The older I got the more times Dad would find a moment when we’d be talking… no, he’d be taking.. and he’d say “God showed me a truth today.”
I am not sure what you think about this. I guess a skeptic would discount that it was anything more than a gaining of wisdom. Seriously skeptic skeptics would consider it something worse, a delusion of some kind. But I know, for certain, what he was talking about.
Because I have experienced what Dad experienced.
Like the other day.
I was thinking about how uncertain this life is. I pretty much hate that.
So I started mentally doodling the number of things I could be certain about. You know, like I mean really certain, science wise, relationship wise, person wise, faith wise. That made me wonder if I actually understood the word ‘certain’ so I googled it. Then I Wiki-ed it.
That’s a list narrowing concept.
I spent the next two hours reading up on Descartes, modernity, David Hume, tautology (which was a brand new word for me), and pretty soon a whole lot of tabs were open and I had lost complete track of most everything. Frankly, the list and words and treatises and ideas were mostly endless.
The one thing I was certain of was that I am not the first one to wonder about all of this.
Heck, there is a whole philosophical argument that says even math is suspect. (Yeah. I am not clear on this either, but I think the end road might drive you mad because it gets you to either “I think therefore I am” or I’m really not, I’m a figment of my own imagination. Or someones. Or not. Wow.)
I took a deep breath, took my laptop off my knees and closed my eyes.
And that would be when God spoke into my heart.
(If you’d prefer to consider that God was Allah or some spiritual force beyond humanity, a higher power or some other level of consciousness, go ahead, but I can tell you for me, as certain as I can be about anything, it was God. A very consistent, trustworthy God.)
This is what He said: In the 21st century, this day, you are a people who hunger for certainty. You have put your faith in certainty. You actually think you don’t have faith. But you’ve fooled yourself. It’s why you don’t understand who I am. It’s why you don’t think you need me.
(I needed to think about this some more.)
There are three things that are true about humans. It looks like to me they always have been. We need faith, we have doubt, and we want truth. All three are important. Not unlike other times before us we have fallen into the trap that if something can’t be proved to us, it’s irrelevant. The strange thing about this world, is that the things that make us happy, that give us joy, are things that cannot be proven by weights and measures. The other strange thing there are very few, very few things that satisfy the definition of certain.
So what to do.
Doubt serves a purpose. One that is integral to our humanity.
And the truth is, your going to believe in something, you gonna have faith. Of some kind.
Yes I’ve gotta have faith…
Mmm, I gotta have faith
‘Cause I gotta have faith, faith, faith
I gotta have faith-a-faith-a-faith
(Yes, George Michael did sing in my head at that moment.)
Faith doesn’t mean you check your intellect in and go blindly into the unbelievable. But it’s just as bad to buy into a philosophy that says the only value of life is in being certain.
I happened to be talking to a messianic Jew the other day (a messianic Jew is one that believes Christ is the Messiah and yet remains faithful to the customs and culture of Jewish practice). We were walking our dinner off. We were talking about the difference in our religions. We are talking about the doubts we each have. Walking slowly he turned to me, his eyes old, one not working so well as the other, and said “There is no faith without doubt.”
“True that,” I thought, an idiom I had first heard my Jake use. “True that.”