aporia. n. Logic, Philosophy. a difficulty encountered in establishing the theoretical truth of a proposition, created by the presence of evidence both for and against it.
1580-90; < Late Latin < Greek: state of being at a loss, equivalent to ápor(os) impassable
Do you ever have one of those moments where you know you need to make a decision, but you don’t know which one is right? Not an inconsequential decision like between wearing a blue shirt or a green shirt, but one with more severe consequences: like whether you should go to college or get a job, or which job offer to accept.
You know how that feels?
I’ve been living it for months.
My blog is titled “The Christian Geek”, but in reality I’ve been feeling more like “The Agnostic Geek (Leaning Towards Christianity)”. For months I’ve been trying to figure out in my mind what exactly it is that I believe.
- I believe that a supernatural entity exists that most would call “God”
- I believe this “God” interacts to some degree with the universe, including humans
- I believe this “God” is most likely the Judeo-Christian God, according to my current understanding of what that means
- I am unsure why this God would care for someone like me, with my bad habits, insecurities, and other problems
- (Side note: why do I focus on the bad things when I consider how God would think of me?)
- I know I don’t have this “relationship” with God that is the measure of if someone is a “true” Christian
Over these months of questioning what I think I know, I’ve slowly walked up this path to a destination I was unsure I would reach, a path fogged over with uncertainty such that I could only see my next step, no further. Now, it is like this path I have walked has led me to the edge of a cliff, the path itself going up to the edge and seemingly beyond, though the clouds obscure any sight of the bottom. Though I yearn to reach the end of this journey - or at least have some sense of what my destination is - the fear of falling to my death keeps me away from the edge. Even though I might fall onto the back of one of those giant eagles from Lord of the Rings or otherwise carried safely down, I fear that I will land at the bottom a broken man.
Paradoxically, I find myself praying, “please, God, I know this relationship with you is supposed to be the most important thing. Just… take me over the edge when I’m not looking, or something” - yet, as I pray, I’m making sure to keep a wide distance between myself and that same edge. That prayer hasn’t been answered. Some would say that it’s because God doesn’t exist to answer prayers. Others, that God is waiting for me to trust Him enough to jump off the edge by my own volition. All I know is that the edge frightens me and I haven’t been pulled off yet.
I don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve gotten here. I’ve been here long enough for it to have started feeling like it was my destination and not a stop along the way. I haven’t been to church in months, either, nor have I opened a bible, since I know these will pull me toward the edge.
The edge frightens me.
Why? Because I don’t know what lies beyond. If I cross over, there’s no coming back from what happens. There’s something comforting in living in the uncertainty. If I go over, I know that I will end up viewing the world differently somehow. That is a huge change that I’m not sure if I can handle.
The thing is, I know I can’t live here forever. I might not have the courage to jump off the edge, but I’m going to start stepping closer. Maybe I’ll find something that will give me the certainty I need to walk off and trust. Maybe I’ll get close enough that I’ll be pulled off.
Either way, I can’t stay here.