I don’t know.
Sometimes that is the correct and proper answer to some questions. We always want to know what we can, but to substitute what you want to be the answer, as the real one, is often divisive and foolish.
Take abortion for example. Some religious people are certain they are correct – that abortion is always wrong. It is murder. But that is a conclusion reached by myopic directional thinking . The fact is, we do not know what “truth” is final. We just are not that smart. And if you do not use science, then it is still conjecture. Of course, Bible enthusiasts have a number of passages to recite as definitive – none of them actually use the word abortion itself, but, of course, every religion has their own scholars which can match up the Bible to their own particular dogma. Truly when everything is taken into account, “I don’t know” is still the correct response.
We don’t like the “I don’t know” response. It sounds too wishy-washy. It sounds cowardly. Pick a side. But when picking a side leads to divisive polarization and becomes more opinion than fact, then thinking you have a conclusive answer, is the wrong one.
Abortion is a private decision forced into the public debate. The science of the matter gets wrapped in the biologic mysteries of human reproduction. We have dabbled in other divisive areas already. Once in vitro fertilization became the norm (and where in your Bible do you find that being OK?), cloning and tampering with DNA cannot be far behind. If you are a spiritual person, all of that should be shelved into the “I don’t know” category. Sometimes science should leave some things right there – in the “I don’t know” realm – but science always seeks answers…factual and real. So, if we are going to openly discuss such matters of human reproductive science, then whatever moral compass you have should cease to define these matters with opinions as fact.
When a pregnancy happens, there are two families involved. Not a nation or a religion or a political organization. It is personal and can be joyous or it can be deeply gut wrenching. But when it comes to what is correct or proper or what should be, when it comes to discussing a possible abortion – the proper answer is “I don’t know”.
I don’t know if a fetus can be assumed to be a “person”. Heartbeats and smiles and movement are biology, not actual brain functions. Until an individual can properly discern, think and be self aware….then definitions cannot be put into the realm of fact – it is, once again, “I don’t know”.
I believe that there is a God, but I do not believe religious Christianity speaks for him or her or it. I believe in the “I don’t know”. I haven’t always been comfortable with that because I also believe that science needs to have facts and certainty. But in the “I don’t know” realm, I don’t have to be right or wrong – I just observe and leave it up to those directly affected. To those with the only actual decision to make.
I know that many of you would never accept the “I don’t know”. It is important that your religion define these things. That is OK, for you, in general, but when you allow that to force others to agree with what you personally think, then you are wrong. You don’t “know”. No one really “knows” anything in these matters – and that is more the fact than wherever your personal opinion leads you.
I say this because the abortion question has been a disruptive influence on how we all get along. And once this invaded the political sphere…well, it has become outright destructive. People with other agendas have latched onto this question and have driven into the realm of absurdity.
“I don’t know” is really not a very hard thing to say. It isn’t really all that controversial. But maybe we need to say it more often. It is often the correct response.