I was checking out my MySpace page tonight and did something I never do – I read a bulletin. It was posted by an old acquaintance of mine from high school. It was very long (and a bit tiresome) and went on about how “fundamentalists” are to be feared for various reasons: We see fundamentalists as a relatively contained group of self-righteous crackpots who are tiresome to deal with on local school boards and, god knows, in the White House. After all, we’re smarter than they are. But winning majorities in both houses of Congress last week should not comfort us with the belief that the nation has returned to “normalcy,” that Bush has been disarmed, that the fundamentalist leadership has suffered a setback. I’m no Bush defender, nor do I consider myself a fundamentalist, although strictly speaking the label possibly could fit. But the name-calling got hard to read:
We can’t conceive of the possibility that the dupes, the saps, the fools – the believers – have been with us from the very beginning
I’m sick of the assumption that those who believe that there is more to this world than meets the eye are kooks. Doesn’t that spring from a self-righteousness of its own? Who gets to decide what reality is? In his article Blind Science vs. Blind Faith, Dallas Willard takes on the question of who gets to define reality. He says both sides tend to defend their traditional positions rather than be open to truth wherever it can be found.
In his writings elsewhere, Willard says that if we could find a better way, Christ would encourage us to take it, because Christ would not encourage us to believe something that is false. This mindset allows us to freely explore questions with an openness to whatever we find, not simply react knee-jerk-style to everything that appears to threaten what we already believe.
Church, can we have a faith like that?