Cardinal sin twelve - The need to be right, certainty, and arrogance.
The mission of UU A Way Of Life is to improve spiritual health, reduce immoral and sinful behavior, and work across systems for positive societal change. This article is another in a series of articles on reducing immoral and sinful behavior. “Sinful” in the context of the UU A Way Of Life mission statement is defined as mistaken. The mission statement could read, “reducing immoral and mistaken behavior” but the mistakes being referred to are ones that cause spiritual injury and so we use the word “sinful.”.
The twelfth component of spiritual health is not knowing and curiosity. What is the opposite of not knowing and curiosity? It is certainty and arrogance.. It is asked in A Course In Miracles, “Would you rather be right or be happy?” Unfortunately, on the path of the ego we would rather be right and the need to be right can be a very destructive thing.
The need to be right leads to judgmentalism, bias, prejudice, discrimination, contempt, disdain, separation and exclusion. At the more extreme, it leads to attack, punishment, and death.
The root of many sins is certainty, arrogance, and pride which leads to attack, domination, subjugation, and oppression. Unitarian Universalists covenant together to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person and the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. Unitarian Universalism is relatively unique in its nonjudgmentalism, inclusivity, and open mindedness and open heartedness.
The skills of not knowing and curiosity for most people don’t come naturally because so much of human nature is fear based. The opposite of love is fear and most of us live our lives with anxiety and avoidance rather than love and security.
What helps us overcome our fears is intentional curiosity and acknowledgement of not knowing everything. To ask the question, “What would love have me do?” requires genuine and sincere questioning and curiosity. Oftentimes when genuinely curious we are easily surprised and satisfied with what we learn and become aware of. Setting aside pre-ordained assumptions and expectations, fills one with a delightful sense of mystery and awe. Socrates taught that the hallmark of a wise person is knowing what one doesn’t know. When a person is sixteen they think they know everything. By the time one is seventy six one knows how little they know and they approach life with awe, reverence, and curiosity.
Should we put our faith in certainty and authoritative texts and teachings or should we be open to the awe and mystery and the lifelong search for the holy and peace which is our birthright?