But I Might Be Wrong.

(Via Landon Whitsitt) This is absolutely worth 18 minutes of your day.

According to Schulz, we travel through life trapped in a bubble of feeling “very right” about everything. If we can step outside of that feeling, she says, it will be the single greatest moral, intellectual, and creative leap we could make.

This openness to the possibility that we are wrong is, I think, fundamental to our lives together as people.  We are so attached to being right about things – being right about every last thing in the world – and then we freak out when someone suggests that might not be true.

We approach relationships and interactions from inside this little rightness bubble, and then we wonder why some people don’t feel like we’re listening to them.  I’m not really trying to call out Tony Jones here (he seems like a pretty interesting guy), but my point is that if you come into a conversation with the conviction that you are right, and the degree to which someone else is right is the degree to which they agree with you, real relationship is impossible.

This absolute faith in our own rightness, and even the belief that true rightness is something we can ever hope to achieve, is an awful (and dare I say, unchristian) way to live.  Only God will ever be correct about everything, and only God will ever be absolutely correct about any given thing.

[Which is probably why traditional (read: white/male/&c.) ways of doing theology have never grabbed me in the way that liberation theologies have.  All my arguments about eschatology, for instance, end with some variation on, “But really, WHO THE HELL KNOWS.”]

Even the church needs to get over our attachment to rightness.  That may well be impossible, given that most of Christian history seems to be founded on the idea of the One True Way.  One of the PC(USA)’s Great Ends of the Church is “the preservation of the truth.”

But in my experience, the church’s conviction of its own absolute correctness is just not resonating with more and more people, especially in my generation.  Many of us are starting to recognize that other people might also have some claim to ultimate truth, or at least enough to chafe at the idea that the church has found all of the truth and the one right way, always and forever.

That doesn’t mean that we should stop trying.  We can – and should – keep searching for truths about God’s being and the nature of our world.  But seriously, let’s just get rid of this idea that we will ever know The Truth.  That we will ever be totally Right.

If we treat this as some kind of contest of who is the most right, we will all lose.

3 responses to “But I Might Be Wrong.

  1. Heather Thomson

    It’s an interesting quandary. On the one hand, of course I think my beliefs are correct, otherwise I wouldn’t believe them in the first place. But that doesn’t mean that everyone else is wrong, or that I’m not open to other points of view. The whole idea that Christianity has an exclusive hold on the truth really bothers me.

  2. What I love about this TED talk, though, is the suggestion – what if our beliefs aren’t “correct”? Is that the end of the world? Given that we’re human, I think there’s a decent chance that any of us have gotten some things wrong. I’m not sure in that context that it makes sense for us to put faith in our own correctness.

  3. Pingback: Rejoicing in Spite of it All | Kate LeFranc

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