It seems that most people are upset by uncertainty, and more specifically Christians get really upset if one where to say that we cannot know. I was taught when I first came into the church about this “blessed assurance”, to know that you know that you know that god is real/good/loving etc.
At the same time I was taught about faith and hope none of which speaks about any such knowledge or assurance. Conviction, yes, but not certainty. The very essence of having faith is to put our trust into what has yet to be proven. And for many of us, myself included that trust grows and deepens year after year as more and more of our experience points us in the direction of the divine.
I know that I have written it elsewhere, but I will stand firm claiming that once something is fully known we stop experiencing it, we stop being present to it and it fades out into yesterday. We then assume that the thing, the person simply is the same and we stop listening and interacting consciously. In a sense we kill the relationship when it is consummated (and by that I mean once we have fully explored the depths of it). The thing is no-one can be fully known ever, as people constantly changes. God does to, and even if we hold the belief that god does not change (not ever), we still hold that god is infinite and therefore to know god fully would take an infinite amount of time. So whether we actually believe god changes or not, the reality is still the same, we cannot know god fully. This is why we must trust, hope and have faith.
To believe (as we understand it, that is intellectually to be of the opinion that…) is a modern way of thinking, the etymology of the English word believe comes from to belove, to have a relationship to, to love to trust. In Swedish the word for faith (tro) comes from the word safe (trygg), to be safe with to trust. Either way it is not knowing for a fact.
Again I want to end with a beautiful poem from Tukaram:
Certainty undermines ones power, and turns happiness
into a long shot. Certainty confines
Dears there is nothing in your life that will not
change – Especially all your ideas about god.
Look at what the insanity of righteous knowledge can do:
crusade and maim thousands
in wanting to convert that which
is already gold
Certainty can become an illness
that creates hate and
God once said to Tuka,
“Even I am ever changing –
I am ever beyond
what I may have once put my seal on
may no longer be