I meant—and mean—to challenge the version of Christianity that says we’re called, above all, to play it safe, only letting in the thoughts and ideas that fit easily into our supposedly Christian belief grid, as if there are certain confessions of honest confusion or doubt our faith is the one which insists (or at least strongly implies) that fear is the heart of love, to borrow Ben Gibbard’s phrase. And it is this version I see critiqued most radically in the life of Jesus.
Against the psychic oppression of a Christianity that would keep us dishonest and afraid, I want to announce the good news that the God who exists, the God in Whom I believe, never calls anyone to play-act or pretend or to silence their own concerns about what’s true. I want to chase off the spirits that render us incapable of seeing truthfully for fear that we might let in the wrong information, as if God might be mad angry and insecure by an archaeological dig, a scientific discovery, an ancient manuscript, a Christ-like atheist or a good film about homosexual cowboys. If we think we have faith, because we faithfully protect ourselves from anything that might call it into question—as if God is counting on us to keep ourselves stupid, closed off to the complexity of the world we’re in—I’d like to argue that we don’t have faith in God at all. We have faith in our own faith rather than the God who transcends it, faith in a faith that will somehow save us. Not faith in God, but faith in a false god of our own conceptions, a god too afraid to entertain a question or a doubt.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Facing doubt to find genuine faith
Excerpt from "How honesty about your doubt can save your life" by David Dark in the July/August issue of Relevant magazine. It is relevant beyond just Christianity...