If not, then my faith in Him is predicated on stubborn wishful thinking in which I presuppose him to be truth and make everything else fit.
To me, that is much less beautiful than being open about fear and doubt. The way of open faith ultimately leads to a more authentic way of experiencing faith because it fosters intellectual and spiritual integrity. Convincing me against Jesus would be a really hard thing to do, but, I must be open to it if I want to be truly accountable. In practice, we expect others to hold their faith or lack of in an open hand.
Apologetics and debates are predicated on the understanding that the other person should be open to new ideas. We assume that other people should be willing to admit they are wrong, why should we be immune to that? We need to approach our faith like the scientific method. Science rarely has ulterior motives for deducing truth, it is impartial by design. For example darwinian evolution is often criticized by some creationists because it is assumed that scientists are trying to unequivocally prove that transmutation of species is a fact.
The argument is made that the evolutionists are certain that they are right. If new evidence was identified that altered the theories of evolution or anything else, for that matter most of the scientific community would embrace it with open arms. The scientific method, by definition, admits that the hypothesis, methodology and conclusions could be wrong. As such, theories are always open to being changed or refined. Faith should also be open to being changed or refined. Ecclesia semper reformanda est is a latin motto that sprang up during the Protestant Reformation.
The church, more than anyone, should be able to grasp this concept. Faith should constantly be reforming, not just when a handful of reformers get fed up with the status quo. Our faith could benefit from applying that ethos more. Faith, like science, can be explained as the best understanding of the evidence that we have at any given time. It should be open to new evidence. Consider the many people in the Bible that doubted and the ways that God still used them.
If you have been in Christian community for any amount of time you probably already know the stories of Abraham doubting the promise that God made to him and taking matters into his own hands. Or the story of Thomas the doubter who had a hard time believing that Jesus had been resurrected despite doing ministry with Him for a long time.
These stories are often used as an example of what not to do, but, doubt can be a useful human trait. If we can look to biblical examples as common human experience then It seems that doubt is perfectly reasonable for the believer. Sometimes, doubt may be necessary to cultivate a deeper faith. Doubt is simply a search for truth, as such, it is an important aspect of faith.
When faith is minimized to a group of propositional statements that must be intellectually accepted we have lost the wonder and mystical aspects of what it means to ponder an infinite God.
Our words simply cannot define God so any attempts to do so will naturally bring up doubt. Doubt serves a greater purpose. Because doubt is an extension of critical thinking it can help separate the wheat from the chaff. I think it is important to doubt things because it tends to eliminate dead faith.
This process of doubting and purging creates a simpler, more elegant belief system and we end up with a streamlined religion that is stronger than it was before. Love means more because it can be lost. Our love is more authentic because we only truly love a few people in our lifetime and we can lose those people.
We gain a better understanding of love after almost losing someone, we no longer take them for granted because we now realize the vulnerability of that love. There is a certain amount of vulnerability that contributes to the intensity of love. That's what makes it so special. Faith is the same.
If we become complacent with the gift of faith and create an idol of certainty then we have lost much of the elegant simplicity of what it means to have faith. If it comes back to you, it's yours forever. That maybe, we were living a counterfeit.
We tend to hold on to aspects of faith for any number of reasons. Our intentions may be good but our faith is ultimately worthless when it is predicated solely on things like the faith of our parents or the current religion of our geography. Accepting that elements of our faith can be lost means embracing the realness of what is left.
It means having authentic beliefs. We no longer just believe something because that is what we want to believe or someone told us to believe, but because we actually do believe it. Admitting that it is possible that we might be living a spiritual lie something we are just pretending to believe is the first step in defining a genuine faith.
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