By Jorden Smith
How do I know that I know that I know? I find myself going back to this question that I first asked myself at camp in middle school whenever I stop to think about my faith.
What do I actually know about my faith? How do I know what Christianity really is?
For me, just knowing is not enough. God made such an intricate world full of wonder and power and little details for me to invite me into more than knowing. I want to understand and be embraced by the Word and the meaning behind the Word.
That’s where The Skeptics Supper Club comes in. The Skeptics Supper Club is a place where I can ask, “What do I know? What do I really believe about … ?” I always thought I knew things and had a general understanding about most of the Bible. But with Skeptics Supper Club, I’ve learned that I have so much left to learn when it comes to the Bible and my faith. I like to think that I know why I should believe the Bible, or that I have a solid understanding of everything surrounding the resurrection. But in truth – and like Jon Snow – I really don’t know anything.
When I went to my first Skeptics Supper Club in March, I was – and I say this without any pun intended – skeptical. I showed up to an unsuspecting La Madeleine on the west side of Houston thinking that I already knew what to expect. I had been to a few church-sponsored events that defined themselves as a place to ask questions, but always left somewhat unsatisfied, as it seemed to always lead to a group discussion or a spontaneous lecture, instead of a place to be skeptical.
But, to my surprise, Skeptic’s Supper Club was (and still is) the antithesis of what I had become accustomed to whenever I went to ask questions. Instead of a predetermined set of questions to work off of, the group worked off of the questions raised by the group’s response to one big central question. And I learned. And I felt as though any burning questions I came with received thoughtful attention and response.
My first time at Skeptics, we asked, “Why might one trust the Bible?” It seems like a simple enough question, but there’s so much to that simple question. Just understanding what kind of text the Bible is in the first place is a long and complex story in itself, filled with twists and turns and controversy. So I came with questions, ready to figure out why I should believe the Bible. And others came with burning questions they wanted answers about the history and purpose of the Bible. And together there was a beautiful desire to learn about the Word and our faith. There was an individual comfort, but also a comfort in the community; I was there learning for myself, but I was also learning with a community of friends with questions that brought us together.
The facilitator, the Rev. Eileen O’Brien, does a great job of being responsive to each question – no matter if it’s a simple question or a question debated in seminaries throughout the world. And she helps us develop a framework for thinking about the questions with insights from philosophy and history.
One of my favorite parts about Skeptics Supper Club is the second round. The first round takes place at La Madeleine, but there’s a second round a week later on campus. And, though we discuss the same topic, there’s a different group of people, and with that, more new and interesting questions that help us delve further into whatever topic we’re discussing. It’s like revisiting a topic in another class, where there are fresh perspectives and insights.
If you’re reading this and wondering “why Skeptics Supper Club”, it’s because you need it. It’s not something you really think you need until you’ve come to a dinner and delved into those burning questions you never knew you never knew. I didn’t know I needed Skeptics Supper Club until I showed up.
So if you want to know that you know that you know come join us June 7 and July 19 at 7 pm at La Madeleine (10001 Westheimer), have some dinner, ask some questions, and meet some amazing people.