Thursday, February 7, 2008

Call It for What It Is

I wish I could go back to the way things used to be. Growing up I was taught the historic truths of Christianity--things that were undebatable and absolute. I read books and went to Bible studies that proved the existence of God and gave undeniable evidence for the Christian faith. I remember feeling humbled, fortunate, and empowered because I was one of the few who really knew the truth. I felt compelled to prove to both friends and strangers that Jesus is the way. And that's what was important to me--proving Christianity--and I genuinely believed that I could succeed.

Later on, I remember getting frustrated when things stopped being so clear. There were debates among Christians in my hometown about baptism, predestination and salvation that shook up my neatly framed theological world. I began to realize that the tidy little explanations that used to explain everything actually didn't explain anything at all. Things that I had once known with certainty started to become fuzzy and gray. The theological masterpiece that I had been given in my youth turned out to be little more than a simple paint-by-number.

What I've come to realize is that Christianity at its core is non-rational (i.e., not based on reason). That really should be an obvious statement, but it came as a surprise to me. If faith were something that could be arrived at through reason, those proofs from my childhood would have worked--but that's not what faith is all about. I can't step logically from cogito ergo sum to crucifixus etiam pro nobis.
I can't prove Christianity. I can't prove salvation. I can't prove God.

And that's frustrating. I could pretend that it's actually wonderful because it allows me the opportunity to show God how committed I am--or something like that--but that would be a lie. Really, I just find it frustrating. I don't like that faith is something I can't wrap my head around. I don't like that it's all shades of gray. But that's all I've got to work with--something that is unclear, uncertain, and unresolvable.

What it all boils down to is that all the evidence, arguments, and proofs in the world can't help me make the leap of faith. I guess I just have to call it for what it is: Christianity is non-rational.


  1. I should clarify the first sentence:

    The reason I want to go back to how things used to be is because it was so much simpler. Ignorance was bliss.

  2. "Ignorance was bliss." I knew what you meant, Matt. I am finding that ignorance, as you had referred to , is becoming my ally. Ignorance has become my friend for it is now a medium by which I can humbly admit that there is so little that I really 'know' with any rational certainty. It has helped me to realize the importance of approaching God with the fulness of who I am and all that it entails: my whole personhood. I trust that the latent God whom I am seeking after is personal (and then much more, I am sure), and calls me toward "Himself" in a relational manner. In the moments that I most yearn to be with this supposed relational God I find that, deep down, I actually experience a closenss with God that is quite unlike I have experienced with any other corporeal being. And yet, this 'happens' as I have risked moving toward this God whom I am not sure I have truly ever met as an external objective reality. My own subjective nature with all that it consists of speaks to me, it seems, as if there is an objective God with whom I am relating, and yet in such a way that I am aware that I am not the one who is actually initiating the contact. My ignorance allows me to approach this God as a child might, and trust that His character and understanding of my littleness eclipses whatever faulty rationalizing I might engage in. My newfound ignorance assures me that my questioning, curiosity, and the acknowledgement of my inability to capture the answers I seek are all indicators of the kind of being that I was created to be. I am more, so much more, than mind alone. I am a whole person with whom this God desires to relate with at the deepest recesses of my being. This will have to do, at least for now, because the only thing I am certain of is my own existence. Everything else is an approximation appropriated by faith, and I might add, ignorance.


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