Living with uncertainty

From time to time I like to veer a little bit from the objective and philosophical to subjective, introspective posts. I hope the readers of this blog can indulge me a bit once again.

I don’t write this to be vain (as will hopefully be obvious), but for a good chunk of my school-life I’ve had the reputation of being the “brainer” or what-have-you. I’m definitely the type of person who likes to be alone more than in social settings, I like to read a lot, and I think about “deep” things (as people have said to me) a lot.

Often along with that reputation, at least in circles which care about theology, politics, philosophy, and the like, comes an appearance of being certain of what I believe. I’m sure I often reinforce that to outsiders.

But to be honest, I’d have to say there’s very little I have 100% certainty about, and only a very few things I have a great degree of certainty about.

In the recent past, I can remember struggling with the following issues off the top of my head (and when I say struggling, I mean anything from just not knowing what is true to severe emotional distress): Calvinism (i.e., monergism and “divine determinism”), the problem of evil, pacifism, economics, evolution, sexual ethics (including both the “gay issue” and the “gender issue”), inerrancy, infant baptism, the Trinity, Christology, and eschatology. If you didn’t notice, those subjects cover just about every issue I’ve posted on in the past few years. I often write about these issues because I’m thinking about them, but I think about them often because I’m not completely sure what is true about them.

For better or for worse, I think this will probably be the way it is for me for the rest of my life. I have a temperment of “perfectionism” (at least, that’s what my fiancĂ©e tells me), and thus am rarely satisfied with arguments and positions that I take, which leads to uncertainty. I know this sounds an awful lot like the people James describes, i.e., “like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind”, or as Paul puts it, “tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine,” but for the life of me I don’t know how to be any other way. Perhaps God will show me some day, but for now I just keep struggling along. This may, and probably will, give people reason to discount me or my arguments, but I figure being honest is ultimately the better way to come to the truth with people, instead of pretending to have no biases and simply being a rational seeker-after-truth.

Maybe this will help someone else. If not, thanks for your indulgence anyway.