Daily Riches: The Collective Arrogance of the Herd (Thomas Merton, Tim Keller, and Augustine of Hippo)

“There grows in me an immense dissatisfaction with all that is merely passively accepted as truth, without struggle and without examination. Faith, surely, is not passive, and not an evasion. And today, more than ever, the things we believe, I mean especially the things we accept on human faith – reported matters of ‘fact,’ questions of history, of policy, of interpretation, of wants – they should be very few. …I am still able to hope that a civil exchange of ideas can take place between two persons — that we have not yet reached the stage where we are all hermetically sealed, each one in the collective arrogance and despair of his own herd.” Thomas Merton

“A faith without some doubts is like a human body with no antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask the hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic. A person’s faith can collapse almost overnight if she failed over the years to listen patiently to her own doubts, which should only be discarded after long reflection.” Timothy Keller

“Let us, on both sides, lay aside all arrogance. Let us not, on either side, claim that we have already discovered the truth. Let us seek it together as something which is known to neither of us. For then only may we seek it, lovingly and tranquilly, if there be no bold presumption that it is already discovered and possessed.”  Augustine

“…what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.”
Micah 6:8

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Does your faith make room for “doubt … only discarded after long reflection?” If you need to be able to explain everything, where does that come from?
  • Arrogance renders one ineffectual in reaching, correcting, learning from and loving others. No wonder the Lord wants us to “walk humbly” instead (“seeking the truth together”) when we disagree with others. Even though this is “required”, do you see it as a sign or weakness or compromise?
  • “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” As you’ve matured, does this resonate with you?

Abba, teach me humility before you and others.

For More: Raids on the Unspeakable by Thomas Merton


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

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