Curiosity is not listed specifically among the spiritual gifts. But there is no clear indication that the biblical lists are exhaustive.
Those listed gifts presented to early followers of Jesus helped them and those since to fill important roles in communal living as well as to live more faithfully as individuals.
Among these identified gifts are encouragement, prophecy, teaching and leadership. Interestingly, it takes some spiritual gifts to discover, understand and apply those gifts.
This is not a “choose one” buffet. It helps for everyone to have a variety of gifts.
We all need a good dose of knowledge, discernment, mercy, and generosity. To say “that’s not my gift” isn’t a valid excuse for displaying ignorance, gullibility, mercilessness, and selfishness.
But I’m curious about curiosity — and see it as a necessary component to being human among humans.
Jesus’ first disciples must have been quite curious — with enough curiosity to act upon it.
Surely, they were curious about Jesus’ call to a radical way of life that was different from everything they had learned. Otherwise, why would they drop their livelihoods and other sources of security for the sales pitch of self-denial?
Peter was a curious person — one willing to ask the questions that others were likely thinking but feared asking.
Nicodemus, identified in the Gospel of John (3:1-21) as a Pharisee, a Jewish ruler, seemed curious enough for a nighttime visit with Jesus to explore what apparently was rumbling through his mind.
Like many of us, Nicodemus asked Jesus, “How can this be?” (3:9)
That curiosity-driven conversation led John to record: “For God so loved the world…” (3:16).
Curiosity can fuel the ongoing pursuit of truth beyond hand-me-down faith and false labeling.
While being curious may not rank with faith, hope, and love, it does seem to be a good way to get to those attributes more genuinely and successfully.
While toddlers may ask “why” incessantly, many adults tend to not ask it enough.
Just think of the often-harmful concepts — including religious principles — that get consumed simply because no one dared to ask why. Or if they did, they settled for an insufficient and defensive answer.
Curiosity takes us below the surface of easy answers and superficial faith.
Being incurious causes one to settle too quickly and easily. Curiosity can counter the gullibility that results in blind allegiance to bad actors and damaging ideas.
Too often curiosity is discouraged by religious leaders who warn that one’s faith could unravel if questioning persists. Of course, such a fragile faith might well need reconstruction.
Rather than a threat, increased curiosity is a route to better understanding — and the embrace of better things than the ones first offered or discovered.
We’ve all heard the adage that curiosity is what killed the cat. Memory-training expert Harry Lorayne noted, however, that “the only thing curiosity can kill is ignorance.”
What if we became more curious about what it means to be faithful followers of Jesus?
What if our curiosity leads us to reexamine that which gets labeled as “Christian” or “biblical” — but is inconsistent with what Jesus actually said and did?
A curious faith is one that scratches below the surface of ready-made religious and political ideologies that are dispensed to be consumed rather than questioned.
Curious faith reads the label to see who made it and what ingredients are included.
A larger dose of curiosity, at least enough to see how the substance aligns with the life and teachings of Jesus, would serve us well.
It may not be too far-fetched to see the waywardness within much of Americanized Christianity today as resulting not so much from “sin” (as it is often defined) but from an absence of curiosity.
Life is easier for those who never ask why. But it seems more intriguing to wonder enough to raise and consider good questions.
Often, I take note of those who are widely curious and those who are not. This is a distinction, not a judgment.
Such positioning for many of us is not a choice. “Why?” just forms naturally in our minds if not on the lips. Hence, this curious consideration of curiosity.
Those of us who question almost everything must surely annoy those who question almost nothing. They wonder why we can’t just accept things at face value and live with them.
But I would counter that curiosity is precisely the starting block for discovering wrongs that have long been accepted as being right. Somebody asked why — repeatedly.
“In the Gospels, Jesus asks over 300 questions and only answers three of them,” said author/podcast host Kat Armas on Twitter. “A Christianity that discourages curiosity is a Christianity disconnected from the way of Jesus.”
After a bit of examination, this seems right to me.
Executive editor / publisher at Good Faith Media.