18 October 2006

Thoughts on Faith

Over on Connexions, Richard posted a post on Faith & Doubt.

After replying, I thought "Darn, I wish I'd just made that a blog entry." So here it is below.


Faith is, I think, ultimately something that is done and that is lived out. I think we need we need the local church as our living teacher to show us how people of faith live, how people of faith hope and how people of faith struggle.

Faith is not mainly about propositional ideas. Propositional ideas might be signposts, but they are no more faith than a sign saying “San Francisco 250 miles” is San Francisco.

There is undoubtedly part of this journey where doubt is a big part of what is going on, but doubt doesn’t define faith. Theological fundamentalism isn’t faith because it requires one leap and then the rest is knowing and being certain.

Faith is not about certainty. Faith is living in a war zone and believing in the possibility of peace. Faith is losing a child and believing in resurrection. Faith is knowing myself to be a sinner and believing in God’s power to transform me.


Anonymous said...

A great post!!

(I sometimes comment on eternal echoes blog)

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more.

Back when I was a pastor I used this illustration in sermons:

Faith is not just belief; not just intellectual agreement with a list of propositions which can be accepted or rejected. Faith is a condition of absolute trust, total dependency.

I believe that it is safer to fly in an airplane than it is to drive in a car. I believe this on the basis of good evidence. I read a study, and it convinced me that, statistically speaking, the odds are much greater that I will be killed if I drive in a car rather than fly in an airplane.

But, have you ever seen me in an airport? Despite my belief, you'd have to drag me on to the plane kicking and screaming. I have no faith in air travel. At some fundamental level, beyond belief, I simply don't trust it.

PamBG said...

Sandalstraps, thanks for that food for thought!

For further illustrative purposes, I was the same shaking wreck at airports until my job (not ministry, obviously!) demanded frequent flying. I flew at least monthly for ten years. The experience of flying being safe and comfortable, helped me to lose my fear of flying.

Anonymous said...

good one :)

and sandalstraps ... I hear you ... but I think that's why good old JAMES writes faith without deeds isn't faith at all

If I say I believe someone can carry me over Niagara falls on a tightrope - I should be willing to climb onto his / her shoulders and allow him (or her) to do it ...

yeah a big ouch!