Fundamentalists deal in absolutes. The Bible IS the word of God. It is absolutely true in every single respect. There can be no contradictions and no errors. Of course when proven not to be the case, the shattered believer applies the same demands on non-fundamentalist faith–proof. And none is forthcoming, so they throw up their hands.
If there is no proof, then there is no basis for faith.
But really, fundamentalists are much akin to atheists in their thinking. Atheists always point to reality as that which can be proven. A science experiment either works or it doesn’t. It’s true or false. Something, someday, might be more true, but it seldom turns out utterly false.
The same is true of liberals and conservatives. Conservatives know what has worked, and what hasn’t. They KNOW and they don’t want to venture into not-knowing. They don’t like to take chances. They don’t like not knowing anything, so they often structure a world that contains only known things and they declare unknown things unworthy of thinking about.
Liberals don’t mind not knowing. They actually know that some things they may never know, other things will become known in time. They aren’t afraid of taking chances, especially when what is known produces outcomes that don’t work so well.
Liberals make fine progressive believers. They aren’t afraid of the fact that they may never know God in any significant way. It’s okay. It’s okay even if God isn’t real in the end. Believing and living a life based on belief is not a bad thing. As they see it.
Conservatives think that silly, and so do fundamentalists. So they set out to create a God that they CLAIM is knowable, fully. And they know God, or so they claim. They feel relaxed, confident, and somewhat puffed up by the fact that they KNOW.
The person who has had the fundamentalist theology explode into a thousand pieces asks what is not possible. They want answers that will fully satisfy them as their bible-thumpin’ ministers used to. And when they don’t find that, since living in the unknowing, is part of being a believer, they mope, and get angry, they argue, and they pout, and in the end they throw up their hands in disgust. The atheists are right–believers have no answers.
I don’t mean to make fun of or deride these folks. I feel deeply saddened that their personal, shall we say, brain pattern demands certainty. It is perhaps they way they are structured. Some seem to make the change, but most don’t. Not that I can see.
Buddhists are, in my opinion, rather expert in living in the moment, and not wasting much time worrying about knowing. If you can’t know you will be alive in five minutes, there isn’t must you can be sure about. There is much wisdom in that.
I’m in a place and time where I’m not giving nearly the attention to faith that I should. But maybe the point is that I shouldn’t be at all concerned. God offers me relationship, gracious and freely. Since I believe that, I expect God understands quite perfectly when my life becomes chaotic to the point that I only seek him for peace and sanity, and little more.
So, I’m okay with the limits on my prayer, meditation and reading of spiritual things. It will return when life is less hectic, of that I am sure. I don’t know if my notions are accurate or not, but there is nothing I can do to find out anyway.
God is there when I need it. At least that is what I feel, and what I believe. And in the end, what else is necessary?