Monday, September 19, 2016

On Doubt

  1. 1.
    a feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction.
    "some doubt has been cast upon the authenticity of this account"
    synonyms:uncertainty, unsureness, indecisionhesitation, dubiousness, suspicionconfusion;More

  1. 1.
    feel uncertain about.
    "I doubt my ability to do the job"
  2. 2.
    fear; be afraid of.
    "I doubt not your contradictions"

    Doubts. We all have them. About the future, about the past, about our friends, about our enemies, about ourselves. About the advisability of eating that four day old lamb shawarma and the questionable logic of surfing. We believe but not completely, we trust but not wholly. We doubt God.

    I should know because I am a world class doubter. I am the Muhammed Ali of doubt "I am (without a doubt) the Greatest" doubter of all time. Indeed, I spent a better part of a year living in a mini-van compiling lists of the all the reasons to doubt, curse, mock and hate the Christian God. I schemed and spat at God in my minivan snow cave at -15F when the scheming steamed and the spit froze on contact. I do doubt better than that piker "Doubting" Thomas ever did. As I said, I am - without a doubt - the greatest doubter in the history of Christian doubt. And if you doubt that....well I doubt you do.

    Yet I believe.

    From the very beginning of my consciousness I have been aware of God.  Very early on in life my parents gave me words and concepts that helped me 'see' Him.  Originally my vision of God was very distant - imagine glimpsing an immense slab of stainless steel gleaming in the distance. As I grew up and learned more about God and about the world around me it was as if I drew nearer to the slab. And as I did, I started noticing "stains" or "blemishes" on this "stainless" steel God. I drew even closer - "was that rust?" Even closer, pulling out my magnifying glass:  "Omygosh that is disgusting! How could God allow such things to mar his brilliant surface?"  I felt so betrayed but also so clever - I had figured this God guy out - when I looked at him as a child of course he was all shiny and clean. But when I got a better look at him with the tools and "sophistication" of a 'college graduate' all the rust and decay that was always there began to show. I wasn't interested in this "dirty" God so I fell away. 

    But some time later, for reasons I can't explain, I was compelled to look even closer - to investigate this disgusting 'rusty' corruption on the so called "God" at even greater magnification. To my surprise looking at His "flaws" more carefully didn't make Him uglier, instead it revealed incredible, astounding beauty, like the intricacy of the Iron Oxide tracing patterns on that steel slab. There's a limit to how closely I can look at that steel in this world but people in a position to know tell me that if I could look at it even closer it would reveal incredible beauty and order and if I looked even deeper, eventually that order would resolve at the "magical", quantum level where seemingly everything is possible. The wise ones at church tell me something similar about the infinite God: that while today my simple mind can only comprehend a small part of His special revelation (scripture) and His general revelation (creation), seeing cracks and blemishes everywhere, I believe that all of God and his creation fit together to form a complete, coherent whole. All I lack is the ability to see it, to fully comprehend Him and His purposes. But as I look closer, as I learn more and ultimately as I enter His kingdom I believe I will see and fully understand His "magic" in all its Glory. 

    Indeed He's done it for me already - my early doubts were erased by greater knowledge of Him and His creation only to be replaced by finer grained doubts who in their turn were erased and replaced by even more particular ones.  It's the way of faith and it's His plan to create in us and through us beings far greater and nobler than the most brilliant angel in Heaven.

    Of that I have no doubt.

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