By Edward Thal /
I don’t have much faith. Not if we’re talking about the kind of faith that squinches its eyes, holds thumbs, takes a deep breath, empties the mind and waits for results. Mark Twain described this faith as “believing what you know ain’t so.”
Some call it “blind faith” and I’m not very good at doing that. It’s much easier to put your faith in something that you know is so. Then it’s more like trust.
When the subject is the Bible – all of it, from Genesis to Revelation – skeptics mock those who say they believe every word, and from their perspective the skeptics are right. Only a fool would believe that a man waving a stick could part the sea, or that another man was able to call actual fire down from heaven. Raising the dead is not possible unless you’re a modern doctor with access to every high-tech piece of equipment, and even then it’s a stretch. Raising yourself from the dead is the stuff of fairytales, the height of folly or ignorance if the most you believe in is you.
Perhaps you put your faith in the government, but every sane person knows the government can’t do miracles, whatever it promises. Governments routinely promise to give away free stuff that isn’t really free by spending money they haven’t got until the good old fashioned Law of Reality sets in – the Law that says, “What can’t last, won’t!” Then it all comes crashing down. Economists call this a “correction” and it certainly is. (To see how this works in the real world, look at Venezuela, or Illinois, or California). False promises, like fake miracles, always end in “corrections”.
Or perhaps you say that you believe in something that you call “God”, but it turns out that your god is just an idealized version of yourself and you know deep inside that you’re incapable of doing even the smallest miracle.
At this point I must confess that though I don’t have much faith and I’m pretty skeptical about a lot of things in this world (including promises from the government) I do believe that every word of the Bible is true, including “and”, “the” and “but”. The reason I believe it is because I trust the Author. (I could go out on a limb and say I have met the Author but that would take some explaining and if you’re a skeptic I would lose you right there). Let’s just say that I trust the Author because I got tired of searching for the right kinds of answers (those that fit my point of view): sooner or later they always proved false. Instead, I just looked for the Truth, deciding in advance to go wherever it led me.
Through a process of simple logic I started with what I knew, the world around me and the stars above me that spoke of an infinity beyond them all, and asked myself if I honestly believed the whole thing happened by accident. That would include me. But seeing myself as an accident in an accidental universe made life in general and my life in particular an absurdity that could only be answered by just sitting down to die.
Before I took that radical step I wondered if it could all be the purposeful work of a Creator who was named “God” by religious people. Very quickly I discovered an incredible array of religions that offered a multitude of theories about God and how to reach Him (or Her, or It, or Them). Then after a bit of study it became clear that they basically all said the same thing: it was up to me, and it would be hard work without any guarantee of success.
Could there be another possibility, I wondered? What if God made everything, including me, and made it very easy to reach Him because He did all the work by reaching out to me first? That’s when I discovered the story of Jesus, and it all made perfect sense when I read these words in a book about Him that paraphrased a passage from the Bible:
In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the world that was made by him, and as many as received him he gave power to become the sons of God.
It didn’t take any faith to believe in God at that point: it just took surrender.
Oh, and that part about believing every word in the Bible? It’s not hard if you know that God created the universe. In comparison, making available a perfectly complete and trustworthy record about Himself and His purpose was really quite easy.