When Rachel Held Evans shared these words on Facebook, I was immediately struck by how well they encapsulated a crucial point, and thoughts they should become a meme. Here’s the context:
It’s hard for me to admit when I’m wrong. It’s partly my personality, partly good-old-fashioned sinful pride, partly just what it means to be human. But I’ve been thinking today it’s also got something to do with this lingering sense that God punishes us for being wrong. Growing up, I heard a lot of Christians say that if we get our theology wrong, if we make mistakes in how we understand the Trinity or atonement or religious pluralism, we risk getting spewed out of God’s mouth and sent straight to hell for all of eternity. (I didn’t pick this up from my parents so much as the broader religious culture. My parents always spoke of God in loving, parental terms, and they approached their own faith & theology with great humility.) It’s a frightful thing – thinking you have to get God right in order to get God to love you, thinking you’re always one error away from damnation. It’s a kind of legalism, really. And to this day, I fight like hell to prove I’m right about religion and politics, partly because in the back of mind I sense there are dire consequences to being wrong. How ironic. The very condition of humanity is to be wrong about God. The moment we figure God out, God ceases to be God. Maybe it’s time to embrace the mystery and let ourselves off the hook.
– Rachel Held Evans