Monday, February 16, 2009

Religious Questioning is the Correct Religious Rite

When the Master went inside the Grand Temple, he asked questions about everything. Someone remarked, "Who said the son of the man from Tsou understood the rites? When he went inside the Grand Temple, he asked questions about everything."
The Master, on hearing of this, said, "The asking of questions is in itself the correct rite." (Confucius, Analects 3.15; trans. D.C. Lau)


So, the next time you go to a church, synagogue, temple, mosque, etc., ask a lot of questions! For this is the correct rite. But why would questioning in itself be the correct rite? Perhaps asking questions is a sign of humility. Indeed, answering is not also named as the correct rite. At the same time, it is the search for understanding (even if ultimately there are no answers). It forces the questioner and the questioned to reflect upon why they do what they do. Such reflection, it seems to me, is too rare.

4 comments:

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Finally, somewhere where I "fit". I find that my questions "work out" in my "thinking in writing" sometimes...whenever I have asked questions, most of the time, I have not been answered...of course, if someone answered one questions, there would always be another question....like "why did God make the sky blue?":)

Jared said...

Whenever people ask me a question about God, my immediate answer is the question "which god"? So, I would need to know which god you think made the sky blue...

Angie Van De Merwe said...

That would be the best question IF it were acceptable (that doesn't mean I wouldn't ask it)...but it might lead to some realization that we are answering questions in our own limited way and bring a little humility to all of us..'

BTW, science has the answer to why the sky is blue, in optics, but does this say anthing about "god"? Can we say because a certain scientific understanding understands things "this way" that this is how "god works"?

But, the other alternative, just accepting that the sky is blue, by faith, is worse!

Jared said...

Yes, you hit upon exactly why I ask that question.