Thursday, May 6, 2021

Room to Grow

We have been talking for a few days about the challenges of trying to have truth without faith. And one of the greatest challenges might be the world itself, even though it professes that truth without faith is not only possible, but "better" for all mankind. 

Because the world wants truth without faith, but it is also unwilling to accept grace. And that just makes our entire truth situation completely untenable. We cannot possibly live that way (and all of humanity that is trying right now knows this, even though they continue to be told of course it's possible). 

Here's what happens: our world has said you don't need faith for truth, that truth can be only what you are able to know and understand of it. Truth, then, becomes subjective and, necessarily, changes all the time. The world even tells you that it expects your understanding of truth to change as you encounter new data (the world loves 'science' words like 'data'). 

But then, the world says something completely incompatible with its own philosophy: you cannot change. 

You are always and forever any and every view that you have ever expressed, and if you ever say or do anything that seems to contradict something you said or did before, then your first impression stands. You can never change it. 

That stupid thing you said on Twitter when you were in college? That's who you are forever. That one bad joke you made at a party a few years ago that dropped like a lead balloon because of its political incorrectness? That's who you are forever. That thing you believed before you were exposed to more 'data' about it and changed your mind? Sorry; you're incapable of truly changing your mind. Now, you're just trying to make others forget that you are who you are. 

This is at the heart of so much that is going on in our world right now. Persons do completely innocent, although sometimes stupid, things (and maybe some of them are not so innocent, but are certainly ignorant), and then they try to better themselves by exposing themselves to more experiences and changing their truth by enhancing their data and the world says...sorry. You're not allowed to do that. You're not allowed to be a different person than we've already claimed you to be.

If you try to be, then the world says you're just pretending and they smack another label on you - someone who tries too hard. Someone who's wishy-washy. Someone who wants to be forgiven (but the world does not forgive.) 

I don't really think I have to keep explaining this to you; we've all seen it. We're all living it. We're all afraid that that one thing we said or did ten years ago when times were different and we were different and 'truth' was different is going to haunt us forever. We're afraid someone is going to dig something up out of our elementary school yearbook and pin it to the top of our social media profile forever. We're afraid that the next thing we say or do will become that thing that we'll never get out from under. 

We're terrified that no matter what contributions we make to our community, to our culture, even to our families, someone is going to come along some time in the future and decide that what we believed today was not good enough and was actually, somehow, perverse, and that it doesn't matter who we are, who we were, or who we become, we will always and forever be marked throughout history as that. Because even though we live in a culture of changing truth, we are not permitted by our culture to change. Ever. 

This is another area where truth + faith has the upper hand. Faith, that confidence we have in all of the truth that exists outside of our awareness of it, always allows us to grow into greater things. It always allows us to expand our boundaries, to become bigger, to become better. It lets us open our arms wider and embrace more things because they aren't new things; they've always been there. We're not claiming something different; we're claiming something more

That means that truth that is learned through faith does not rest on a foundation of change, but of growth. Thus, faith by its very nature does what the world will not let us do - it lets us grow. In fact, it encourages it. And it gives us the grace to do so because we were never 'wrong' to begin with; we were only in a shadowed area. We were only in a smallness. We weren't off the charts. We weren't backward. We were simply...learning. 

That's why truth + faith (+ grace) is always better. It is just better. And it's the only way out of the toxic relationship that we have with truth in our current culture. 

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