One thing that continues to puzzle me is the “I’m right, you’re wrong” and “If you don’t believe as I do you are an idiot” attitude that so many use to paint their worldviews.
When I tell my wife that she is the most beautiful woman in the history of the world, intellectually I know that physically and historically this is not a fact. Nonetheless, for me, it is true, at many levels. Holding such a belief influences how I “see” her in my world, her thoughts and opinions, and how I behave in relationship with her.
Now, if someone would stick their face into mine and start to list off all the reasons why I’m an idiot for believing such an obviously wrong thing, I would probably get a touch irritated. If, however, this same someone would respect my belief and inquire as to why I find such beauty in my wife, I would most happily expound at great length on her beauty. I further expect that we would both profit, in some way, from such an exchange even though there is a vast difference between what we each see as truth.
I find comfort and joy in what I believe to be true without having to anchor it into absolute, inerrant, factual TRUTH. Furthermore, the factual basis of my wife’s beauty changes as we grow and mature together. This may alter how I perceive her beauty, but does not alter my vision of the truth of her beauty.
I view my beliefs in Jesus/God much the same way. There is mounting “evidence” that the factual basis that founded Christianity is, indeed, not historically factual. I have spent considerable time reading about such issues and find many of them credible. Rather than dash my spirituality against the rocks, however, such evidence liberated my spirituality. No longer did I find it necessary to war against the doubts that plagued my prior relationship with Jesus/God. I can now focus on the beauty within the story. It is a story of love, grace, and compassion for all people. The historical factual basis of the story pales to relative insignificance against the grandeur and scope of the beauty within the story.
Such an understanding has profoundly affected my spiritual worldview–a shift from “I’m right, you’re wrong” to “I’m right, you’re right.” There is beauty in all our stories, a diversity of beliefs that builds strength and wisdom within our societies and within each of us. Humanity would be impoverished without them.