Truth is the most controversial idea around. It’s behind everything we do. We only do the things we do because we have subscribed to the truth that would lead us to do such things. In a sense it is what we know that motivates us us. We drive because we know that the car will get us there faster, we run because we know it will get us in shape or because we know we can’t catch up to the person in front of us with out doing it, we eat because we know that it will satisfy our sensations. Truth gets a lot more complicated in matters of faith. Do I pray because I know God is listening? Or do I pray because I trust that He is listening. Do I get baptized because I know my life will be different afterwards? Or do I do it because I trust. Faith can exist without certainty… that’s what makes it faith. But there is still truth in faith. Though this truth may not be so clear that we always know it we can still somehow tap into it. This is the beauty of faith. We do things out of trust. Though we may not always be certain we believe and act anyway.
The problems don’t come when we’re uncertain of our faith. Real problems come when we are so certain that we start to think that our faith is the only faith that has any access to truth. We really enter the danger zone when we begin to think we have the market on truth. What was once faith becomes dogma, and not the good kind of dogma, but the kind that we feel must be protected at all costs. This dogma now becomes the center of our faith. Only by a subscription to this dogma, we believe, can someone really hold truth. This is a gravely dangerous thing. Not only do the things we once did out of faith become binding and enslaving but we also start pushing people away. We deny, with certainty, the thing of which we cannot be certain. We throw someone else’s faith in the trash because it might fail to hold perfectly to our doctrine. In essence we throw the baby out with the bathwater. We demand people to have certainty in the things we ourselves might not really need to be certain of in order to find truth. Certainty, not faith, becomes the basis by which we live and act. What is really true is that everyone has access to truth, maybe not all of it but indeed some of it. So if everyone has access to truth then maybe part of our job is to affirm the truth that we find in unexpected places.
For far too long the Church has been in the business of pointing out what is not true about other faiths thinking that we have the market on truth. We need to start, as Paul did in Acts 17, by pointing out what people are getting right. We need to affirm the truth we see in the places we may not have expected to find it. Then together we might be able to find where that truth really comes from. We Christians believe with whatever level of uncertainty that all truth really comes from God. As it has so frequently been said but is rarely lived out; “all truth is God’s truth.” So therefore, our task is to point out truth wherever we find it and then claim it. When we shut down anything that has falsity in it we may be closing the door on people who have found truth outside of Christianity.