"Precritical naivete is an early childhood state in which we take it for granted that whatever the significant authority figures in our lives tell us to be true is indeed true. In this state(if we grow up in a Christian setting), we simply hear the stories of the Bible as true stories." Marcus Borg, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, p6.
Although I have yet to read Marcus Borg's, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time I couldn't help myself from taking a peek when I stumbled upon this interesting concept. I always wondered what would happen if I taught my kids that the sky was actually green instead of blue? I would probably get a few phone calls from their teacher when they reach kindergarten but I never realized how trusting we are as children until I had a couple of my own. Our kids look to us for guidance, support, and love. We scare away the snakes in the toilet (my son won't potty train because he thinks there are snakes in the potty), we feed them when they're hungry, and we kiss away their boo boos. Whatever we teach them they take as completely true, that is until they grow up.
Then the the doubting and questioning begins, but this varies from person to person and topic to topic. We reach an age where we question certain things taught to us at a young age: tooth fairies, Santa, and Jesus. Yet doubt doesn't necessarily mean that the object in question is untrue, it just means that we are designed to question. So my big question is why would God create man with the ability to doubt and question reality? Raised in a Christian home I was taught that man was given free will because God could not be a loving God if he created a bunch of pre-programmed robots. So then we are given a choice to love or not to love God along with the destiny tied to our choice. But would questioning and doubt, which seems like a natural mechanism in man, actually be perceived as a non-loving act? How can something as natural as doubting the existence of a silent God who chose to only communicate to men thousands of years ago and passed that communication through texts riddled with errors be seen as sinful, erroneous, or even non-loving? Why should God punish us for growing up and questioning his existence?
This is why I can't imagine Atheist being sent to Hell for simply questioning the unseen. If we are built to question and doubt our reality why should we be held to higher standards in transcending our original design by a God who built us broken in the first place?
Should we seek to improve ourselves? Absolutely yes! Should we be held accountable for what is only natural to the human experience? Absolutely not, because that would be unjust for a Just God, but hopefully God is more of a God of Love than a God of Justice. If not then we're all pretty much left in the hands of chance. Yet, questioning our beliefs should not be perceieved as a weakened state of faith but a healthy, maturing, and strong faith. If we can not openly question the beliefs set in stone by man we will be forever chained to man's will and never have a chance to fully explore every minute detail on God's intricate tapestry of love.