Faith is embracing mystery with conviction. Fundamentalism is when people, who in the name of faith, claim certainty.
Harold Camping was a man who was so bent on certainty that he insisted that he knew more than even his savior did by claiming to be able to predict the end of the world…. twice!
As a meticulous student of the Bible with a special fascination for numerology, Camping sought to uncover the date for the end of the world from the Scriptures. He predicted May 21, 2011, and after failure, October 21 as end dates.
To his credit, he DID apologize for his failed attempts to predict the apocalypse.
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. - Matthew 24:36
It doesn’t take a person as studied as Camping to see the point of this verse. So why did Camping seemingly ignore the point?
We draw comfort from the delusion of knowing. We think that if we KNOW how to live and how the world works then we are empowered to protect ourselves from possible calamities. If I KNOW that all that I have to do is go to church and be a good person then it helps stave off worries about death, or at least a possible consequential afterlife. If I KNOW there is a God and believe Him to be someone who rewards good, then I can live my life in a neat little way, putting God into a box that requires Him to reward me, sealing my life in a neat little ‘cocoon’ of certainty.
Faith is about having a conviction for what I BELIEVE, not what I KNOW. In religion, insecure people grab a hold of certainty in the name of faith. People who use faith to quell certainty are seeking a god of their own making, an idol. Such is the knitting of a security blanket, producing a life attempting to escape reality through delusions of a comfort zone.
The wisest response to the uncertainties of life is humility. To claim to have all the answers is to embrace pride. I advocate that we embrace questions. Faith is a series of questions, whose answers wait to be explored.
Reason can be a pernicious tyrant, imposing itself even over our own will. Maybe this is why so many people abandon it. Follow the truth no matter where it leads, remembering that the greatest obstacle to truth is self.