If one is ignorant, or just flat wrong about something, there is no virtue in having a firm conviction. Maturity requires on ongoing rethinking of what is worthy of our affirmation and commitment.
Now there is a difference in the politically expedient “waffling” on social issues (well displayed during this political season) and the genuine recognition of new light on a subject of politics, faith or otherwise.
In an editorial in the Macon Telegraph a few years ago, my friend Ed Corson, longtime journalist, teacher and Baptist layman, made this good observation: “Changing one’s mind is not bad in itself … Refusing to learn from experience is the opposite of wisdom and of practicality.”
In the important realm of faith, our unlearning is an important part of spiritual growth.
One of my seminary professors (wish I could remember which one) use to say something like: “Hold on to what you have until you find something better to replace it with.”
I took that to mean that we do not wipe the slate of faith clean and start over. But, on the other hand, we do not fear re-examinations of and even replacements for what we claim to believe.
Therefore, we should have our lists of things we no longer believe as well as our confessions of faith. Here are a few from my unbelief list:
1. I don’t believe fear produces a genuine, mature response to faith.
2. I don’t believe any one Christian or Christian group possesses as much truth as they likely think.
3. I don’t believe the Church can fulfill its rightful mission when so much of its energy and resources are spent internally.
4. I don’t believe God is as hard on us as a lot of preachers tell us.
That’s good for starters. God help our unbelief; it benefits our belief.