exploring uncertainty

by Barnabas Powell 

“A recent Op-Ed piece in the New York Times concerning String Theory in physics ends with this profoundly religious comment: “Exploring the unknown requires tolerating uncertainty.”

This is exactly the power of humility and also the power of faith.

When we humans, as prideful as we are, become willing to tolerate uncertainty, all kinds of possibilities open up for us. We become open to wonder and awe, both indispensable attitudes when contemplating the invitation by Christ to an intimate relationship with the Uncreated God.

The philosophical notions of the so-called Enlightenment tended to have an undeserved confidence in Human reason to grasp the nature of reality based solely on a naturalistic mentality. Can anyone look at the 20th century and doubt the poverty of that confidence?

But the nature of a faith-inspired understanding of reality offers us a way to hold to confidence in the face of an admitted uncertainty. People of an authentic and historically informed faith can readily admit to not actually “knowing” if this or that dogma is “true” but in the same breath confidently declaring that they “believe” it is true, with no philosophical or epistemological discomfort!

A wise Orthodox Christian father once said that God is beyond both existence and non-existence. How can anyone actually say that unless they have made peace with uncertainty?”

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2 thoughts on “exploring uncertainty

  1. Good to see you back on the grid! Was getting worried there for a while.

    Thank you for this post. Timely as i was recently hit with the fact that although i can embrace mystery i do not AT ALL enjoy uncertainty. hmm. I’ll rephrase that. Although i so very much love and value the mysteriousness of God’s character, His will, His creation i have the Evangelical mindset of KNOWING truth (dogma). Uncertainty is one of the many uncomfortable “liberal” notions that makes Orthodoxy hard to jump into. I’ve since (like this morning!!) learned that i can come to know more Truth laterally instead of taking it head on.

    Cheers and welcome back to the blogosphere!

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