December 9, 2012

Fallible and Ignorant in a Puzzle

Posted in atheism at 8:39 am by Jerry


I REMEMBER struggling, as a christian, over the subjectivity of one’s own mind. I struggled with the basic facts that we are fallible and ignorant. And my response was: how do I know anything I believe is true? I can make a mistake about my beliefs and/or I might lack crucial information that would drastically change my perceptions of reality (or as I use to call reality: “The Puzzle”).

It’s like trying to count all the stars at night. What are the chances you over-looked or imagined a bunch of stars that were or were not there? And who said you could actually see all the stars that are out there anyway?!

There were many times when I was humbled by another believer’s insightful knowledge. And, the more I read from thoughtful believers about the faith we shared, the more I realized how little I knew and didn’t understand about what I thought I knew. And yet, I had so much to teach!

More and more, I became uncertain about many of my religious convictions. I became less attached to them as I use to be, some more so than others. After all, I felt I needed to prepare myself to let a belief go if I was shown by others skilled in the knowledge of the bible/theology that I was wrong.

But I wasn’t gonna hand over every belief of mine to be tested. Not just yet. I maintained my belief in God and the bible as God’s revelation. Even though I didn’t know how I could justify those beliefs. All I could say was: “I just know because I have faith“. And then I would find myself struggling over the subjectivity of one’s own mind, again.

Sure, I wasn’t the only person who said their faith gave them knowledge, but everyone’s faith is different. And, more likely then not, one’s divine knowledge contradicted with another’s divine knowledge (much like the writers of the bible). So, I reminded myself that no one has all the pieces of “The Puzzle”. But that reminder didn’t make it easier for me to preach across the pulpit about the meaning of one Puzzle piece without knowing what the whole Puzzle is about.

Then I wondered: how does God, even God, know the whole Puzzle if The Puzzle is never finished? After all, The Puzzle is always changing over time. And even if there was a beginning and end to The Puzzle, and therefore time itself, wouldn’t there also be a beginning and end to God?

“But God is beyond time,” is the cliche conclusive response I’m use to hearing in the church. But they couldn’t explain to me what that statement, they used, actually meant.

Time is the measurement between the beginning and end of a movement. If God is beyond time, then God is beyond movement. How can a non-moving God be alive? And how does a non-moving God create anything?!


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