I used to trust the voices of certainty.
During my formative years, certainty, inerrancy, and infallibility were venerated — concepts bred in the heavens and bathed in an ethereal glow. They were the north star and guiding light — leading through the pitfalls of a chaotic and morally duplicitous world. They weren’t just concepts attached to religious texts and moral constructs, but permeated every facet of existence. Uncertainty was to be shunned. Uncertainty was weakness. Clarity at any cost was the foundational ideal.
As I grow older that ethereal glow is losing its luster. I trust voices of certainty less and less and find myself drawn to the tortured, wandering souls uncomfortable with easy answers — wrestling in anguish with questions and finding no solace in absolutes. Perhaps this is all a misplaced, self-serving embrace of those verbalizing my own discomfort with the answers presented. The answers that can’t be questioned. The answers that no longer resonate.
I’ve watched the need for certainty corrupt discourse. I’ve witnessed it — paradoxically — precede and supplant attempts to discern truth. I’ve observed conclusions become the starting point for apologists to find convincing premises. All the while, the voices of absolutism get louder and louder — a discordant symphony that can no longer hear itself — or understand why people are plugging their ears and rushing toward the exits.
As I get older, I’m supposed to move toward wisdom, clarity, and certainty — to move in any other direction is akin to the embrace of moral relativism or moral decay. Yet I often find more honesty, humility, and hopefulness in “I don’t know” than in the certainty that germinates and grows in the fertile soil of fear or desire for identity.
What would happen if we became more comfortable with uncertainty? I don’t know — but I am becoming increasingly at peace with that answer.