Woe to you who use the Bible to serve your fear of learning

We sin against our scriptures when we use them to avoid the frightening prospect of learning new things. This is the lesson I wanted my kids to learn from last night’s family Lent discipline — watching COSMOS.

For Lent, we are giving up smallness of vision. As a family, we are embracing the delightful terror of discovery. We are embracing the terrifying delight of not knowing everything.

Learning is scary because it means admitting we’re not as aware of our surroundings as we thought. It’s like waking up and realizing you’ve been sleeping on a narrow ledge above a 500-ft cliff.  Nobody likes how that feels.

But as I share my faith with my children, I will teach them to accept that life is about constant learning, again and again re-thinking (the Bible’s word for this is “repenting”) the things we thought we already understood.  Because imagining you’re omniscient is a pretty sure recipe for getting cleaned out of the gene pool.

My scriptures don’t say:

“For God so feared the world that he gave us a Bible so we could avoid learning about it.”

Because I love reality, I engage in science, letting the universe shape my way of thinking about it.

Because I love reality, I engage in theology, pursuing the questions science cannot answer.

In both arenas, love casts out fear.

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