Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What is Faith?

Faith –

Why do we have faith? Why are Christians Christians? I’ve been mulling over this question ever since my husband declared that he is no longer a believer. He is a very smart man, and VERY logical. I’ve always known that if you try to prove God through logic, you’ll fail. But now, I’m struggling to find my footing in my own faith.

Don’t get me wrong, my faith is still strong; but it bothers me that I can’t defend it the way I should be able to. It is a very weak argument. I don’t have a clue how to effectively support my faith:

Why do you believe?
Because I believe.

What makes you so sure God exists?
Because I feel it. I see it in nature, in the way that God works through people.

But deep down, why are Christians Christians? Is it because it makes you feel good? Because we have this human need to have something MORE to live for, and “glorifying God” is a great purpose? You can’t KNOW that God is real, you only BELIEVE it. And it feels nice to feel that, so you keep doing it.
That’s not all…

What makes you so sure God exists?
Because I DO feel it… and I see it in nature, and in the way that God works through people.

But couldn’t that be a crazy coincidence? Aren’t there times when you can quite CLEARLY see that God is NOT protecting or caring for you or others? People who get raped, who starve to death, who get murdered for their faith? People like me who struggle with faith, and end up abandoning it? What kind of a “loving” God is fine with sending people to hell?
Well… God doesn’t always give us what WE think we need, but what he KNOWS we need. And bad things do happen, but faith means believing that God has a bigger plan, and that I have to have faith in the fact that he will protect his children and work his will through us.

But he doesn’t.

Which is he? Loving, or just?

But never at the same time. And anyway, would a Just OR loving God create the human race, give them the ability to fall, and then punish them for eternity for doing what he gave them the option of doing? Doesn’t that sound like kind of a sick game? Just so that when people DO manage to crawl over to him and beg, he can feel good about himself and be saviour?
That sounds terrible…

Then how would you explain it? Because it appears that God only loves those who love him.
Well, there is that whole “elect” thing…

Oh, right. That some of us are God’s “elect” and those are the people who will be with him in heaven. The rest are never going to have the option; we’re damned to hell without even a chance, because God hasn’t chosen us.
Well, that’s not exactly how it works, and I’m not even sure if I believe in that…

Then how does it work? And if you don’t believe in that, then what do you believe in?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, MAN, AMY. I can't answer all your questions today. But I can say that this is the crisis of faith that every true believer must go through (my opinion.) I can tell you that I went through this myself, and still deal with doubts occasionally (I actually think this is the normal experience of every very intelligent, thinking person. Which it is obvious that you are.) I was attracted to John Ortberg's new book 'Faith and Doubt' because of this.

But I think at some point you have to say, I choose to believe. Did you ever read the Narnia Chronicles? I think it is in 'The Silver Chair' that an evil queen is trying to convince them that there never was a Narnia, and there is a funny character (Puddleglum) who stamps his foot and says, even if this is a made up world like you say, the made up things seem a good deal more important than the 'real' ones. And even if there isn't a Narnia, I will choose to live as a Narnian.

Anyways, C.S. Lewis says it so much better, of course. But I do think of that passage so often when doubts hit. And of course, the point in the story being, that there was indeed a Narnia, and it was more grand and glorious than the underground world that the queen was trying to convince them was the only reality.

So anyways, I will keep you and your husband in my prayers. I do think that it is so important to have a group to meet with for accountability and encouragement. God knew our weaknesses, and that is why he set it up from the beginning for us to meet together in community.