Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Faith - it's not just for George Michael anymore

From Jason:
Recently I was listening to an author on the radio who shared his story of lost faith. Basically, because he couldn't unravel the mystery of why bad things happen to good people, he decided that God isn't who he says he is in the Bible and opted for a more palatable, mystical universal consciousness who basically set things in motion and then kept his hands off.

This really got me thinking about the nature of faith. I mean, what is faith? Why are we pressed to have faith? I think the author, a professor at a university, has fallen for a classic argument. In fact it's the argument that led to the first sin. The argument that states:
  • I should be able to know and understand everything that God knows and understands.
  • If I cannot know or understand something, God is at fault.
Thinking that we can be like God and know the things that God knows is the height of arrogance. In Job 38 (NLT), God answers Job after Job spends chapter after chapter asking why so many bad things have happened to him:

1 Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind:

 2 “Who is this that questions my wisdom
      with such ignorant words?
3 Brace yourself like a man,
      because I have some questions for you,
      and you must answer them.

 4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
      Tell me, if you know so much.
5 Who determined its dimensions
      and stretched out the surveying line?
6 What supports its foundations,
      and who laid its cornerstone
7 as the morning stars sang together
      and all the angels
 shouted for joy?

Job didn't understand God's plan and is basically told, "Who do you think you are?" How can we possibly think that in our finite minds we can grasp God's plans and motivations? Yet, the author I heard has lost his faith because he doesn't understand why there is suffering. Take a look at Job's response in Chapter 40 (NASB):

1Then the LORD said to Job, 
2"Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty?
         Let him who reproves God answer it."

 3Then Job answered the LORD and said, 
4"Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to You?
         I lay my hand on my mouth. 
5"Once I have spoken, and I will not answer;
         Even twice, and I will add nothing more."

Job proudly proclaims, "Er...nevermind." I wonder what that author's response will be when he stands before God. 

Look, true faith is not easy nor is it blind. I believe God wants us to study, question and do everything we can to understand Him. He doesn't want legions of mindless robots following Him. Rather, I think God wants followers who are willing to question everything and put their beliefs to the test with the understanding that we are finite and God is infinite and we will never understand everything He does or everything that happens around us, but we can do our best to try.

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