By Mike Edwards
We must first accept something to be questionable when rational people have a different opinion than yours, whether it be scientific or biblical truths. Many have insisted on a literal Hell according to the Bible and suggested you must repent and have faith in Jesus to go to Heaven or then you go to Hell. But many who respect the Bible don’t believe the Bible confirms a literal Hell. See here. The Bible may not say as much about Heaven as one may think. See here. Is it more comforting to believe what our leaders are teaching than to question and be uncertainty about such matters as the afterlife?
Leaders insist on certainty
We hear all the time we need to get back to biblical truths. The problem is leaders and churches don’t agree on moral issues according to the Bible when it comes to Hell, gays, women, those of other religions, etc. There is is less certainty according to the Bible than acknowledged. We are told God and the Bible condemns gays. Many scholars are convinced the Bible doesn’t condemn monogamous same sex relationships. See here. The truth is leaders must stop being so damn certain despite what anxiety or challenges that may cause themselves or others!
Followers expect certainty
Certainty rather than uncertainty comforts individuals psychologically. One may believe the seemingly certain narrative because unknowing can create anxiety. Who doesn’t want to know Heaven is real when actually the Bible says very little about heaven after death but about heaven here on earth. Besides, disagreeing with church leadership and others can lead to isolation and loneliness. It doesn’t matter if those who proclaim certainty have good intentions or believe their ideas are right about God. They may be wrong!
What are the consequences of avoiding uncertainty?
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. Having good intentions by 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 suggests an unhealthy dependency on “certainty.”
Is there any Truth?
Certain absolutes are universal and obvious to all rational beings. Does any reading not believe physical or sexual abuse is wrong? No reasonable God or non-God person doesn’t respect the golden rule in relationships. If one insists they are right and you are wrong, the discussion may need to end. Not all laws are necessarily universal truths such as length of punishment for certain crimes, but at least in a democratic society laws are voted on. Chaos results if the law isn’t followed, though laws can be changed through representation or vote.
How do we deal with uncertainty?
Leaders must be empowered to be open-minded than certain. I left the institutional church due to dogmatism, then constantly be divisive. We can try to engage with those who insist on certainty when it doesn’t exist, but in time one may need to move on. We can stop labeling those who disagree with our biblical interpretations as heretics. We can stop calling those who disagree with our views of science as conspiracists. Imagine how different as a people we would be if religious and political folks were open to discussions for the common goal of pursing the greater good!
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: email@example.com