Is It A Good Thing Certainty About God Is So Damn Uncertain?
by Mike Edwards
It can’t be proven God is real or not. If God is who believers claims, God should be capable of speaking to the hearts of either believers or skeptics. Billions that are convinced there is a loving God cannot be declared definitively irrational or delusional. It is not irrational either to ask if God is real, why doesn’t God clinch the argument by making their Presence obvious?
Claims of certainty is suspect
Just to be certain, total certainty is an illusion because even if God is Truth, we still have to discern what is Truth. For example, there is disagreement if God of the Bible desires preachers or priests be women or gay. Literature requires interpretation. I am convinced so many people are leaving the institutional church, but not God, because of lack of open dialogue. It’s hard to be relational when you are so damn certain!
Is it God’s fault the Bible isn’t clearer?
Even if God dictated the Bible, interpretation is still required. It is often said we best know God according to “biblical truths.” The truth is contrary biblical interpretations exist for many moral issues. See here. What we do with the communication we have, then lack of communication, may be the bigger challenge. Open discussions can steer us away from demanding “supposed truths.”
Uncertainty doesn’t have to lead to chaos or lawlessness
I don’t know any reasonable God or non-God person that doesn’t respect the golden rule in relationships. Certain laws are just common, moral sense. Who doesn’t believe physical or sexual abuse is wrong? Ask a terrorist if you can rape their partner. Immigration laws can be discussed as which are the most caring for the greater good. Different opinions, expressed without physical or verbal aggression, can stand side by side as we continually evaluate the most loving approach.
In God’s defense — intuitions and an open future
God may not get enough credit for communicating through our moral intuitions. Criminals often don’t defend their actions; instead, they deny committing such crimes. Only a perfect or good God is worth believing in! The best way to talk about such a God is comparing to perfect human love. A Creator surely loves in ways God’s creations sense they ought to love others. Problems begin when we stray from common moral sense and insist on our understanding from an inspired Book.
It is natural to think an all-knowing, powerful God has special insights into future outcomes to avoid problems. To say God knows the future suggests a predetermined future which makes freedom nonsensical. God’s plan is not a detailed blueprint but a general one to set us free to love. God can’t tell you if the person you want to marry won’t end up betraying you or the job you take won’t end up being phased out. God joins us in an open future. God deals as much with uncertainty as we do, as not even an all-powerful God can know a free, undetermined future.
God’s directness didn’t always inspire belief
God dropped manna from the sky and separated the Red Sea to escape one’s enemy, but the Israelites still did not believe or at least put their total trust in God. God even came in person but Jesus’ miracles did not obtain the results some may suggest if God would stop hiding.
Where has certainty gotten us?
It is logical to suggest we can’t be totally certain what an invisible, inaudibly God thinks, but supposed certainty according to a Book has led to justifying slavery and other atrocities. Certainty has led to condemning gays though scholars, who accept Scriptures as authoritative, don’t agree the Bible disapproves of same-gender loving, monogamous, consensual relationships. Women, though gifted, are denied entrance into the priesthood or pastorate in God’s name. Uncertainty not certainty about God, unless talking about obvious evil such as beheading infidels, protects against imposing beliefs on others in God’s name. Honest, open dialogues allow continually evaluating what a loving God is like.
Uncertainty about God may be out of love
God’s awing or overpowering presence may only lead to fearful obligations to obey. Relationships that require more faith and trust due to the unknown may reach greater heights. Is our love in human relationships greater when we have to trust than know for certain what the future holds together? When parents push their agendas, even if in their child’s best interest, they may resent or rebel against coercion and never turn back. If God communicates in less demonstrative ways, this may allow for heartfelt choices. The road traveled of learning, reflecting, and non-coerced choices may best lead to lasting convictions. Moral knowledge isn’t hidden. Amoral decisions are open. Maybe God speaks to us in non-dramatic ways out of love!
Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like He can be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org