This is a point I think about often. I hope it’s not received as accusation but rather something that I personally need to hear over and over again.
Just because something may seem dangerous, doesn’t mean it’s truth is negated. Often times our fear of this possible danger builds borders around ideas to protect us.
This is very obvious once we notice it.
I noticed it likely the first time I heard someone say God created the universe with “apparent age.” Or he created things 6,000 years ago to look like they’ve been around for millions of years.
As it’s been so perfectly put out to me, people don’t resist change, they resist loss.
I have learned that it’s hard to abandon things you’ve held with certainty your whole life. There is pride, comfort, and ego attached to certainty. It’s easier to hold things together and say I am right, and they are wrong. I don’t think many understand how well acquainted I am with this loss and pain. Often the assumption is that skeptics prefer to stir things up instead of assuming a long and difficult journey of loss and deserts. At times my religion has experienced some truly difficult losses that left me questioning the entire foundation. You cannot “unsee” certain things. And they were scary, and uncomfortable and left me questioning even more. Who would ever want that in their life? Why would one volunteer to move towards that loss?
And yet, sometimes we never encounter truth because of our fear of danger and insecurity. We never see the answer that’s on the other side of some important questions we’re too afraid to ask.
I can think of no more applicable topic for this than that of “faith” and “doubt.”
If the object of my ultimate concern is God ( not a religion, not a book ) fewer things have worked greater in building up my faith than taking steps towards and into my doubt. It’s the only way I and we can be brutally honest with our ultimate. Ignoring it is a prison of silence, shame, and cowardice. I do not believe denial is where God desires our hearts to be. My God liberates not just people, but faith.
“Seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
What a powerful idea when applied to our doubts. Imagine if we never sought? Imagine if we never knocked?
The beauty of Christianity, I hope, is a great many people who haven’t hidden from their doubts. But like the beautiful story of Jacob, wrestled with God. For this is how he became “Israel.”
This is after all what it means to be “Israel.” It’s honest and pure.
And rather than an arrogance that claims certitude and finality, for me to be Israel is in fact a deep humility. A humility that is intimate and passionate with truth. A truth so humble and passionate it challenges perceived certainty and approaches Christ with full abandon.
Questions aren’t scary, what’s scary is when people don’t have any.
There isn’t Bible truth, science truth, or alternative truth.
There’s God’s truth and it is found in many vehicles, especially the Bible, and especially science!
If it is true, it belongs to God.
The German Scholar Helmut Thielick put it this way,
“The unfaithful witness is the one who simply transmits the conventional and familiar, unchanged and undigested. He is unfaithful, in the first place, because he is lazy. For the labor of interpretation and contemporization, the work of ‘translation,’ is grueling work and it is never done without abortive trials and breath-taking risks. . . . He who simply repeats the old phrases takes no risks; it is easy to remain orthodox and hew to the old line. But he who speaks to this hour’s need and translates the message will always be skirting the edge of heresy. He, however, is the man who is given this promise (and I really believe this promise exists): Only he who risks heresies can gain the truth.”
-(The Trouble with the Church)