Many Christians regard questioning as equivalent to unbelief. In the Church they have been taught what to believe about God and how to behave, and they have built their lives on this teaching. What they want from the Church is the assurance that they are loved by God, that the lives they lead are good, and that what they believe is true. What is not wanted is anything which questions that assurance. This is not because churchgoers are incapable of thinking about new ideas. It is rather that the majority see no need for them. They believe what they were taught and it has worked for them. It also meets their needs for affirmation. Questioning, or even thought, disturbs the quiet surface of reassurance that the Church is expected to supply, because it could suggest that their way of life or they themselves are not so acceptable to God as they wish to believe. It is, therefore, resisted.
It is also true that many churchgoers do not know enough about academic theology or modern ethical issues to understand why traditional ideas are being questioned. Lay people are often not informed about or do not understand the nature of the most important questions for contemporary theology, or why they are legitimate questions. Instead of being equipped to discuss them, they are frequently upset when anybody in authority in the Church gives anything other than the teaching with which they are familiar. They should not be blamed for this reaction; it is the Church as an institution that is at fault for failing to educate its members. At its best the Church has given meaning and purpose both to individuals and to society as a whole. However, the consequence of this failure to educate the laity in contemporary theology is that quite often they misunderstand what is being said and they are ill-equipped to engage constructively with modern thought….
… There is a widespread confusion between the values of social groups and the teachings of the Christian religion. As a consequence, local churches seem to function primarily to promote their own social and moral values which, though informed by Christianity, represent a Christianity selected and adapted to support the ideological interests of the community in which the church is placed. Ironically, while resisting engagement with secular knowledge through the adoption of ideological closure, ecclesiastical bodies may be very much assimilated to the secular attitudes and practices of local or national social, economic and political structures. Indeed they may use the teaching of Christ to justify these structures and then protect these ideological beliefs, alongside more overtly religious ones, through the ideological closure which includes them both.
Jeremy Young, The Cost of Certainty (London: DLT, 2004), pp. 48-49, 51.