Veritas. Truth.

Your first allegiance must be to truth.

You must love truth before you love God.

For without a primary love of truth, how do you know that the God you love is the God that is?

Without primary allegiance to truth, you may just love your own ideas which you call God.

If you don’t love truth enough, you will sell it cheap.

Without a costly commitment to truth, you’ll trade truth for certitude.

Certitude is a poor substitute for truth.

If all you want is cheap certitude, that’s easy enough to come by. Just land on some opinion one way or the other, tell yourself you’re certain, and that’s that. No wrestling with doubt, no dark night of the soul, no costly agonizing over the matter, no testing yourself with hard questions. Just accept a secondhand assumption or a majority opinion or a popular sentiment or an inherited tradition as the final word and settle into certainty. You don’t have think about it ever again. Ignorance is bliss. So is certitude.


Do you really have so little regard for truth that you’re unwilling to endure the agony of doubt?

Squeezing your eyes tight shut and saying, “I will not think about it, I will not think about it”, is not faith. It’s a blind commitment to certainty at the expense of truth.

George MacDonald, the Scottish writer whose works had such a profound influence on C.S. Lewis, said this:

“Do you love your faith so little that you have never battled a single fear lest your faith should not be true? Where there are no doubts, no questions, no perplexities, there can be no growth.”
-George MacDonald

Real faith is forged in the epic theodicy of Job where every assumption of the goodness of God is laid bare.

Real faith is found in the forty day wilderness temptation where the first question is, “Are you sure?”

Real faith is tested in Gethsemane’s dark night of the soul where nothing is certain, but God is trusted.

Faith is not simply being convinced of something; because you can be convinced of a that which is not so.

Real faith is our positive response to the truth of God.

But everything that is said or thought or believed about God is not necessarily the truth.

Or let me say it this way…

Everything that you have said or thought or believed about God is not necessarily the truth.

So our first allegiance must be to truth.

Implicit in this commitment to truth is a willingness to change when presented with sufficient evidence.

To change your mind on important matters is inconvenient. It’s also required of those who love the truth.

The Bible calls it repentance.

If you love truth more than comfort, convenience or certainty, there is hope.

Hope that you will find the truth and be transformed by it into a truer person.

But if you love the ease and convenience of a settled opinion more than the agony and inconvenience (and sometimes embarrassment) of changing your mind….there is little hope. What you are today is what you will be ten years from now.

It takes courage to choose the red pill.

You can’t unknow what you know and be true to yourself.

The truth will not yield itself to idle curiosity.

The truth requires that you submit yourself to it and be willing to change.

So do you love the truth?

More than certitude?

More than your tradition?

More than an untroubled mind?

“Buy the truth and sell it not.” -Proverbs 23:23

Yes, it will cost you.

And sometimes the cost of truth is doubt.

You may have to wrestle with doubt to arrive at the truth.

It’s not doubting God, but doubting the certainty of your own assumptions about God.

The living God and your opinions about God are not one in the same.

You might be wrong.

Surely you recognize this? You may find this a bit discomforting, but so be it.

I am so convinced of God’s truth that I am willing to leave room for doubt.

I am so convinced that God is that I am willing to doubt that I have fully discovered how God is.

I am so convinced that God is what he is (“I AM WHO I AM”) that I’m willing to recognize that I might be wrong about God.

So I have to wrestle with doubt and stay on the journey.

I believe in the infallibility of Scripture in its overall revelation of God. I do not believe in my infallibility of interpretation of Scripture. But I do believe that if I stay humble, and continue to seek, and listen to the witness of other saints, I can, bit by bit, arrive at the truth of God. But it’s a life’s work. And this kind of serious quest for faith and truth leaves no room for arrogant certitude.

Certitude is in reality a cover up for fear.

Maybe there’s nothing out there at all, so better to believe anything than to risk investigation and end up believing nothing.

Real faith has room for doubt. Faux faith is afraid of its own shadow.

I have no idea how to arrive at real faith without a journey involving doubt.

God refuses to perform tricks in order to obliterate doubt.

Jesus refused to leap from the pinacle of the Temple because, to paraphrase C.S. Lewis, the irresistable and the irrefutable are the two weapons which God cannot use. It would defeat his purpose. Frederick Buechner says it like this:

“Without somehow destroying me in the process, how could God reveal himself in a way that would leave no room for doubt? If there were no room for doubt, there would be no room for me.” -Frederick Buechner

You are a bundle of doubts on the journey toward an authentic faith.

Don’t sell out to cheap certitude.

Stay on the journey.

And love truth first of all.

This blog is largely autobiographical.

And happily written.

The truth will set you free.

You can quote that as a glib Bible verse…or it can become your own story.

Truth is an arrow and the gate is narrow that it passes through.


PS: The painting is Veritas by Joe Moorman

My favorite song on the new Dylan album, Together Through Life — “It’s All Good”
(Please recognize Dylan’s use of irony in the song…because it’s not all good.)