By Mike Edwards
The U.S. is obviously divided as a nation politically — immigration, climate control, economics, energy policy, vaccine mandates, abortion. In the Christian church you have those “done” with the Institution (building) but not God. I suggested previously the main reason for such division is the fear of uncertainty which leads to claiming certainty. See here. In politics we don’t have disagreements but conspiracists. In religion we don’t have disagreements but heretics.
Why might we fear uncertainty?
Certainty rather than uncertainty comforts individuals psychologically. One may believe the seemingly certain narrative — vaccine benefits outweigh the risks — because unknowing can create anxiety. Disagreeing with the popular science narrative can lead to being ostracized. Disagreeing with church leadership can lead to isolation and loneliness. It doesn’t matter if those who proclaim certainty have good intentions or believe their ideas are best for society. They may be wrong! When universal agreement doesn’t exist — such as the evil of sexual abuse — it should be inherently obvious that one must be allowed to form their own opinions since uncertainty exists.
What are the consequences of avoiding uncertainty?
We can’t read the hearts of those who proclaim certainty and thwart disagreement. But when only one side is presented, control and power grow intentionally or unintentionally. It should be intuitive denying diverse opinions is unloving and controlling. Most don’t except such behaviors in their personal relationships. As mentioned, believing you are right for the whole doesn’t matter when certainty isn’t obvious. A refusal to openly discuss or defend one’s views, even to avoid anxiety, is a denial of personal choice and suggests an unhealthy dependency on “certainty.”
What principles can guide us during uncertainty?
We must be guided by core principles such as freedom and love. You want your views accepted? Accept the views of others. You want to be supported to make your own decisions freely when there is uncertainty? Respect the rights of others to do the same. Taking the vaccine or not is one’s own health decision. Stop labeling opposing political views as anti-science. Stop labeling those who disagree with your biblical interpretations as heretics. Can you imagine how different our nation would be if religious and political folks were open to discussions for the common goal of pursing the greater good? When policy must be made for a whole, a voting democratic society surely is more humane and less dangerous than an authoritarian government style.
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