Foggy Faith

Foggy faith messy Bible quote

Emma Higgs writes (in one post from a series the entirety of which is worth reading):

As it turns out, diving all the way in to my deepest doubts and fears hasn’t led me away from Christianity, but instead has revealed a richness and beauty to the Christian faith I had never known. It now resonates on a much deeper level, and seems to speak more profound truth than it ever did before.

This sort of faith can be difficult and frustratingly foggy at times, but it has an honesty and authenticity that allows it to exist comfortably alongside my skepticism. It allows me to fully engage my brain as well as my heart, and isn’t so easily shaken when faced with the inevitable tough questions.

Emma Higgs, “Faith in the Fog: Making Peace with the Messiness of the Bible.”

Have you found this to be true? All human worldviews are imperfect approximations of reality, open to disturbance and disruption from data that doesn’t fit with our attempt to make reality manageable through oversimplification. There is a peace that comes with being honest about this characteristic of all human worldviews, and seeking to view disruptive information as something welcome that will allow us to revise and improve our perspective. Ironically, it is the discomfort and lack of peace that contradictory information brings to the fundamentalist who needs to feel certain, which leads such individuals to reject this more honest approach to faith, and to prefer feeling certain while remaining inevitably both wrong and unteachable.

Of related interest, see the post from last year on Unfundamentalist Christians, about the need for Christians to be honest about biblical contradictions. And of related to that, there is a site dedicated to exploring contradictions within the Bible – some of which are substantial and some of which are questionable. I’ve added it to the list of Useful Sites that I maintain here on this blog.

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  • John MacDonald

    This reminds me of what Plato said about the essence of Philosophy. Plato said we walk down the path that our guiding perspective illuminates for us until we come to a block in the path, an ἀπορία, and experience wonder, θαυμάζειν, that our guiding perspective has led to a block in the path. We realize that there is a surplus beyond our guiding perspective, something beyond our guiding perspective that our guiding perspective can’t assimilate (beyond being, the ἰδέα του ἀγαθοῦ), that compels us to rethink our guiding perspective and follow the muse down a new path. The “muse” is the phenomenological expression for the idea that inspiration and insight aren’t simply the result of our rigorous ratiocinations, but require a “being-giveness,” as anyone stuck in writer’s block who suddenly became inspired can attest, or someone who has stayed up all night with no success trying to solve a problem, when suddenly the answer “comes” to them, εὕρηκα. There is an openness and receptivity to creativity beyond sheer effort and will.

  • AWRM

    Yes… I have had the same experience. My Christian faith was nurtured in a rather cultish and dogmatic environment -which actually wasn’t a completely bad thing for a preppy kind of guy – but as I started to read more and learn more from the Bible and became more established in my relationship with God, I became more secure in my faith. I started to tell God what I really think instead of what I think I’m supposed to think. I believe God is thrilled when we get honest with him and it leads to a deeper understanding… or sometimes the acknowledgement that we have to agree to disagree. He created me to have my own thoughts and ideas and even imparted some modicum of intelligence and I when I employ those in my relationship with Him/Her, our friendship is more authentic and enjoyable!

  • Brandon Roberts

    glad it has