Having An Explanation Doesn’t Make You Right

Blog Posts, Critique of Apologetics

When Christians say, “You have a God-shaped hole in your heart,” that can be interpreted as, “You know that uncomfortable feeling you sometimes get when you wonder, what’s the point of it all? We have an answer: You need God.”

We humans are meaning-makers. “Significance Junkies,” in the words of Carl Sagan. We find meaning where there isn’t any, and are dissatisfied until we have answers. “We need to get to the bottom of this.” “Heads must roll.” “They must have forgotten their lucky socks.”

As Captain Obvious would say, life is hard. Making sense of things makes things a bit more tolerable. It can blunt the force of an often overwhelming number of details.

Given that, what’s more satisfying: someone who says, “Yessir, I’ve got your answer right here, ” or someone who says, “Gosh, I’m not sure we know enough to answer the question”? We’re pitting simple, powerful confidence against wishy-washy, weak-kneed evasiveness.

We itch when we don’t have an explanation. We have to know why. It may feel like we are wired this way, but it can land us in very comfortable but very wrong places.

Here’s the thing, just because you have an answer for something doesn’t mean it’s a true answer. Just because you have an explanation doesn’t make you right.

When Christians tell you they know…

Where matter came from. God did it.

Why the universe exists. God did it.

Why children die of cancer. The Fall did it. God’s mysterious, unknowable, but wise sovereign plan did it. Our need for free will did it.

Why you deconverted. Your desire to sin did it. You never being a true Christian did it.

It does NOT mean they’re right.

When you don’t have an answer to those questions, it doesn’t mean their answers are right.

Sometimes we need to sit with the uncertainty. Recognizing we don’t know something–and sometimes we can’t know something–is radically more self-honest than pretending that we do.

– Jimmy


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