I came across these tweets by Holly Fletcher on twitter and felt the need to expound upon them here. For much of my life I was convinced that if I shifted my belief on any one point then my whole faith would collapse. And I guess for myself that became true, but I feel that was also a side effect of how I was raised.
I grew up homeschooled and in a pretty fundamentalist church. Where every belief or aspect of life had to have a biblical reason for it. I’ve mentioned my homeschool curriculum before and answers in genesis, but I feel like they also demonstrate this belief so well.
They (AIG) posit that if one point of the bible is able to be doubted on its historical accuracy then the whole of scripture must be ignored. I heard the same type of point mentioned within my church. It was taught that the bible is the only dependable source of truth and instruction. And ONLY within the bible can we find a source of instruction.
Everything hinges on you being able to fully and completely trust the bible. It is god’s literal words. And there is no room for discussion around interpretation, or if the bible is to be interpreted in a literal manner. The truth has been found. The answer for every question you could hope to have.
The complicated answers to life. They’ve been answered, clearly written out for you in scripture. Abortion, LGBTQ+, and marriage / divorce they’ve all been clearly assigned an answer by your religious affiliation. You can fully and completely trust the answers you’ve been given because you KNOW 100% that they are based on scripture and therefore given to you directly from god.
And I know this can vary based on what denomination or background you have, but I’m speaking about Christian fundamentalism here. With a focus on those believing in a “god breathed” and literalist view of scripture. The big words people like to use are infallible and inerrant. Basically stating that scripture is correct in everything it teaches and that scripture is incapable of error.
If you start to doubt on any one of these issues, then the whole of scripture and your denomination’s teachings come into question. You can’t waiver or change your opinion on any topic that is being taught as a biblical truth by your denomination. The bible has spoken and it is truth, do not try to try to question it. If the bible could be outdated or irrelevant in any one area then it calls your whole system of belief into question.
A small step out of those strict guidelines can be scary especially to someone who grew up with that security of definitive beliefs and worldviews. Leaving that surety behind may force you to reevaluate your entire world view. But I promise it’s worth it.
One thought on “The Problem of Certainty”
I used to believe that nothing could be questioned, too. Then in my teenage years I realised that if God is threatened by any of my questions, He / She / They aren’t a God I can believe in. Thankfully (for me), He / She / They aren’t (as far as I know), so I’m still a Christian who now embraces doubt and uncertainty as part of my search for ever greater understanding.
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