Sunday, April 01, 2012

New data about an old relationship

Questioning God Easier for the More Devout

Well, you can bet that headline from LiveScience got my attention.

As the article explains,

In general, people who are strongly religious are more likely than the less devout to say that it's not okay to be angry at God, the new study found. But people who describe their relationship with God as close and resilient are actually likely to accept complaining and questioning directed toward God.

In the study conducted by Case Western Reserve University, the researchers found that one's relationship with God is actually a lot like relationships with other people (at least, the way I read it).

Like any long-term relationship, God and I have been through a lot together. And that means it's grown into a comfortable relationship. Sure, I have doubts, and criticisms about various aspects of my faith. I also find some of it quite amusing. And many others in our congregation feel the same way.

So we're free to laugh, cry, worry, and complain about our faith -- and even enjoy it. Because (at least with me) it's strong enough to take the strain.

Think about Mel Brooks' classic films: Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, and The Producers. While he skewers the conventions of the horror film, western, and musical, it's clear that he also understands and loves the genres. The films laugh about the shortcomings and foibles of their subjects, but it still laughs with, rather than at, those genres.

That's sort how my relationship with God is.  I'm comfortable enough with it to ask the hard questions -- and crack the jokes. (just like the study suggests)

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