a little more about faith
Faith may be one of the most misunderstood words in all of
Christianity. Especially in Western cultures, where evidence
and scientific proof have significant meaning in our society, we are
told that if we have 'no tangible proof' we cannot trust in something's
validity or truth, and we certainly can't 'prove' it. Going
even further, this legalistic / naturalistic worldview will not accept
anything not proven on their terms, especially anything
'supernatural.' But allowing the discussion to progress to
this level is unfair, because that is not what faith claims to be - the
person arguing against faith in this matter does not understand what he
is talking about!
The fact is, there is faith evident in our everyday living - EVERYONE exercises 'faith' EVERYDAY! Knowing that faith is more than just 'believing', in this context, faith is the basis of what we make decisions on everyday. So in effect, we ALL have a LIVING FAITH! Let me give you some examples. I assume, based upon past experiences, references from friends, and a basic understanding of health and cleanliness requirements, that the restaurant I will eat at tonight will not poison me. I trust that the cook has properly prepared the food, and that they have no evil intent toward me. I cannot know 'for sure' that there is not a disgruntled food worker wanting to make problems for his company, but I assume not. Therefore I am comfortable going to dinner tonight. I will make a decision based upon reliable evidence and assumptions, and step forward. So you see, faith is by no means 'blind'.
Another example, that is a little more scary. Recently, in the news, there has been reports of airline pilots reporting to work under the influence of alcohol. Indeed, there are reports that they have imbibed while on the job! I know that there is a valid concern, however I chose to take my family on a vacation anyhow. I assume that the particular airline I was traveling with has remedied the situation, but I don't know for sure! These are examples of a 'living faith' - one in which we make decisions about how to progress with our lives, despite not having 100% knowledge or assurance. We begin with what we know, with what makes sense, and then step out beyond that into the 'unknown'. Trust is involved, as is commitment. It is normal...it is life. And it is no different with Christianity. Faith becomes the action which is the basis of living. Indeed Paul Little says it clearly: "Faith is action." It is a result of a decision, and it is a basis for making decisions. And that is precisely what the writer to the Hebrews meant when he told us that:
"...faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
The only question that remains is: 'In what shall we place our faith?' Indeed, it is this question that invokes the most 'news worthy issues' these days. This is why the drunken pilot story scares us all, if even just a little bit. It is a case of misplaced faith. Those passengers some time ago assumed they were under proper care, and made their choices just like we all do - but their faith was misplaced and their lives were in danger (thank God they were spared.) We see similar stories everyday - of an abusive babysitter, an irresponsible oil freighter captain, an immoral politician - they are so unsettling to us because we realize that we are all vulnerable to the misplaced faith.
So the decision comes down to warrant (how much credibility is there in the claim), and then a commitment is made. Like a marriage in which the bride places full faith in her suitor, she trusts him and becomes fully married (not 75% married, if she is only 75% sure of herself and him!) A person is either in or out, so we must make sure that the decision is a proper one (and in case you're wondering, the decision to 'wait and see' is the same decision as 'no', because in both cases you're 'not in'.)
How Does This Relate To CHRISTIAN FAITH?
To the mature believer, faith is so real it is tangible. This type of faith surrounds all things spiritual. When mere arguments, logic, and hope cannot prove anything spiritual, faith steps in and completes the picture in our minds and our lives. It is the part of our reason that is filled from the heart, not the head. Combining the heart faith and the head logic completes the total faith puzzle in the true believer, from the knowledge that God exists, to the knowledge that He provided for us a means to be reconciled to Him through the Christ.
In the mature Christian, faith goes even further. Our faith becomes our way of life, submitting to the will of God as revealed in scripture. This is why biblical study is so important, as it leads to a proper faith and a mature Christian lifestyle and witness to and about God and Christ.
So in summary, we must see that in everyday, practical issues, faith and reason are not mutually exclusive, they are mutually supportive. As for warrant and credibility, we can see evidences of God all around us if we look, and we can feel the evidences of God inside us if we listen to Him. And that is the purpose of this website - to discuss the warrants for Christianity - to join the mind with the spirit to produce a mature Christian faith.