Is Thinking Free or Costly?
I've been doing a little bit of reading on the controversial Bishop Pike of California (1913-1969). I had done some research, then found an old copy of William Stringfellow and Anthony Towne, The Death and Life of Bishop Pike, a strange journey through Pike's marriages, his struggles with the Anglican Church, his heresy trials, his preoccupation with the origins of Christianity and the historical Jesus, the suicide of his son James and his subsequent obsession with the occult as he tried to communicate with his deceased son. His life ended tragically when he got lost and perished in the brutal wilderness of Israel, approximately where it is believed Jesus suffered his temptations. I want to share with you two quotes from Stringfellow and Towne's book that caught my attention. The first one is a motto that Pike crafted:
"Less beliefs; more belief!"The other one is:
The sermon itself was a moving recapitulation of his quest for that which could be conscientiously believed by twentieth-century Christians.There is much today in modern Christianity which simply cannot be believed by many twenty-first century people. Science alone legitimately challenges many preciously held notions. Recently I spoke with a good friend who has left the church and Christianity because he was reading science, agreed with some conclusions, and automatically felt alienated from his beliefs. He felt, and often this is true, that he had a choice: science or faith. Or rather, he felt the church was forcing this choice upon him. Although it would be fair to say that much of the science community might force the same choice. Lately I find myself examining much of what I believe. Or am I wanting to mature in my thinking? In many quarters this would be considered dangerous and potentially detrimental. But if I am to keep my conscience clear, I must proceed! Which leads me to want to say:
- I will explore, think, and arrive at my own conclusions with a free and clear conscience.
- I will encourage others to do the same.
- I will provide a community within which this can occur.