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06 March 2008

Blind Faith

For a Wednesday night class, I went hunting on the internet for various definitions and examples of "faith." This is a word for which many, I believe, have either a murky definition or possibly no real definition at all. My observation is that many tend to believe that its backbone must be the abandonment of general reason and instead trusting in God.

I propose, though, that faith is actually based upon what we know about God and His character, both as revealed in the Scriptures and in life, and is most often not shown in the abandonment of common sense. There certainly are exceptions which may involve doing something that seems contrary to reason, but again, I believe this is the exception; not the rule. Our "everyday" faith is built upon our daily walk with God -- being hungry for His Word, meditating on it, speaking to God in prayer, following His commandments.

To slightly adapt an example I've heard in sermons and saw at Wikipedia:

To have faith involves an act of will [James 2:20]. For example, many people saw acrobat Jean Francois Blondin ("The Great Blondin") walk across the gorge below Niagara Falls in 1859 on a tightrope, and believed (on the basis of the evidence of their own eyes) that he was capable of carrying a man on his back safely across. But only his manager, Harry Colcord, had enough faith to allow himself to be carried.

One of the habits which undercuts our faith is to fail to be in the Word of God daily, but to instead rely on an intuition we want to assume to be the Holy Spirit's prompting. This leads to risk-taking, rather than a step of faith, that is often neither supported by Scripture nor prudent in real life, and can lead to situations in which we eventually may question God's inaction (or His action). It's easy to see how this can actually tear down one's faith rather than build it up.

"A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences." Proverbs 22:3 (NLT)


Christy said...

I completely agree. Great post!

Preston N said...

I especially like the whole comment about the "abadonment of common sense". We display faith on so many levels in our everyday lives. Once you stop and think how many examples there are it will really amaze you how much faith is a part of our everyday lives. Just to name a few:

- A stop light - we have "faith" the other person will stop!

- A seeing eye dog - a blind person puts a tremendous amount of "faith' in an animal.

- Marriage - we put "faith" in our spouse that they will continue to love us.

All of the above examples of faith are based upon one thing - knowledge. When it comes to God a leap of faith or blind faith is never required or even hinted at. God has given so much overwhelming evidence to beleive in Him it is really almost silly that we ever doubt his exsistence or his loving kindness. As Dean said - this is why it is so vitally important that we read and gain knowledge so that our faith will grow more and more. As Jesus said all we need is the faith of a mustard seed - meaning we need just a little bit of evidence to beleive. Great post Dean!

Cecily said...

The best way I've been able to describe this concept is to recall a common phrase I heard while living in Turkey: In┼čallah, or "God willing." I heard that sooooo many times from people, usually as a "blanket cover" for something they were about to do that, perhaps, wasn't so wise.

"I'm going to cross this busy four-lane highway while cars are zipping past me at 80 mph, and, In┼čallah, I will make it across alive."

In other words, "Yes, I know, this is an imprudent course of action... but I really want to cross the street right now, so I'm stepping out and trusting God to get me across safely (if it's His will)."

Then we get struck by a car and wonder why God failed to protect us. (And, worse, some well-meaning person then tells us we got hit because we simply didn't have enough faith.)

(BTW... I speak from experience on this. I mean, really... how many times must a person get stuck by a car to get the hint?! I guess I'm a slooooow learner.) :)

Dean Lusk said...

"Yes, I know, this is an imprudent course of action... but I really want to cross the street right now, so I'm stepping out and trusting God to get me across safely (if it's His will)."

I laughed out loud when I read that. Painfully funny and head-shakingly true to life at the same time.

Lisa Slater said...

I love the picture in this blog. Isn't it funny how strange people look to us in these old sepia toned photos? It causes me to picture everything from that time period in brown and dusky tones. I would love to see a re-do of this picture with you on Tom's shoulders and see them side by side. It makes me smile just picturing it.

Dean Lusk said...

What, and let Tom carry me over Niagara Falls on his back?!

In my bountiful free time, I may Photoshop the photo of The Great Blondin and Manager Colcord to become The Great Tom and Manager Lusk.

Speaking of this, something's been bothering me. I thought that there was some rule (possibly even a written rule somewhere) that anyone whose stage name is prefixed with "The Great" must, by law, have a three-syllable last name which ends with a long "ee" sound.

"The Great Blondin" just would not inspire me to go see the act. "The Great Blondini," on the other hand, now there's a good show!

Isn't it funny how we're conditioned to expect things to be a certain way?

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