The knowable and the unknowable

If evil exists, it is centered between the knowable and the unknowable. What is noble is being certain about what one knows to be good. And quite ignoble to pretend to know, even when one is not sure. This is common in most people—even among Christian organizations—assumed as where Christ left an impression of what goodness implies.

People want to be seen to be good, thereby succumbing to what their peers describe as goodness—not according to the individual’s own good judgment. Such people would rather forgo what they know to be true—in order to ensure getting along with their associates. This is a malady, found across the entire Christian world.

Denominational entities are held by the principle of belonging—viewed as if more important than what a person knows to be true. The caller into Christianity is Jesus Christ. Even though, possibly, using other humans—when communicating with the person concerned. However, most people generally find the call for separation quite intimidating, as inviting insecurity.

As a lonesome journey, Christianity demands separation. What makes a Christian a child of Abraham, can be understood when looking at Abraham’s circumstantial conditions, as he came out of the land of Ur (Genesis 12:1).

“And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Galatians 3:29).

The inference of being called Abraham’s offspring does not necessarily suggest that one becomes Abraham’s offspring, genealogically. It simply means that a person would have displayed the attributes of the same mould of thinking—as influenced Abraham in thinking likewise.

The peculiarity of Abraham is coined in this reality—as should also be what coins the individual true Christians. The behaviour of Abraham may have been regarded as strange, by his kinsmen.

The same consideration ought to apply, to those truthfully appreciating God’s calling into Christianity.  However, when carefully analysing the general behaviour of Christianity, one sees the reality in that most people are attracted only by the desire to belong.

A newly converted person desires belonging to a group—not, necessarily, desiring to obey Christ’s calling. The idea of counting the costs, as articulated by Jesus, appears unfathomable, to most of those—known to call themselves Christians (Luke 14:25-33). Those people assume that there would be security, in being under the leadership of some denomination.

The group leader—considered as more spiritual—is empowered to formulate doctrines that influence the general conduct of that group. I suppose the furthermost popular, yet misunderstood Scripture—for most believers—is as recorded below?

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14) (ESV).

Desiring to be counted as belonging to those of the narrow gate, most people seek to identify with some denomination. The leaders of any of those particular denominations use scriptures, such as this one to claim how right theirs would be, as compared with the rest.

Nevertheless, it is also common that most believers prefer belonging to those groups—popularly regarded as mega Churches. However, this does not suggest that such churches should, therefore, be regarded as false, necessarily. While that might be true, this post is not intended to project the wrongness among those Christian groupings.

The intention is, simply, to highlight the need for individual Christians to consider that God’s calling—bears nothing to do with belonging to groupings, necessarily. When a person considers him/herself as Christ’s follower, he/she ought to be guided by the principle of truth.

Unfortunately, truth does not come from groupings, but from the person himself. This entails deciding on what a person considers to be true or false. Such a decision has got nothing to do with what other people say or suggest, necessarily. See [There is no denomination that represents truth].

Christ indicated that only the truth sets humanity free. This removes any consideration of what other people say or practice. The person is guided by truth, according to his/her own analytical considerations—not what other people suggest, necessarily. While responsible, the same person is consciously aware that his data ought to be compared with other people’s opinions.

The things known to be true should be honestly regarded as such and applied. But the things regarded as untrue should be honestly rejected as not yet true. A clear distinction between the two is what matters most. What is most dangerous is the inability to make such judgments—leaving others to conclude matters without one’s own evaluation and input.

Jesus represents the only stable datum, the world has ever needed. The important question is how the person interprets what Jesus taught. Not necessarily, how other people interpret what Jesus said.

Taking a position on what one believes to be true, against what others say, is senior to everything. However, this does not then imply negatively judging those not in agreement with one. It simply implies that the determination is based on direct communication with Christ.

Knowledge is obtained by comparing the available data against any other data of comparable magnitude. A person who is able to evaluate and conclude, on matters of knowable and unknowable data, is bestowed with wisdom.

This is just as the person would be consciously aware of possible valuable data from other fellow human beings. But the person would be at home, only with what he/she understands to be true—based on his/her own analytical conclusions. That person is expected to live and practice only what he/she knows to be true.

Jesus does not make it necessary for that person to be bothered by things unknowable to him/her. This is why to the Jews, Jesus declares: “No-one can come to me, except the Father who sent me, draws Him” (John 6:44). The person becomes accountable, only to what is known to be true already.

What is important is asking oneself two simple questions: (a) “Is what I believe really true?” (b) What is it that gives me the assurance that it is true, if not coming from Jesus—the only stable datum?

To the wise—as pursuing the small gate referred to, by Jesus (Matthew 7:13-14) —these two simple questions represent a turning point. Nevertheless, this also requires the acquisition of responsibility, as demanded of those having obtained knowledge.

The life of Abraham is represented in the lives of individual Christians—united only by the consideration of the above-referred two simple questions. Jesus stressed the point that, in Christianity, no-one ought to be regarded as greater than others (Matthew 23:8-12).  The apostle Paul also vehemently taught and emphasized the same point:

“Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God’” (Romans 14:10-11).    

What is true to any person, is only true to the extent that the person knows nothing else, at that given point. The most important thing is sincerity—when honestly doing the best—according to one’s conviction.

The Apostle Paul perfectly illustrated this point in the entire chapter of Romans 14. Also, when considering the circumstance of how Paul was called into the ministry, one observes a clear testimony on the effects of sincerity in commitment to one’s own convictions.

Grounded on Jewish Law, Paul persecuted the Church of God. However, God did not condemn him for his misconduct. God later used Paul’s zeal in the service of God in His true Church. This is why God expressed the difference between the lukewarm and the red-hot Christianity (Revelations 3:15-20).

The rejected ones are neither cold nor red-hot, but lukewarm Christians. Such people cannot differentiate between the knowable and the unknowable. They sit in between—guided by what appeals to their comfort, at any given time. More than being guided by their conviction and stand for what they know to be true against what is not true—regardless of possible persecution.

It cannot be possible to know everything in this life. But it is possible to apply conviction in what one knows to be true. The unknowable should be deferred for the day when it would be revealed. Christians are expected to test everything and hold fast that which would be considered good. But abstaining from every form of what is considered as evil (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22).  

The only way of determining whether any datum is truthful or false is in its ability to either positively or negatively affect other people. In this life, there is no absolute rightness or absolute wrongness. The consideration of what is right can be arrived at—only when prejudicing the minority, favouring of the majority.  

The wrong conduct is observed, when favouring the minority, yet prejudicing the majority. This is the only stable datum we have—left by Jesus, Himself. He considered it good—to die on the cross, serving humanity—instead of serving His own life—at the expense of the entire humanity.

This projects a principle—easily observed—even in governments of this world. Any governing system that is considered evil, favours the minority against the majority.  While any governing system that is considered good, favours the majority, at the expense of the minority. This, obviously, has got nothing to do with the strict observance in law-keeping, necessarily.

This is also a principle that does not consider the existence of rightful or wrongful worship, necessarily. It is premised on the golden rule: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12) (ESV).

However, all this has got nothing to do with theology, or holding titles in religious organizations. It requires a sincere consideration of what one does, in relationship with other people. Do the simplest things appear as most difficult to most people? Such people would rather opt for the most complicated—as codified in what is unknowable—rather than considering the simplicity of what would be knowable.

For instance, I do not expect anyone to give me credit for revealing such simplicities. But, obviously, there will always be those seeking opportunities to give other people praises—than applying what is learnt. In a world full of treachery, such as ours, most people would rather cash-in on anything that provides an opportunity to swindle other people.

This comes about, due to sinfulness—inherent in our physical nature. This is why repentance ought to be considered as representing death to physical nature. All this is intertwined on issues to do with, either adopting the knowable or rebuffing the unknowable data.

This calls for personal integrity—when making choices and adopting what one clearly knows to be true—shunning what is considered as untrue. Knowledge is available to the wise. But such knowledge remains obscure, to the proud—who God describes as unwise and wicked. All truths come from Him alone.

Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope.

The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99

Also available as an e-copy at Lulu.com  for $6.99

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