Wednesday, August 25, 2010


"The idea of knowing absolutes has a very limited meaning at best when it is human beings who are the supposed knowers. Absolutes, by definition, partake of infinity; they are without boundary. What relationship can a finite knower have with an infinite object of knowledge except a finite, limited one? Can one then be said to know or 'have' an absolute on which to ground one's beliefs when one only knows, at best, a sliver of that absolute?"
"But how would we know unmistakably that anything was infinite or absolute unless we ourselves were infinite?"
Daniel Taylor, The Myth of Certainty, (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1992), 91-92.
Can you know anything absolutely? The question seems pretty simple until one begins to ponder what exactly it means. The older I get, the less sure I am of anything absolutely. This is not to say that faith doesn't play a role in my life, just that I am uncomfortable proclaiming absolutes as much as I did say 5 years ago. So much of my outlook & view of life has been tempered by circumstances that it is hard to say that I have anything but a limited & biased mindset. My reasoning for my beliefs is grounded in the knowledge I have so far acquired as well as the journey I continue to take based upon my own likes and dislikes. In fact, in some ways the further along my own personal path I take - the further away from absolute truth I probably go.

To me there is no other areas where this issue of absolutes is debated than that of politics & the spiritual realm. In both areas, people are very quick to shout for their beliefs and view the opposing side as idiots. Having worked in a church, it was easy to see the polarization of both issues up close and personal. Our limited range of equality lends us towards being "tolerant" which is simply another way of saying I'm right but I'll allow you to be wrong. Our thinking quickly escalates to absolutes on issues, beliefs, and choices which reality knows there is no answer this side of heaven.

So if we cannot be absolute about anything - what do we do? How do we make choices & step out in faith on anything without the ability to truly & fully know it is correct? In other words, how do finite beings make decisions with infinite implications?