It_s_Sherlock_v_Doctor_Who_in_our_Greatest_TV_Night_Ever_pollTime to fess up. I’m a huge fan of the TV shows Sherlock and Doctor Who. I saw the 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who in 3D at the cinema.

Hands down, best two programmes on TV right now. And I’ll argue anyone on that one.

Outside the sheer quality of the programmes themselves, one thing they are known for is the sheer secrecy which surrounds the build up to their airing.

They barely get previous for reviewers, because the creators don’t want anything slipping out. Cast members actually have it in their contracts that they’re not allowed to give away anything about the stories.

For the 50th anniversary edition of Doctor Who the build up was so intense, and so many had so many questions about what would be in the show.

And no one gave away anything.

Then of course there’s the cliffhangers – like the ‘How did he survive?’ question in the last episode of Sherlock in 2012, and which has remained unanswered to date (nearly 2 years). People are desperate to find out what happened, or how it happened. Huge websites and movements are grown simply on the back of wanting to know what happens or how it happened, or what will happen.

Why is this? Because there is an inbuilt human desire for certainty.

We like to feel in control of our lives, and the outcome of our lives. We get our uncertainty through the build up to TV shows or films, things which don’t govern how we live our lives.

But in what really matters, we crave certainty. We fear the unknown. So culture constructs stories and formulas for how we should live.

For example, you get this job, you do what means most to you, you meet the right person and then when all this happens you’ll be happy. And when, inevitably, life doesn’t follow that plan, we get upset, disillusioned and bitter. But it’s only because we still believe this story is the right story, because we want to conform to a pattern, because we were promised certainty but didn’t get it.

And this happens worst of all in the Christian church. So many Christians I talk to, including many I call friends, speak about God with such certainty, and I hear Christian leaders often speak of the divine insurance policy, which is effectively saying,


“Believe the right theology (my theology, of course), and then you are guaranteed eternal life” 


And because we want certainty Christians end up worshipping the scriptures – or at least their interpretation of them – instead of worshipping God, and having a belief which is almost based on certainty.

I say belief, and not faith, because it’s not faith. If it’s certainty, it cannot be called faith. To have faith in Jesus isn’t trusting Him once you know the answers – it’s to trust Him when you don’t know all the answers, when you have doubts, questions, when life doesn’t work out. 

Jesus invites us into a life full of uncertainty – to be a Christian is to embrace doubt, uncertainty and questioning. (tweet that here)

Yes, of course there are fundamental truths, core values, but we take this way too far, especially when it comes to doing church, evangelism and scripture. People stop using historical context, forget to take the original audience into account, who it was written to and by and when and what they were writing to, forgetting the basic truth that when these books were written nobody knew the Bible would get put together, that was decided much later on – by human beings.

One of the things which makes Doctor Who & Sherlock so much fun is the uncertainty & mystery which surrounds them. It makes the journey worthwhile, and much more exciting. And it’s the same with faith.

God is full of mystery, uncertainty, unseen, unknowing, and invites us into this adventure with Him, to trust in the basic truths of who He is, who Jesus was, and in resurrection, and the values they stand for, and to settle for not knowing all the answers.

But if you think you have all the answers about God, you don’t know God at all.

And if your faith – whatever it’s in – has no room for doubt or mystery, it’s not faith at all.

God invites us on a unique journey, one which no one has ever lived before or will again, and to do this in community – and that means by definition you’ll have to embrace the unknown, to trust, to accept you don’t know all the answers or what will happen next.

Are you with me?





Do you agree with me or disagree with me? Why?

What do you believe true faith is?

Does your ‘faith’ have any uncertainty to it?




Let me know in the comments below!





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James Prescott

Hi, I’m James. I live near London. I’m a fan of good food, comic-book movies, & books. I love to write, and I coach other writers & creative people. Thank you for being part of my community. read more...

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