I believe that it’s OK to be uncertain about the big questions in life.
I was raised in a very conservative Christian faith, and I remain a churchgoer to this day. I find comfort in the familiarity of the services and traditions in which I partake, and I enjoy the sense of family I get when I’m there. But, it’s clear that many of my church friends adhere to a strict, literal interpretation of the Bible, and they assume that any good member of the church must do the same.
I studied biology in school, and currently work in an office filled with scientists of all types, many of whom have little or no regard for any kind of religious beliefs. On more than one occasion I’ve had people incredulously ask me how a person with my background can waste time with old superstitions.
I find myself constantly torn between the two groups. Do I think that the earth is just a few thousand years old, and that the diverse living things that populate our planet were created in an instant, just as they are? Of course not. The evidence to the contrary is overwhelmingly clear. But do I believe that there is nothing more to this grand universe of ours than what we can see and measure and prove with equations and experiments? No, I find that equally unacceptable.
It’s taken me a long time to accept the fact that I can just say “I don’t know” to answer both sides of this debate. Why are we here? I don’t know. What is the nature of what I think of as God? I don’t know. Why is there so much suffering in the world? I don’t know. What happens when we die? I don’t know.
It isn’t easy in our world of instant access to information to be comfortable with such indecision. And I don’t mean to imply that I’m content to remain in ignorance about things, unwilling to ask the hard questions. I never want to stop learning and growing as a person. I’m proud to have friends ranging from atheists to Christian ministers who – even if they don’t realize it – constantly challenge me to examine my views on topics from the mundane to the grandiose. I admire the fact that members of both groups are so sure about everything. I only hope that they remain patient with me as I perch on the fence between their worldviews, teetering back and forth depending on the subject at hand.
I believe in uncertainty.
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