Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Certain About Uncertainty - Uncertain About Certainty

I believe strongly in both certainty and uncertainty - in the need for both in each individual life. I hope I can explain succinctly, since that’s not my default - as you all know.

My favorite definition of faith is the one that combines “the substance of things hoped for” with the motivation to pursue those unseen things. Next, as I’ve said here before, I believe that life is about becoming, not just understanding - and that becoming trumps understanding if only one must be pursued. So, I see a need for balance in this discussion of certainty vs. uncertainty.

In practical terms, this means I believe in the certainty of hope that motivates me to move forward and “plant and nurture the seed” - believing that if I do so I will understand more fully and gain more certainty. However, the real problem occurs when certainty closes off any desire to continue to learn more - about a particular concept or about all concepts.

Without a measurable degree of certainty, growth just won’t occur - since time will be spent “trying to understand better” rather than “trying to live better”. Personally, I would rather try something and learn at a very practical level by my success OR failure than not try something and never learn except in theory.

In summary, I want to be more and more certain of the details about which I care deeply, even if I never am certain of everything. I just don’t think there is time in this life to learn enough to be certain of everything - and I think that is a central concept of the Restoration. Think about continuing revelation in that light: Protestantism essentially said, “We know enough to get what we want;” Joseph Smith said, “I don’t, and you don’t know enough to get what I want.”

Finally, it bothers me greatly when someone says with certainty that I can't know something with certainty. *grin*

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