Written by Paul Lucas
Reading books such as Faith and Reason: Three Views (https://www.ivpress.com/faith-and-reason) always get me thinking about the mercy of God. We, as mere humans, spend so much time debating over topics which the majority of us have difficulty understanding in the first place. Inevitably, the greatest minds of humanity will spend their lives studying certain philosophical subjects on an existential level: debating the very fabric of reality itself. Their lives are spent toiling through constant contemplation and study for understanding of the reality in which we have involuntarily been placed, and each come to very differing and mostly contradictory conclusions.
Even within the realm of Christianity, there exists countless accounts and theologies which exist to explain the nature of God and the reality He created. They are all different, and they all seem to have some amount of support from a certain point of view. Each individual person has their own experiences and life situations which seem, to some extent, dictate how they understand Creation. Through this, they construct an intricate web of beliefs which seem to follow in a relative sense, but they enter into difficulties when other webs attempt to interact with them. In a sense, the very foundation of inter-personal communication is flawed because, in order to truly and fully comprehend the other person, it requires a level of empathy that appears to be impossible through human means. At the end of the day, though we may not agree with another person, I think we often fail to account for these facts: that a person’s web of experiences dictates the beliefs they espouse to a very deep extent. This is, I think, where the ideas behind “relativism” come from: the idea that beliefs are so deeply and intricately woven into a person’s reality, it is nearly (if not fully) impossible to make the “jump” from subjective to objective (from their perspective, not mine).
Instead of unity, then, we have a plethora of honest and humble Christians who hold differing beliefs due to circumstance. While humans are not always capable of such empathy, I am confident that God is capable of this empathy. Perhaps then, I hope, that God’s mercy will be shown even through our humble and hopelessly-uninformed conceptions of how this whole “reality” thing works. It seems that, while all Christian theologians may be wrong, they cannot all be correct. There seems to be some objective nature and Truth outside of what God has directly told us (I.e. that He exists, that He created us, that we are sinners, that Jesus saves us, etc.). And yet, we cannot agree as to precisely what that truth is nor how it works. I hope that God shows mercy on all of us for our disunity and bickering, because I believe that it (mostly) comes from an honest and genuine place. In the end, I think people are just standing up for what they understand as the Truth.