We live in the Information Age—the age of the internet. The internet has granted us unprecedented access to information like no generation that has ever existed. For thousands of years in the past, knowledge had been the privilege of the powerful. People fought and studied to make access to information a right to the common people. Vernacular was introduced, and once exclusive and rare texts were translated into everyday language. For Christianity, this entailed translating the Bible from the original Hebrew and Greek into the commoner’s language, Latin. It was translated by Saint Jerome in 382 who was passionate about giving access to the Bible to everyday people.
Fast forward to today, and our relationship with information is ceaseless. You no longer need to learn an ancient language or even go to a library to search for answers. You can simply Google it— and we can learn a lot through Google searches.
There are approximately 63,000 Google searches every second. That is about 5.6 billion searches per day. It begs the question, what exactly is on people’s minds? What do they want to know about different subjects? And in regards to faith, what theological questions are people seeking?
So, curious to know what is on the hearts and minds of the greater population regarding faith? Here are the most-searched theological questions this year and what that says about our culture.
NOTE: The first list of questions is quoted from Theolocast who compile the most searched theological questions each year using Google’s keyword research program.
- What is the Bible?
- Who is Jesus?
- What is the church?
- Who is God?
- What is a Christian?
- What is Heaven?
- What is sin?
- What is hell?
- What is the gospel?
- What is salvation?
- What is prayer?
- What does God look like?
- What is the fear of God?
Most fascinating about this list is how shockingly simple the questions are. People are looking for foundational answers. Who is God, what is prayer, what is the Bible—critical definitions.
The simplicity of these questions remind us how crucial the root is. For those who believe and do not, one cannot get understanding until you get “it.” No matter how our culture advances we cannot eliminate this truth. We are in search of fundamental knowledge of who God and the major elements of faith.
You can check out Theolocast which notes all 101 most-searched theological questions including links to helpful articles and videos that answer these simple yet lofty questions.
Getting a bird’s eye view of society’s heart only catalyzed a desire for more insight (hence, the information age). Curiosity further prompted me to look into more highly-searched questions around faith. Another easy way to survey popular searches is the predictable search tool. The crown of Google is its extraordinary intuition perfected for decades to make searching as simple as possible.
Inadvertently, it exposes the top searches in the drop down menu. With this in mind, I decided to use a few terms around faith to determine the top search results. Here are some profound findings below (omitting unrelated or similar searches):
Why Does God…
- Why does God test us?
- Why does God love me?
- Why does God allow pain and suffering?
- Why does God want us to worship him?
- Does God love everyone?
- Does God test us?
- Does God love me?
- Does God change His mind?
- Is God a moral monster?
- Is God a jealous God?
- Is God omnipotent?
- Is God love?
How Does God…
- How does God look?
- How does God speak to us?
- How does God see me?
- How does God answer prayers?
My first conclusion upon skimming these results is this…people are crying out to understand God’s love and God’s goodness. Does He love us, and if He does—how do we make sense of that amidst our suffering? These are the age-old questions that have broken and mended the faith of many.
These Google searches reveal our shared humanity’s longing for love—matched with efforts to comprehend God’s love.
I’m reminded of a quote from C.S. Lewis’s The Problem of Pain which paints a picture of reframing our perspective of God amidst our suffering:
“The problem of reconciling human suffering with the existence of a God who loves, is only insoluble so long as we attach a trivial meaning to the word “love,” and look on things as if man were the center of them. Man is not the center. God does not exist for the sake of man. Man does not exist for his own sake. ‘Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.’ We were made not primarily that we may love God (though we were made for that too) but that God may love us, that we may become objects in which the divine love may rest ‘well pleased.’” ― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
To me, these searches reveal the depths of our longing and the need for foundational, unconditional love. Hopefully it will stir us all to continue to live His love out in our everyday interactions.