A Defense of Not Knowing the Answers [Hope Vs Hope]

"I DON'T KNOW THE ANSWERS. ONLY IDIOTS KNOW THE ANSWERS." PHOTO: BBC TV

"I DON'T KNOW THE ANSWERS. ONLY IDIOTS KNOW THE ANSWERS."
PHOTO: BBC TV

Lately I've been catching up on this season's episodes of the fantastic BBC television show Doctor Who. In the show, the now 2,000-year old time traveler stumbles through time and space, saving people, aliens, and entire civilizations in ingenious ways.

As he plunges into each adventure, he admits to the fact that he often doesn't know exactly what to do, and makes no claim to a vast wisdom that shows him the right way to do things. It's often inspiration in the moment. 

To quote one of the past incarnations of The Doctor, "Do what I do. Hold on tight and pretend it's a plan!"

It's a ridiculous faith that often works out to his--and the universe's--advantage.

In last night's episode, in a moment of crisis, a human character berates The Doctor for not acting quickly enough, asking if, at his age and with his experience, he doesn't have the answers.

His reply is curt and cutting:

"I don't have the answers. Only idiots have the answers."

It made me think of politics. This season has featured a lot of little asides like this that seem to have overtly political tones, as we see governments here and abroad struggling to balance liberty, equality, and control, as fiercely partisan leaders and their supporters hold tight to fixed ideas, unyielding to any compromise.

But it also made me think of church, and some notes I scribbled down last Sunday while the preacher was talking about Pentecost.