To live in truth is not merely to live in accordance with what one believes to be true, but involves a responsibility to discover what is true.
- John O’Neill
The simple, absolute and immutable mysteries of the divine Truth are hidden in secret. For this darkness, though of deepest obscurity, is yet radiantly clear; and, though beyond touch and sight, it more than fills our unseeing minds with splendors of transcendent beauty. And we behold that darkness beyond being, concealed under all natural light.
- Dionysius the Aeopagite
But why does truth engender hatred? Why does your servant meet with hostility when he preaches the truth, although men love happiness, which is simply the enjoyment of truth? It can only be that man’s love of truth is such that when he loves something which is not the truth, he pretends to himself that what he loves it the truth, and because he hates to be proved wrong, he will not allow himself to be convinced that he is deceiving himself. So he hates the real truth for the sake of what he takes to his heart in its place. Men love the truth when it bathes them in its light: they hate it when it proves them wrong (emphasis added).
- Saint Augustine, Confessions
“To be dogmatic about most matters in the Christian faith is not a good foundation for developing a strong faith. In fact, the opposite is the case. Dogmatism leads to indoctrination in teaching and not the entertaining of honest questions, and, in the long run, it weakens faith. [Christian discipleship] should be committed to examining our faith, working on our uncertainties, and being willing to hold certain ideas in tension. In doing so we will be producing a stronger faith [in those we disciple].”
Many Christians feel that to be uncertain in matters of faith is equivalent to doubting God and lacking faith. Consequently, many Christian organizations have lengthy doctrinal statements about what is non-negotiable in the Christian faith. Some Christian schools, on the other hand, have shocked certain churches or organizations because of the schools’ statements of faith are brief and do not contain references to abortion or evolution, for example. My college, Taylor University, along with any other Christian colleges, would explain that it is not that we do not have very conservative positions on such subjects but that we don’t classify those topics among those things about which we are absolutely certain.
This does not mean that faculty and staff are filled with doubts and weak faith about other things, but that they are open to examining certain positions with humility, knowing that they can always learn more about biblical content and the application of that content to the world.