Some time ago I went through a stage of actually exploring my faith. Actually it is something that I have continued to do. I believe that for faith to be authentic - we have to be willing and ready to question what we believe, why we believe it in what ever situation we find ourselves.
This time I allowed myself to question some of the givens about Christianity.
Take the theory of Penal Substitutionary Atonement as an example. I questioned it. I allowed myself to look at some of the other theories of the Atonement without allowing myself to denigrate those theories. I did this by refusing to(trying not to) engage with them through the lenses of PS. It was a truly liberating and freeing experience that caused me to appreciate more the vast tradition and experience of Christianity.
It also had a adverse effect of causing others around me to question my faith. To be disappointed in my apparent betrayal of those who hold to that theory and even suspiciously believe that I even betrayed Christ.
Yet I can say now that by doing what I did my faith is stronger. I do believe that the theory of PS is the best one to hold to. I am also able to acknowledge that other theories do hold much validity for us to also explore. That there are aspects of them that we do have to acknowledge as being Scriptural, that PS adherents in extreme forms ignore.
Taking Plato's quote I have adapted it to say,