Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Incuriosity

Daniel Florien from Unreasonable Faith shared this interesting quote a few weeks ago by Stephen Fry.
"The only reason people do not know much is because they do not care to know. They are incurious. Incuriousity is the oddest and most foolish failing there is."
—Stephen Fry, The Fry Chronicles

[ Marks at Parent Teacher by David Hayward, The Naked Pastor. If you haven't visited his site or seen any of his art or cartoons then you're missing out.]

To play a bit of devil's advocate I would add some people may not have the time or luxury to be curious. I'm extremely curious and love exploring new ideas and concepts but I barely have time to even blog let alone time to myself for imagination and curiosity. Regardless I still agree that you must have a thirst for knowledge to be knowledgeable. What bothers me the most are so called experts on a topic in which they've only studied the facts that support their own claims (e.g. the "experts" proclaiming in 2010 that Muslims are attempting to take over America with mega mosque training camps). I love wrestling with  questions, especially questions I myself can not answer. I love it when I come across a new term or idea I've never heard before.

I can't imagine not being curious, not asking questions even of beliefs I (currently) hold to be true. I don't question my traditional religious backgrounds to be rebellious, because I love sin, or because I hate God and Christianity. I continuously question everything because I find it more spiritually rewarding. When I use the term spiritual I use it to describe my humanity, my humanness, my weaknesses and my strengths, all that makes us human. I believe we are born curious (note the word believe) and that as we grow we are raised to avoid asking certain questions and avoid giving certain answers to our children. If I don't know an answer to a question my children ask of me I tell them there are some things daddy just doesn't know. So then we sit down and try to discover the answer together.

What I believe people fear the most is not so much the mental taboo of asking difficult questions but what to do with the new knowledge once Pandora's box is opened. I can't unlearn that men of the church, not God, decided which books were to become the Bible. The mere notion that there were other possible book candidates for the Bible must be mind blowing enough for any regular church going Christian. It's easier to not ask certain questions, to not open certain door which may lead us to doubt. But then avoiding questions I believe stagnates spiritual (there's that word again) growth. I'm not saying that questioning your religious traditions and background will lead you directly into the pit of Atheism, but asking questions will lead you to discover a bit more about who you are and our relationships with each other.

3 comments:

Don said...

You have pretty much described me, except the part where you don't have as much time as you would like for research. I, on the other hand, have the time (result of aging, I suppose). I do like to push the envelope as you do. I'm looking forward to getting Ehrman's latest, and some say, the best so far, "Did Jesus Exist?"

Sabio Lantz said...

I agree, people don't ask questions not because they are afraid, but because:

(1) They don't have time -- as you said

(2) They aren't interested -- I am not curious about the various ways of gardening -- for instance, because I don't garden.

(3) They like what they've got -- things are working well, what is the point to exploring. -- They only have so much time and so they will explore what they can imagine helping them. If they only have 2 hours "free time" per day, they may explore woodworking techniques because they are working on their house. Why explore the Ramayana (see my posts) when it is completely irrelevant to their lives.

But when people pretend to be exploring an idea and stay only in their echo chamber, that "incuriosity" is deplorable.

Kerry Miller-Whalen said...

I often think, the more difficult the question, the more revelatory and life-changing it is likely to be, as you allow it to do its work. I tried blogging on that exact topic today, though struggled to find the right words. Questions are where we begin to see the real universe behind our paradigms!

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