Two videos hit me this week dealing with the same principle of radical uncertainty. The first is a comedic interview between Stephen Colbert and Andy Schlafly, who is creating Conservapedia. Andy is a hoot to watch but Stephen throws out a line that captured my attention. He said,
“Who are these people who are the experts because I want to be one of them, cause I believe in the conservative worldview. And I want to create my own reality the way you are. (4:44)
Stephen baits Andy into the subjective/objective reality dialog and he buys into it hook line and sinker. Stephen leads him right into the question, “But how do you know its not true?” Andy laughs because he knows he’s caught. Reality may be objective and true, but it still must filter through the subjective perceptions of broken human beings.
Andy tries to fight for objective truth, but walks right into the Catch-22 of it. Colbert asks him, “Who gets to decide if its true.” Andy responds with, “It’s the jury (of people).”
I couldn’t help but laugh because this is the postmodern tension in about 1:30. Who gets to decide what is true? Even though truth exist, at the core we are subject to the radical uncertainty of our own interpretations of truth.
Then I ran across this second video of Philip Clayton. Philip, is the author of Transforming Christian Theology, and is quickly becoming one of the my favorite theologians. Philip explores this radical uncertainty as a specific outcome of biology and the way we exist in the world. At 4:20 he says:
“The days are gone when we can just list the doctrines…mother church can decide and we can just sit there with those as a given. Given is no longer a given. And I think there is an attitude of radical uncertainty and radical doubt. And rather than saying can we integrate doubt and faith, I want to speak of a faith which incorporates the radical doubt, which is the doubting miraculously finding faith within it.”
What this all means to me is that we begin with humility as opposed to certainty, recognizing the reality of our own humanity, biology, and pride. The person who best expresses this in writing to me is Brian McLaren. This is also one of the reason I engage the dialog of the emerging church. It begins with the idea of radical uncertainty and explores it in conversation.