Friday, February 22, 2008

Even More about Faith

A few posts ago I mentioned a young friend who has lost her faith. On a personal level, I've been puzzling about how to relate to her now that she claims to no longer be a Christian, a child of God, or a believer--whichever term you want to use. More about that in another post, maybe

I've already mentioned that the unreasonableness of Christianity is what she cites as the reason she has fallen away. Her words: "You can't prove Christianity by reason. It always comes down to faith."

The irony about that is that if Christianity were provable by reason, we wouldn't need faith--but, indeed, faith is what God asks for.
Hebrews 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Also, Jesus' words come to mind,
" have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure."
This is part of what doesn't make sense in Christianity, part of why God asks for faith and not for understanding. If it were understanding that he wanted, we could earn heaven by just learning enough and deducing enough. No, somehow faith is what he wants. But if you actually don't believe--because of problems with reasonableness or problems of suffering or disappointment with God or, or, or--then how can one get faith?

(Personally, I believe, but I can sure relate to that guy in Mark who said, "I believe, but help my unbelief.")

When she explained to me about her loss of faith, she told me, "There is a saying: 'For those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who do not believe, no explanation will suffice.'" The funny thing about that is when I researched this saying, I learned it is attributed to a magician, or mentalist, called Joseph Dunninger. No Christian there.


Melchizedek said...

Does that mean you disagree with the quote? - "For those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who do not believe, no explanation will suffice."

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! One of the saddest quotes I ever heard on "faith/proof" was about Carl Sagan and goes something like this "He didn't want to believe; he wanted to know."

A terrible consequnece of the "knowledge of good and evil" is that we must be free to choose one or the other. And, alas, incontrovertible proof removes choice.

So the decision remains on a knife edge with faith (or the lack thereof) tilting the balance.

I pray that your friend finds her way back from the barrens of "provable things" to faith.

-- Ishmael

tank said...

Yuck, what a mess. I guess we all know the frustration, though. I know I've explained to God plenty of times why he should just fill me in on everything so that it can stop being so difficult to comprehend. Unfortunately, my earthly brain doesn't have the capacity to get it all. I'm looking forward to the glorified brain.

Maybe, if the subject comes up again with your friend, you can just remind her that faith is a gift, as is love and hope. God gives us these gifts abundantly, but we can decide to take them and then use them or not. And that no one has 100% perfect faith 100% of the time. But I'm sure she's heard it all already.

If she says she can't believe in the stuff that's just so illogical, then what does she believe in? If she likes that intellectual type stuff, I'd suggest C.S. Lewis' "Miracles".

I'll try to remember to pray, too.

Thainamu said...

Thank you for your comments. And thank you for your prayers that God will somehow bring my friend back to faith.

Melchizedek, I do kind of disagree wtih that quote, although I can see it too. Now that I know from whence it comes, it makes more sense. The reason I don't think it fits with Christian faith is that, as Tank said in her comment, faith is a gift that has to be received, similar to salvation itself, not a result of a satisfactory explanation. And while I do acknowledge that there are things in scripture don't make sense or perhaps don't measure up to a given level of scientific proof, the most unreasonable thing about Christianity is that a holy and powerful God would love and forgive any of us pathetic people.

Ishmael, thank you for your insightful comments, esp. your second paragraph. I too am praying for my friend to find faith.

Tank, thanks for stopping by. My friend is a friend of yours too, and maybe that knowledge will help you to pray.