There is a nightmarish horror in finding out your deepest values and beliefs are untrue.
For many, our righteousness was melodiously sung into our hearts as our mothers rocked and cradled us in her bosom. Our god was taught to us by sweet-faced and smiling teachers. Our values embedded into our characters through hours of zoned-out gazing at black and white television training us with laugh tracks. Those tender, trusting, innocent years of eagerly absorbing our environment and our instinctive confidence of what larger people told us.
Our eyes and ears, our taste and smells were sharpened and dulled according to what we were taught. The very way we perceive reality was sculpted and contoured around what those in authority told us. The meaning of words became uniquely imprinted upon our psyche. We became what we believed.
That is why, most people cannot absorb realities that contradict their own. Facts that don’t fit with our worldview are not just consciously dismissed---they never even reach deep enough in, they slide off our mental screen and are rejected because the unconscious sees them as a threat.
To accept that something we believe (theologically) is a lie, to look it straight in the eye and admit that we were wrong is equivalent to psychological suicide. It takes a willingness to accept the death of a piece of ourselves--a large piece. That is why very few people do it.
We must also add to that a Christian element. Many denominations teach that to even look at other theologies is equivalent to touching the forbidden apple. You will be deceived by Satan. As I have heard numerous times, “you will study your way out of the church.”
Scary. No, terrifying.....
So, many of us live or lived with cognitive dissonance. The world was warped and we were told that it would never actually be clear because of sin. We didn’t even know there were different glasses we could put on to make life a little less blurry.
We cling to our comforting lies. We escape into our little world of who we think God is or isn’t and we become more and more suspicious, sometimes even paranoid of those who think differently.
You see, living with the idea that you have to be right theologically (especially if you fear losing your relationship with Christ) restricts your ability to actually know Him.
Knowing Him is dangerous to theology. Knowing Him is shattering....