Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The more I know, the less I know

If you have everything figured out, don’t bother to read any further. Just tell everyone who asks that you didn’t need to read this column. There are much better uses of your time.

If, on the other hand, you still sometimes wonder if you really do have much grasp on reality, welcome to humanity! Even Bishop N.T. Wright, one of the leading theologians of our time, tells his students that he is wrong one-third of the time; he just never knows which third it is!

I sometimes provoke discussion on controversial topics by starting with the claim that “You ought to agree with me on this, because I am right!” On many of these same topics, I know my own understanding has changed over the years, sometimes even reversed itself. I handle this by saying “I am just more right now than I used to be.’

Honestly, one really can’t help but think one is right; it is impossible to make a claim about what one believes and believe it to be wrong at the same time. Therefore, my claims to “rightness” are really not egotistical at all, but merely an admission that I am, in fact, thinking.

The more I grow as a Christian, though, the more I realize I have yet to learn. Sometimes when I learn new things they fit well with what I have already come to know. Sometimes, though, learning new things tears down matters and patterns of belief that I thought were settled.

For the foreseeable future, I will be preaching Sunday mornings on paradoxes of the Christian faith. There are many things we don’t, won’t, and can’t entirely figure out. This used to concern me. Now I am ok with it, but I cannot rest from trying.

If there is one thing I know for sure, it is that we need one another to get things figured out.

8 Comments:

At 2:11 PM, Blogger Coweta Living Center said...

You must be right because I agree with you.

 
At 2:45 PM, Blogger Richard H said...

My problem is that I want to be right. I also believe that arguing is a better way to test the things I'd like to be right about than the approach of mere acceptance. Many people around me think arguing is bad - maybe even evil.

 
At 2:51 PM, Blogger Steve Heyduck said...

That's your problem? How is wanting to be right a problem? I would think, rather, that denying one wants to be right is a problem.

Arguing. Iron sharpens iron, right? Arguing in the context of a relationship, arguing that refuses to resort to ad hominem attacks, healthy arguing can and should make us think more deeply and carefully.

 
At 11:34 AM, Blogger gmw said...

"I sometimes provoke discussion on controversial topics by starting with the claim that “You ought to agree with me on this, because I am right!” On many of these same topics, I know my own understanding has changed over the years, sometimes even reversed itself. I handle this by saying “I am just more right now than I used to be.’"

Funny. I'll have to try that. And, yes, I tend to think I'm right because I'm thinking about it and want to think and act rightly. Maybe I'll try Bishop NT's approach. So we should skip every third book of his, huh? That would help me catch up!

 
At 2:44 PM, Blogger J. Scott McKay said...

Have any of you read Weatherhead's "The Christian Agnostic?

He says to not let our lack of belief or understanding hamper faith. We should put it in a place unti more light can be shed on the subject.

 
At 10:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the thoughts Steve. I am considering a blog myself. any suggestions, Allen

 
At 7:22 AM, Blogger Michael said...

Very good post. I find myself wanting to be "right" for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is that by being "right" I may be at least on the "right" path and moving in the "right" direction.

I'll have to get back to you on the other (it would be more of a confession!!).

 
At 12:02 PM, Blogger Conrad said...

Sometimes the more we know, the more we know that we don't know.

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home