Those who are obsessed, as I am, with questions about what is greater than us often assume that the most important question is “Does God exist?” I submit that an even more problematic question is “What if God does exist, but has character traits entirely different from those we project heavenward?”
The post as a whole focuses on the measures that human beings take to avoid thinking about such possibilities. Our thinking in simplistic dichotomies is sometimes a convenient way of dismissing those who disagree with us. But sometimes at least, it may be that we exclude third, fourth, and fifth options without mention or consideration not merely for the sake of simplicity, but because we cannot bring ourselves to even contemplate the possibility that they might be worth taking seriously, never mind perhaps be true.
I am not persuaded that we need to shield ourselves from a reality about existence that is too horrifying to accept. But I am persuaded that we constantly embrace an overconfident stance about reality in order to shield ourselves from the discomfort of our ignorance and uncertainty.Humble recognition of the human condition as described above ought to be part of the fabric of any form of Christianity, but especially one that claims to be progressive and open. Yet very often, those of us who self-identify as progressive or liberal may be just as dogmatic and overconfident as those we disagree with.
In my view, it is crucial to adopt a different approach to knowledge, faith, and truth, and not just an opposing stance on particular theological, economic, and/or political matters. The route of taking alternatives to our own viewpoint as fully seriously as they deserve is radically different from one that may indeed acknowledge the existence of multiple alternative viewpoints to their own, but dismiss them as quickly as they might have done with just one.
Of related interest, see Sheila Kennedy’s post about dangerous feedback loops.