Certainty is a strange thing. Most of us are attracted to individuals who exhibit confidence and certainty, yet certainty is, in many ways, antithetical to the human experience. Human beings are made to explore, discover, and learn. Exploration may be a search for certainty, but it requires doubts and questions. The healthy human existence requires that we hold certainty and doubt in a delicate tension.
Dogmatic certainty has always been a hindrance to progress. There is no new discovery when we operate within a system of certainty. Certainty is also an indispensable tool of people or institutions who want to control others. Certainty can lead to arrogance, marginalization, abuse, and discrimination.
Modern Christian religion usually encourages unwavering certainty. It is no wonder that Christians are viewed as arrogant and dogmatic. Judaism, though, from which Christianity emerged, has always been far from dogmatic. The Jewish culture has been one of seaching and questioning. Even today, many would consider the term “dogmatic Jew” to be an oxymoron. God never commanded His people to stand firm or be unwavering in their belief. Rather, he was continually developing their understanding of Him and their understanding of how to live as His people. Ancient biblical teachers never ended their lectures with, “No questions please.”