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Blind Belief vs. Faith: Overcoming the Myths

May 28, 2010

What is faith to you?

Many Christians equate faith with belief in something they cannot feel, see, touch, smell, or taste. They say (and I have said) they have faith in God, faith in the resurrection, faith that Jesus was God in human form, faith in a miraculous virgin birth, faith that the miracles recorded in the Bible really occurred, and more.

This is perpetuated by a leadership that teaches us if there was no literal resurrection of Christ, then everything we are doing is a waste of time. Hence, the ultimate demonstration of “faith” is a public confession of an individual’s belief that Jesus did in fact spend three days with no vital signs and then stood up and walked among his disciples for a month and a half.

We’ve been discussing this “faith” thing over at Ronna Detrick’s A Conversational Space. I’ve seen some new definitions of faith with which I am much more comfortable. Faith to me is more about trust. I trust that everything in my world will work out for ultimate good. I trust there is a universal entity that wants what I want. I trust my family is safe. If we substitute the words “have faith” for the word “trust”, it makes sense.

I have faith that everything in my world will work out for ultimate good.

There is evidence to suggest that this is true….at least in my world.

If I apply trust in places where we have typically applied faith, it becomes a bit more challenging.

I trust that a virgin birth occurred. I trust a dove descended on Jesus and a voice from heaven spoke audible words. I trust the miracles of Jesus actually happened and people experienced instantaneous healing. I trust Jesus was dead all over for parts of three days and then just got up and walked away.

What is the evidence to accompany the trust?

Belief vs. Trust — can they possibly be the same thing?

I think we fear being labeled a doubting Thomas. Thomas wanted to see the evidence before he would trust the mysterious stranger who claimed to be Jesus. The writers (whoever you believe they were) made a point to use him as condemnation for requesting evidence as a condition of trust. Thus evidential trust was relegated to status of lame and pathetic and replaced by blind belief.

And yet Jesus was more than happy to oblige Thomas’ need for the evidence.

That brings us to some more tough questions. Questions that I have been asking lately. Questions that challenge my previously unquestioned beliefs. Questions whose answers beg for evidence.

Was Jesus born to a woman who had never had sex? What is the historical evidence? Historically “virgin births” were quite common at that time. Sort of like 8 pound premies were somewhat common in the 1960’s. Do you believe or do you trust your answer? Why?

Did Jesus spend parts of three days inside a rock tomb with no vital signs after hanging on a cross for several hours and being beaten and then come back to life and physically walk among his disciples? What is the evidence? Do you believe this or do you trust it to be true? Why? What would happen if it simply were not true?

Is the Bible the inerrant divinely inspired precise and final Word of God or is it a collection (a library) of historical writings, some of which are accurate and some of which are written too late to possibly be accurate? Which version do you believe to be the inerrant divinely inspired Word of God? Why do you believe this? What is your evidence?

My point in all of this is that whether or not Jesus was born of a virgin is irrelevant. Really. It is.

And whether or not the Bible is perfect and literal is irrelevant. Seriously.

And the toughie…..Whether or not Jesus arose from a state of dead-all-over is irrelevant. Yeah. I know. That one just sent a few people over the edge to grab swords and come kill the infidel.

Those “beliefs”, which are not supported by one shred of historical evidence, do not change the original message and purpose of Jesus.

If everything else is stripped away, and Christianity were to look ONLY at the words of Jesus, and ONLY at the most historically accurate words of Jesus, we would all be in a much better place. Humanity would be in a much better place.

Too many of our beliefs have been handed to us from others, twisted and flavored a bit, and then accepted because we’ve been brainwashed to fear what might happen if we don’t believe them.

I challenge you to ask yourself why you believe what you believe? Do you really trust it to be true? Really? What is your evidence? What is the source of your evidence? Does your belief REALLY matter in the overall big picture? What laws of nature have to be suspended in order for you to cling to your beliefs?

And is that really faith?

Here’s a little something to ponder. Its presentation here is not an endorsement, but rather exactly what it is….a presentation…an opportunity for you to hear a different point of view.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. May 28, 2010 10:25 AM

    What great questions, Angie! I, too, have gone to a human Jesus who taught a great many things. I hope I’m not putting words in your mouth. LOL. I can’t “make” him any other way, after reading all the literature, and seeing the arrows pointing in that direction.

    • May 28, 2010 10:28 AM

      You didn’t put words into my mouth. You read my mind. Beautifully. Perfectly.

      And I just added a video that was on Don Rogers’ website. It just fits.

  2. May 28, 2010 6:45 PM

    Wow. I hadn’t seen that at Don’s site. I’m going back to dig!

  3. May 28, 2010 7:21 PM

    Another way to look at things would be to RECOGNIZE the myths as just that – myths – in the truest sense of the word. Stories, not necessarily true, but with eternal truths woven in, that help explain and enlighten. Not indictments to be picked apart, but rich repositories of meaning.

    I don’t think we have to debunk everything in order to move into the wider world. We just have to look at things with different eyes. What if Adam and Eve’s trip from the garden was indeed a hero and heroine’s journey from naivete into consciousness? (tips hat to Elissa) What if the story of Mary is about saying yes to the power and the flow of our calling, even in the face of fear? What if the inclusiveness of Jesus’ outstretched arms on the cross is more about how we treat each other here and now than where we will all end up in the sweet by and by?

    For me, at first it was about letting go of things I didn’t believe anymore. Now it’s about opening myself up wider and wider to a mystery bigger than I can possibly understand – one that is not only external and something to be grasped, but something internal and worthy of my deepest reverence.

    • May 28, 2010 7:34 PM

      Renae,
      That is a most beautiful and comforting way to embrace a new paradigm. And it’s nice to know that the progression I am experiencing had a “next step” that others have experienced.

      • May 28, 2010 7:37 PM

        Don’t know if that’s universal or just me. But it’s been my experience.

        You really need to read Stages of Faith – I think it will help you see a progression.

        • May 28, 2010 7:46 PM

          Getting closer to starting it. I’m debating whether to read it or Eve first.

        • May 28, 2010 7:49 PM

          Oh Eve is DEFINITELY more fun. Stages is not really light and easy reading. It’s not terrible, but it’s a little scholarly. But it is a great framework for the journey.

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