Merry the Day After Halloween - it's like Boxing Day for candy and you can get pumpkins for nearly free. I dressed up as a kissing booth.......Anyhow, following is an article from a friend who has moved to the UK this year for school. He is also in the process of writing a book on the subject of truth; he would like some of your response to this thought. Enjoy!
It seems like one of Christianity’s favourite topics these days is truth. On a blog such as this, the topic needs little introduction. And so, I’ll skip the introduction.
Whatever you believe truth is, whether you believe in absolute truth or not, there is a deeper question, which is the inevitable product of all of these questions. Should we be certain?
–noun, plural -ties.
1.the state of being certain.
2.something certain; an assured fact.
3.for or of a certainty, certainly; without a doubt: I suspect it, but I don't know it for a certainty.
It has been my experience that most of our questions about truth are actually just a form of this question of certainty. Those who believe in absolute truth are just more certain of ideas. A wise man once said to me, “the only certain thing in the world is that only crazy people are certain.” Is that just a statement of relative truth? Or is it wisdom stemming from a realization of the limits of the human brain?
If in fact it is wrong to be certain of something because we are human, where does that place us in relation to God? Belief is a function of the human brain, and I believe that this function is no different no matter what its target is. Thus, if certainty is not a positive modifier of the function belief, certainty in God cannot be a good thing.
I also believe that faith and trust are synonymous, and that faith has nothing to do with belief unless you are trusting in someone who told you to believe something. I do not see faith as a reason to be certain of God’s existence.
The problem with certainty is that we are always capable of being incorrect. Certainty is what stops us from seeing when we are correct. I once knew a Christian who was so certain that God created the world in six days that she said “I wouldn’t believe in evolution even if you proved it right before my eyes.” She then proceeded to say that her certainty came from her faith in God. The equation, as I see it, is as follows:
Belief + Faith = Certainty
I’m almost certain that is incorrect. But what about this one?
Belief + Proof = Certainty
Or this one:
Belief + Proof = Absolute Truth
I must distinguish the difference between certainty and absolute truth. This is hard to do since in my last blog on absolute truth I discovered that people have three different definitions of the term. Certainty is when your belief is “without a doubt,” in an “assured fact”.
The biggest pro of being certain is that it allows you to develop ideas on a firm foundation. When you are sure something is true, you can then base other ideas on the fact you have already discovered. Also, certainty can be considered necessary in order to have assurance of salvation. The main drawback of certainty is that we are human and could be wrong. Also, certainty is offensive to those who believe differently.
I am currently writing a book on the topic “truth”. I have gotten to a point where I cannot continue to write until I know what side I am on in the argument over certainty. I would love to hear your ideas.
Is certainty a positive, negative, or neutral characteristic of one’s beliefs?
tags: truth, philosophy, certainty