Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sometimes I feel the fear of uncertainty stinging clear

From N.T. Wright's Simply Christian: A great many arguments about God- God's existence, God's nature, God's actions in the world- run the risk of being like pointing a flashlight toward the sky to see if the sun is shining. It is all too easy to make the mistake of speaking and thinking as though God (if there is a God) might be a being, an entity, within our world, accessible to our interested study in the same sort of way we might study mathematics, open to our investigation by the same sort of techniques we use for objects and entities within our world. When Yuri Gagarin, the first Soviet cosmonaut, landed after orbiting the earth a few times, he declared that he had disproved the existence of God. He had been up there, he said, and had seen no sign of him. Some Christians pointed out that Gagarin had seen plenty of signs of God, if only the cosmonaut had known how to interpret them, The difficulty is that speaking of God in anything like the Christian sense is like staring into the sun. It's dazzling. It's easier, actually to look away from the sun itself and to enjoy the fact that, once it's well and truly risen you can see everything else clearly.

Sometimes I am struck by the way Christians try to act like the know so much. The truth is we don't really know much of anything, and truthfully I kind of think thats the point. So when you admit to not knowing things for sure most Christians start to freak out and try to act like certainty is faith. I would have to disagree. It seems to me that faith is really about not knowing but choosing to believe anyways. For example I really am not sure if there is a God and if there is one why He acts the way he does. I'm not certain of his goodness or his grace or his mercy but I choose to believe in them anyway. Most days it seems, no matter how hard I try, I just can't let go of God. Maybe I need the hope He provides or maybe I just need to feel purpose, but I can't seem to give up on him (or at my very worst the idea of him). I was reading my teacher's blog about scared Christians and he said this: At the end of the day, faith is risky. Faith implies a potential for failure. But risk and failure do not shut out the anxieties. So we pretend--living with illusions--that faith is risk free and that success is guaranteed. We trade in an authentic faith a security blanket.

I think he's right. Christians pretend to know a lot of things and speak in a matter of fact way even to non-Christians. But truthfully if you ask me how I know God exists, I would simply have to say "I don't." Instead of knowing I choose to believe a lot of things I can't always make sense of and that I struggle with often. But I just have to believe that the life we lead isn't what it seems that surely there's a greater good out there that we can strive to be. Who knows...

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