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Spots, Sights and Sounds

It's hard to be sure of anything

by Christian Michael

June 03, 2013

History can’t always be trusted. Even the best of history books can be questioned. Majorities don’t always rule, and victors rarely report their own behavior in a conflict accurately. Debates rage and numbers are interpreted differently, sources are competed and notions challenged. Whole ages of mankind come into question, and as sure as I am of God’s relationship with me and his existence, I sometimes question if the way I know him, seek him and adhere to him is the right way.

I think I’ve lost my arrogance on faith. I can tell you with confidence that God has made a real impact in my life, and I have faith he will continue to do so. But there is much I’m not so sure about, even after reading the Bible. I will still follow my convictions, and I will share how they have made a positive impact in my life, but the last thing I’ll advocate is forcing or bullying anyone else into believing what I believe.

Life is uncertain. There’s no real way around that. The older I get, the less certain I get about most things.

At the same time, I grow more comfortable what I feel confident in knowing and what I don’t feel confident in knowing. I’ve heard it said that getting older is really about being comfortable with what you don’t know — or something to that effect.

Facts never seem so sure, anymore. I have science friends who tell me their entire worlds were rocked when one of Einstein’s theories was proven incorrect. They had built their world on information that was later proven either not to be true, or at least not true in a manner they expected.

How much in our lives do we attempt to anchor a foundation for stability only to have it ripped out from under us? Is it that we choose poor foundations? Or that, perhaps, there’s no single foundation upon which we can wholly depend?

darwin_awardI might agree with both, to a point. I think people, absolutely, are terrible at selecting good foundations for their lives. They choose weak relationships with undependable people, shoddy careers or hobbies dependent either on cash flow or physical ability. People constantly choose things that are bad for them. They select the quick and the shallow instead of the deep and meaningful, largely because of a severe difference in understanding and a lack of legacy passed from previous generations who actually learned the lesson.

But humans are nothing if not masters at forgetting everything their ancestors ever learned. We revel in “learning it for ourselves,” practically spitting in the face of thousands of years of hard-earned wisdom by our predecessors, but shed quickly for the youthful arrogance of “I know what I’m doing, dad.”

And this isn’t entirely about the arrogance of youth, but the general inability for anyone, adult or youth, to truly ever grasp the actual entirety of anything.

Every career learned can be quickly forgotten, every principle turned on its head, every potential fact buffeted by other equally equivocal pieces of information that threaten any individual interpretation of events.

Trusting anyone on anything just seems risky.

It doesn’t excuse my general lack of interest in just about anything. I like to stay in my lane, don’t push too hard into things other people know, and try, instead, to focus on the principles of wisdom by which all other facts and information are employed to help people find the most pertinent truth to their situation, to the extent it can be found or understood.

For me, despite all my doubts, the principles of wisdom and faith — often the same thing — stand out as the most important of things to learn, leading to a healthy approach to all other things in life, with a trust that God above me doesn’t need me to understand everything to be a difference in my life and create a difference in the lives of others.

Faith, above all, is about the principles of human nature and interactions with others. We can debate how much technology has or had not impacted the need for belief in a higher power, but I’m more inclined to believe human nature doesn’t change, that whether we’re using wood clubs or smart phones, humans still basically rely on the same things, have the same needs, and related to each other in the same cultural ties we always have.

Learn what you can, but trust little. Love most!


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