If God exists, and really wrote the Bible, why didn’t He set critical thinking front and center in, say, the teachings of Moses or Jesus? Why, in other words, is God’s emphasis in the Bible upon the pragmatics of faith and obedience—but not reason and doubt?
For example, Thomas is held up as a bad example to followers of Jesus, for he insisted upon, well, evidence for Jesus’s resurrection. But Thomas was just being a good critical thinker. Surely you shouldn’t believe things just because somebody tells you. Having a skeptical habit of mind and insisting on evidence is a good thing, right?
Look again at the famous passage from the Gospel of John that gave Thomas the moniker “doubting Thomas” (20:25 KJV):
The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the LORD. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
Thomas flunked the resurrection belief test. This was the wrong answer. In fact, in verse 29 of John’s gospel, Jesus gave a blessing to noncritical thinkers:
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
Imagine how different the world’s history might have been if Jesus had valued Thomas’s skepticism and said something like this to him instead:
Good for you, Thomas! Believe none of us. To discover truth do these things: dialogue with sympathy, reason, and logic with those who disagree with you and ask for evidence wherever people make extravagant claims.
To me, that sounds more like the response of a divine being. What Jesus said sounds more like the words of a being caught in the contingencies of his historical time and place.
What say you?