I posted a comment on another blog a couple of days ago that was fairly well received and it got me thinking. It was in reference to the “slippery slope” that many Christians fear they will be on when they begin to question aspects of fundamentalist Christianity. If we don’t read the Bible literally, they say, then we run the risk of falling down the slippery slope. Where does it stop? Okay, if you take early Genesis as not being literal, when does Genesis actually become literal? If we “throw this out” (which is not at all what is being done, but some think it is), what’s to stop us from throwing the rest out? Alternatively, If I begin to take the claims of science seriously, how far can I go and still be a Christian?
I think this fear is unfounded because I think a search for truth is a search for truth and I am simply not afraid of where it takes me. Nevertheless, this fear is pertinent to the faith of many Christians. Even moreso, it is often a concern for family or friends of those Christians who think and doubt and that, to take a passage from my friend Rachel Held Evans, “live in the questions”. For those that are worried or live with this fear, I want to share an anecdote that I heard (Pete Enns, I think) at the BioLogos conference I attended this past June. My memory is a little faulty so I am going to elaborate a bit.
When hearing the words, “slippery slope”, people usually picture someone slipping or falling down a hill, such that they end up at the bottom of a valley or something like that. Whatever the picture, the end result is a negative, with the assumption being that faith will be lost. Pete mentioned that “slippery slopes” are also associated with climbs. Anyone who is a hiker or mountain climber knows that yes, the trip down can be slippery, but so can the trip up. But the desire to reach the end of the hike or the top of the climb overcomes the fear of slipping so that the hiker or climber proceeds on.
Perhaps we shouldn’t worry so much about slipping causing us to lose our faith. Perhaps slipping is required or must be encounterd and overcome before we can fully reach our faith, a stronger faith that provides us with a new understanding of this world and the God who created it.
I don’t know about you, but I love to hike and climb.