now I think it is brilliant.
The metaphor we usually hear is that of a building foundation or brick. We use words strong, firm, solid, and unshakable when referring to beliefs. We also hear things like, “If one of our beliefs is wrong, then the whole system of Christianity crumbles.”
A foundation that crumbles because of one weak brick is not very strong to begin with.
Many Christians are quite reticent to test their beliefs. We are afraid to allow our faith claims to go up against modern science or philosophy, or even just detailed scrutiny. There is an idea that this kind of testing will weaken our faith. testing should weaken only what is not strong to begin with.
If we hold our ideas too tightly, if we make our selves into a rigid, brick wall, then one little crack can truly have crumbling and devastating effects on our whole system of beliefs. If we allow our idea to flex, stretch, and adjust, then we will not be shaken when faced with challenges to our belief system.
There will always be challenges. The man who is truly seeking truth is one who is continually questioning, learning, and adjusting. The man who is never flexible in his beliefs is seen in arrogant and delusional.