I finally shared with some friends the faith-struggles that I’ve been experiencing which have led me to leave the church I was attending. Afterwards, one of the guys sent me an email stating that he found my comment that Christianity has devolved into little more than personal opinions interesting. Turns out that I may not be the only one struggling with matters of faith. Although, it often seems that way. Still, this friend had an interesting perspective:
The Protestant church looks like windshields at a car accident scene with so many splinters and shards of glass strewn across the pavement. I have now arrived at the Beetle Hypothesis. God likes it this way. There are about 4000 types of mammals on the planet. There are roughly 350,000 – 400,000 types of beetles on the planet (probably more). Why? God likes it this way. What good are all those Protestant denominations for? What good are all those beetles for? I don’t know. I read this quote from a Roman Catholic priest, Father Tom: “The opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort and letting it be there until some light returns.” Right now, I’m comfortable with NOT being on the opposite side of faith (read: Certainty). I’ll take faith, mess, emptiness and discomfort and hang like this for a while. I don’t know. Like I said I don’t have advice but I do have some sympathy or empathy or something like it for your struggles. Maybe my attitude or outlook should bother me more than it does, but it doesn’t. I’ll let you know if something changes. For now, I’m cool with lots of beetles.
Two things immediately came to mind:
– First is the statement that the opposite of faith is not doubt. I’ve known many others who’ve experienced difficulties – those proverbial trials and tribulations. I’ve known others who’ve pondered and tried to make sense of various esoteric concepts related to Christianity. For whatever reason, I seem to be more bothered not only by the disconnect of people’s beliefs but also by the dichotomy of Calvinism vs Arminianism.
– The second thing that came to mind is discordant instruments coming together to create beautiful music. A classical guitar and a mandolin, for instance. Each has its own unique tone and timbre and is lovely to listen to individually. But something happens that is all together wonderful when those two instruments are put together. The mandolin with its high pitch and bright sound carries the melody. The guitar with its fuller, deeper and more resonant sound fills in that which the mandolin on its own can’t do. Together, the music is altogether more balanced, beautiful and perhaps even more satisfying.
I’m not sure I can cohesively glue Calvinism and Arminianism into a more “satisfying theology” – whatever that means. Still, much as we mere mortals can appreciate the beauty and complexity of music by a small ensemble over individual instruments, perhaps God, in his own great, grand and glorious ways is “cool with a lot of beetles.”