When I was a believer, there were times that I questioned God’s motives. I recall bitterly muttering that God’s got one helluva’ sadistic sense of humor. I revered my dear friend Barbara as if she were a sage, and a flawless one at that. When I approached her with my misgivings and she explained them away, I swallowed my feelings, accepted her answer regardless of my doubt, and put it out of my head.
Not only was that cowardly; it was dishonest. I chose to bury what was clamoring for exposure. It doesn’t matter what conclusion I might’ve come to if I’d truthfully explored my doubts. The point here is that I wore blinders to protect my beliefs, to soothe that awful feeling in my gut.
To wrestle with the truth, even to wrestle with wrestling the truth, I think, is genuine and virtuous. It requires the willingness to subject my cherished opinions and ideals to utmost objective scrutiny. I find myself curious to learn if I even know how to do that. Further, if my notions don’t pass rigorous testing, I’ve gotta’ be willing to modify or even completely abandon them.
Sometimes that sounds a bit disconcerting to me. Perhaps it’s true that a good deal of our identity is derived from our beliefs or opinions. I know it’s been noted often that people feel personally attacked when their ideas are attacked.
But I also sense a little twinkle of freedom at the prospect of being so transparent, of being open to exploring and learning until I’ve arrived at a conclusion…which might also change at some future time. There’s a certain purity to be gained in relentless honesty with oneself. Not to mention that the more honest I am with myself, the more honest I’ll be with others.
I need to remember that losing an old way of thinking doesn’t mean losing part of myself. It’s like I say on road trips, I’m not lost; I’m right here.