Can we outgrow our faith? Certainly, it happens all the time. Some shed their parents’ religion like a too small snakeskin. Others find the faith of their fathers a good foundation but a lousy ceiling. Still others can’t live with the dissonance between the way the world is supposed to be and the way it is.
Faith provides a paradigm that gives direction and explains the rules of the road. It works well as a map—until it becomes outdated. What usually dates a paradigm is data. New information supersedes old ways of seeing.
The telescope changed theology, and most branches of science, by expanding human knowledge. Same goes for the microscope, the MRI machine, the computer and scores of other advances. These tools didn’t create reality but simply revealed what’s always been there.
We (should) outgrow faith when it no longer fits the facts or explains our experiences. We could also grow INTO faith for the same reasons. C. S. Lewis is a famous example (read Surprised by Joy). So is Anthony Flew, a leading atheist who became a theist later in life:
Flew told Christianity Today that although he was not on the road to becoming a Christian convert, he reaffirmed his deism: “Since the beginning of my philosophical life I have followed the policy of Plato’s Socrates: We must follow the argument wherever it leads.”
The important thing is to keep learning, to keep searching, to keep asking questions and evaluating answers. The quest will take us off church property, maybe even into the weeds.
Could we get lost? Yes.
We could also discover new territory not on our original map.