Faiths Forum

The Courage of Uncertainty

By Bill Heilbronn

 

Insistence on the possession of ‘Absolute Certainty’, and the mis-interpretation of the sacred myths of scripture as though they could only be understood literally, are the two enemies of Tolerance and Mutual Understanding between the fundamentalist followers of different Religions. They are also the reason why the Atheist rejects Religion and God.

The word ‘Evolution’ is usually associated with Charles Darwin’s work on the fauna and flora of our planet. However, as is shown, it also occurs in Human Consciousness, especially in its understanding of Science and Religion, neither of which has ceased from evolving. Indeed, there are many parallels between these two disciplines. Also, as shown in these pages, authentic Religion is about harmonising and interpreting the twin functions of Legend (Myth) and Reason – the intuitive and the intellectual approaches of the Human Mind, which are essential partners for human wholeness.

‘Faith’ has been defined as the Courage / Wisdom of Uncertainty that marks the open-minded follower of both Science and Religion. It is utterly different from ‘Belief’ which, too often, is unthinking acceptance of Dogma. In Science, it is the acceptance that there are vast areas of Nature and its Laws that we do not yet fully understand, and for which our models and formulae are as yet provisional.   In Religion, it is the acceptance of that Mystery which lies beyond the ’Cloud of Unknowing’ that, for want of a better expression, we call ‘God’, and which is both Nameless and of many Names. The evolution of Religion from pre-historic times and the approach to the acceptance of the ‘Mystery’ in the Jewish Faith are explored in depth.

The author has endeavoured to show that, when Neo-Darwinian Atheists reject Religion as an outmoded superstition, it is because they have made two fundamental errors. Either they have focussed on the worst abuses of Religion and its hi-jacking by Atavistic Nationalism, or they cannot see beyond the literal interpretation of the myths in Scripture. Following these, they have set up a ‘Straw Image’ to demolish it without any understanding of the true nature of Religious History and Faith. Whilst this booklet is written from a Jewish viewpoint, the author has not hesitated to use the wisdom of other Faiths and Philosophies to illuminate points where it is helpful to do so.

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