Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The quest for certainty

There are many one-time Evangelicals who convert to Rome in a quest for religious certainty. There are many problems with this move, but for now I’ll comment on just one:

The problem with the Catholic convert is that he simply stipulates an artificial standard of certainty, and then he constructs a belief-system around his stipulation.

This is a mistake. Unlike God, we are in no position to stipulate the way things must be or ought to be.

We are only responsible for what God holds us responsible for. Our level of certainty or uncertainty should be calibrated to the level of evidence that God has given us in any particular case.

If God wanted us to be more certain on this or that belief, he would have given us more evidence, or more compelling evidence, for this or that belief.

It isn’t the duty of a Christian to be more certain than God himself has warranted.

One doesn’t begin with some abstract standard of certainty, and then construct a belief-system around that artificial criterion. To do so is to play God.

Rather, we just go with whatever God has told us, whether more or less. We don’t have to be equally clear about everything, because God has not made everything equally clear to us.

We are answerable to God for what God requires of us. We are not answerable to God for what God does not require of us.

Indeed, when we aim for a target that God did not give us, we are not doing God’s will.

Of course, if you don’t believe in God or providence, then you can’t be certain of anything. That’s where transcendental theism comes in.


  1. Hi there,
    You posted something, I read it and thought about it, and now I can't find it. It was about God's love, whether deep and exclusive, or shallow and inclusive. I think that's what if was in a nutshell.

    Very interesting. Think about this, we think it's deep and exclusive (abhors evil, in need of salvation from sin to get to heaven), the liberals think its shallow and inclusive (God of Love period), and the muslims think it's shallow and exclusive (I say shallow because their love for their own children is shallow.. suicide bombers, etc).

    It's a spectrum of thought, with the muslim thought on the opposite end of the spectrum.

    If you could direct me to that spot on your blog I would like to re-read it.

  2. Very good post.

    This reminds me of the Romanist who says, "Show me from the Bible where it says that the Bible is the only source for truth." The Almighty's trumpet sounds loudly throughout the centuries and we, the dwellers, ask for proof beyond the melody.

    The Wittgensteinian lap dogs will always chase their 'dance by my rules' tails at their master while claiming to serve.

    May His Word be proclaimed forevermore.

  3. Eyessallaround,

    You may be thinking of somethiing I wrote here:

  4. I worked with a woman who had converted to Roman Catholicism - because she wanted "structure"

    She doesn't agree with all the doctrine, but I guess wrong structure is better than no structure at all.