Posts Tagged ‘Is faith stupid?’

faithIf I’ve learned anything during my years of writing about faith, it’s that there are folks out there who absolutely DETEST that word.

Most of those people would vigorously agree with the graphic that inspired this essay, which I found on an Internet atheism community.

Maybe you’ve never given the word much thought, but now that you’ve read the graphic, you’re thinking “ya, it’s all about ignorance!”.

So let’s look at the word for a moment. The Pocket Oxford Dictionary defines it as: 1. complete trust or confidence; 2. firm, especially religious, belief; 3. religion or creed; 4. loyalty, trustworthiness.

First off, I want nothing to do with “religion” and this blog explains why: http://wp.me/p2wzRb-eu.

Secondly, would anyone in their right mind credibly call someone like Henry Schaefer ignorant? Schaefer, a chemist, earned the 1979 American Chemical Society Award in pure chemistry. He also wrote Science and Christianity: Conflict or Coherence?

Here’s another person that no thinking person could ever label ignorant: Ard Louis teaches theoretical physics at Oxford, one of the world’s most prestigious universities. Before that, he managed to get rid of just enough ignorance to teach theoretical chemistry at Cambridge University.

What do Schaefer and Louis have in common? They’re Christians. And there are many, many more followers of Jesus Christ out there who are making contributions in chemistry, physics, engineering and biomedical sciences.

Schaefer and Louis have what the Pocket Oxford calls “complete trust or confidence” in Christ — His teachings, His death, His resurrection and the truth of what Jesus said about His creator (who also happens to be your creator).

So what isn’t faith? A pastor at my church, Henry Shore, laid it out just a week ago:

  • Faith is not a positive mental attitude.
  • Faith is not a belief in a force or in a formula
  • Faith is not psyching yourself up with wishful thinking
  • Faith is not believing I can accomplish anything if I put my mind to it.
  • Faith is not believing if I believe hard enough, like some TV preachers would have us believe, then it’ll become a reality.
  • Faith is not faith in our words, it is not faith in ourselves, it is not faith in faith.
  • True faith is in God. The focus isn’t on the faith; but on the object of our faith.

From a Christian perspective, faith is having firm belief — based on a mix of evidence and belief — that there is a creator for all that you and I see and experience. And that creator offers you and I a gift: Jesus, whom serious Christians believe is God’s son.

Look into that gift. Talk to knowledgeable Christians about Him. Despite what your friends and family may tell you, this is important and serious stuff. And it’s good news.

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From faith to blessings 11.13Striking, angry, bitter words, aren’t they?

This graphic, posted on an internet Atheism community, certainly states an opinion very strongly. But exactly what is the creator of this meme raving about?

Wikipedia defines faith as “confidence or trust in a person, thing, deity or in the doctrines or teachings of a religion or view (e.g. having strong political faith). The word faith is often used as a synonym for hope, trust or belief.”

Does this sound like something worth throwing your time and energy into opposing? It certainly doesn’t to me.

But what about being gullible, having an absence of reason, etc.? Well consider this: I decided to follow Jesus of Nazareth — who many people believe is the divine son of God — at age 42, after reading many books from variety of perspectives, thinking long and hard about what I believed in and why, and having challenging conversations with several Jesus followers.

But if you are to believe everything in this graphic, then after all my deliberation, I made a choice to become gullible. I decided to throw away reason. Become dishonest and blind myself (to what, I’m not sure).

Are you really buying this?

I can imagine some opponents of faith saying it’s what people of faith do that’s so wrong, especially when they use their faith to back up their actions.

On this point, we absolutely agree. There’s nothing more wrong than blowing up a skyscraper, denying rights to women or bombing abortion clinics in the name of faith. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

That said, here’s a question for you: should all faith be detested because of the crazed actions of a fanatical few? I know how many atheist people would answer, but what about YOU?

Like it or not, it seems to me, faith is mixed into the fabric of our lives.

  • We place our faith in doctors without knowing if (or how often) they’ve been sued for malpractice.
  • We go on airplane trips, trusting in mechanics and safety inspectors (who are every bit as imperfect as you and me) to ensure the plane is safe.
  • We drive our vehicles over bridges every day, placing our faith in nothing more than steel, concrete and rebar, plus annual government inspections.

So, if you really want to detest faith, then you better not leave the house again. In fact, maybe you shouldn’t even live in a house. Despite all the building codes designed to ensure it was built to last, who knows when it could fall in on you?

My faith in Jesus means that without seeing Him, I know that He lived, died and came back to life – all for the benefit of people who believe in Him and trust Him with their lives.

Does this sound crazy? Jesus addresses that very question when, after his resurrection, he permitted a follower named Thomas to touch the wounds of his crucifixion.

“So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes,” Jesus told “doubting” Thomas. “Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.”

Do you want those blessings? Post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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