Virtue is only virtue in extremis. This is what he believes. Good is good in the final hour, in the deepest pit, without hope, without witness, without reward.
People really hate the unknown. They try desperately to predict their futures, to map it out. They consult psychics, develop ten year plans, Google how to get there. They use the Bible as a vision of the future, instead of a road map into the past. They are content with having answers, with the known.
Because the unknown terrifies them. And the unknown is what we face every minute of every day; we don’t like to think about the fact that we are not as secure, not as confident, not as right as we think we are. “I don’t know” can be the scariest phrase in our language. But unless you are open to the unknown, to being wrong, to not having all of the answers (or any of them), whenever something hits you that rattles your cage, you’ll face an existential crisis.
It’s human arrogance, ego, to want to have all the answers; to always be right… and sometimes the need to be right carries over into crushing the opposition, because if they argue with you, one of you must be wrong. And it cannot possibly be you! And it is in those moments when, like the Doctor, you believe in nothing… and find yourself.
I have been there. I have stared into nothingness and not known what, or if, I believe in anything beyond what I can see … or even that.
The emptiness of uncertainty is something I am familiar with; it’s been a process over the last eight months of routinely emptying myself of things I no longer believe in. And, it’s hard to rewrite old code. Some of my thinking is so entrenched, it may take decades to let go of it. But I no longer want it. I no longer see through those eyes. And I won’t lie to you, sometimes I think it would be easier just to pull the plug. Either hold onto my old views, or walk away from faith altogether. Believe this world is all we get, and live it.
Does my idealism keep me here? My hope in something better? The fragile glimpses of God pulling people forward out of antiquated belief systems over generations? All of the above. And a sense that God exists, perhaps in ways we cannot yet comprehend.
The thought of having no preset answers, of being like the Doctor, facing a non-reality, terrified me. I fled from it after I read some things to crumble my faith, as tradition had defined it. Once I let it in, I found not having all the answers comforting. Jesus raised more questions than he answered; it’s humans who demand a set of rules, to make themselves feel more comfortable with God, and to avoid the unknown. Yet, I’m starting to think it’s in the unknown where God truly resides, as the Infinite Mystery.
Some days, I feel very much like the Doctor — blind, in a world of color. Groping for truth. Fighting the doubts that plague me. Yet, discovering the truth of who I am… when I have nothing to gain from my goodness. And in that moment, knowing the presence of God.