One may expect since I am writing a blog with a spiritual slant, that I might suggest our greatest problem is lack of belief in God. I am not convinced. Belief in God didn’t keep many from endorsing slavery and other evils. Belief or lack of belief in God is no excuse for violating the inborn rights of others. I am convinced claiming “certainty” is what divides us as a people.
Certainty is comforting but an illusion
The truth that humans can’t be all-knowing is under-appreciated. Universal immoralities are obvious (murder, sexual abuse), but some truth can be found in opposing views concerning climate concerns, immigration, pandemic responses, etc. Some argue for climate control measures without consideration how human flourishing and livability in the world as a whole may decline. Only one supposed certain interpretation of the Bible would suggest women cannot serve as priests or pastors. Diverse opinions in the pursuit of truth may lead to the most caring for the greater good.
Why might we fear uncertainty?
Certainty rather than uncertainty comforts individuals psychologically. One may believe the seemingly certain narrative – vaccine benefits outweigh the risks – because unknowing can create anxiety. Disagreeing with the popular narrative may also lead to being ostracized. Disagreeing with church leadership can lead to isolation and loneliness. It doesn’t matter if those who proclaim certainty have good intentions or believe their ideas for best for society. They may be wrong! It should be inherently obvious that one must be allowed to form their own opinions when not harming others.
We must learn to disagree in pursing the most caring decision for all involved
I left the institutional church, but not God, because others wouldn’t engage in non-dogmatic conversations. Certainty – we can’t even know if God exist – led to divisions. Few will engage in political discussions as a way to understand one another. It may not be due to close-mindedness but to avoid anxiety. We must be able to debate climate, immigration laws, and what a loving God would truly think about gays, women roles, and other matters that impact millions of lives. Let’s:
- Have open discussions and avoid demanding “supposed truths”
- Learn to respond not react over our differences
- Seek areas to agree first
- First understand before being understood
- Stop demonizing by moralizing
- Stop canceling others’ opinions when it comes to pursuing best decisions
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