Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Thursday, March 21, 2024

The danger of certainty

I walked through an earthquake once

as the ground shifted beneath my feet

and the world swayed

and all seemed undone


I breathed deeply

when the ground was once again


and I stood on solid ground





I long for certainty

It would be nice to know

That God is there

That Love will win


I would love to be certain

About what is right and wrong


I envy, sometimes

Those who say with certitude

The Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it



It has been said that the opposite of certainty is not doubt

It is openness

It is faith


And I have become certain that certainty

Can be a curse rather than a blessing

And that it is better to question

And struggle

To seek

And explore


Bertrand Russell once said

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”


There is a strength to certainty

But weakness too

The strength of conviction, perhaps

The passion that comes from believing one is right


But with certainty closedness


A refusal to think, to challenge

To change

we indeed need a degree of certainty to get by

but it is also true that too much of the stuff can be lethal


For with the sureness of certainty comes

What can only be called

Arrogance, conceit, haughtiness


I know the truth, you don’t

I am right, you are wrong

I am saved, you are cursed


The earth is 6000 years old

LGBTQI+ people are sin

God hates all who do not believe the way I do


It is unintentional

Perhaps unseen


But it is there

A stolid, cold, cruelness


Blind faith is truly blind

Blind to people

To pain

To the radicality and irrationality

Of that power we often call God


Certainty stops us in our tracks

It keeps us from learning



From seeing God’s new thing


Give us uncertainty, God

Do not allow us to ever, ever

Believe we understand you (beyond that you are love)

Or to believe we speak for you

Or are the repositories of truth

Or the gatekeepers of the kingdom


Keep us questioning









Let us join the man

Who on his knees in the dust

Cried to Jesus


Lord, I believe!

Help my unbelief


Help us believe

Help us question our beliefs

And lead us forward


Into uncertainty

And a fresh and beautiful







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