Monday, November 23, 2009
Popular truths are not always true
It comes as a shock when the majority opinion on something important is in fact, not true. How can this be? Everyone practically believes this and they may be substantially incorrect in their belief.
When such a thought occurs, and the conviction grows, there can follow a difficult decision, to challenge the prevailing opinion, or to doubt your own thinking. This many good folks can't be wrong about something this important.
Test all things, hold fast to that which is true seems to be good advice. For over a decade, along with practically everyone else, we are seeing the testing of many time honored beliefs. I find myself asking two questions whenever I encounter an article or a teaching that challenges my prevailing beliefs. Who is God? What is the Gospel?
I just finished reading "The Doors of the Sea", a theological and philosophical examination of arguments and statements that follows the Indian Ocean Tsunami that occured five years ago next month. A brilliant and erudite theologian from the Eastern Orthodox Church developed some excellent conclusions on God and disasters of this magnitude.
His conclusions were cautious, but I could see that they were directly opposed to the foundational arguments of my upbringing and theological education. They would require me to question one of the bulwarks of my own views of Who God is. Yet, in all honesty they are closely aligned with many of the subtle changes I have seen in my own views on these crucial subjects.
If it sounds as though I am tap dancing around with my words, I am. For if this theologian is correct, my paradigm about God's plan and power might need to be adjusted. Can I handle this? Yes, I can. Will I mess with the comfortable views of my flock? I might have to, or I might just let it percolate for a while. Truth does not demand haste, just hunger.