Saturday, January 19, 2008

Conviction is a beguiling poison.

Conviction is a beguiling poison.
From the faithful to the free-thinkers, and all the flavors sandwiched in between, complete certainty, in your cause, in your faith (or lack thereof), in your way of life, entirely negates the purpose of belief.
Belief is a pathway, a lifestyle, a guiding light. When you cement shut your mind to all other options, that gentle, fickle, flickering flame is suffocated by neglect and the mind settles into a predictable pattern. Metaphorical mold and mildew fester, the flies gather, and growth, intellectual and spiritual, sputters to a stop. And there, where open-mindedness takes its leave, tension crescendos into a bloody, pulpy fist fight of faith.
I believe there is no such thing as educated certainty, especially when the topic unabashedly sashays onto the topic of the unholy G-word. From one corner of the ring we have the self-declared “Brights,” a horde of angry atheists out to kill that devilish deity from up above, and in the other we have the Fundamentalist Faithful, a similarly obnoxious band of close-minded young earth creationists.
Between these two exceptionally vocal extremes lies the majority of the human race. Most of us are left bewildered at these bias-based brawls, and occasionally disgusted by the utter dogmatism and hypocrisy of both teams’ claims. The Christians fail when they pull out slurs and stale prejudices – nothing can possibly be less Christ-like than an avalanche of antagonized abuses. And the Angry Atheists, those so painfully adamant in their profession that all their opponents are close-minded and hypocritically dogmatic, are merely describing themselves.
When all the turmoil boils down, no one is right. In such a sensitive and controversial and eternal clash of creeds, no one can go home at the end of the day rightfully in the fog of comfortable conviction. When dealing with the existence or non-existence of a God that is beyond even the farthest stretch of human reality or reason or comprehension, especially when you try to explain it, or explain it away, using these most insufficient human weapons, all it accomplishes is making the debaters look silly and the audience uncomfortable.
There can be no doubt without an open mind, and there can be no faith without doubt. When doubt dies, all that’s left is a feeble mantra of memorization – nothing more than a wolf in wool.
Whatever I believe, whatever you believe, whatever any of us have believed or will believe or could believe – there is no place for certainty where truth may be sought.

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