The Value of Faith

As a parent, one of the most important things to me in my life is the trust my children have in me. When I make a decision that is in the best interest of my child, I want that action to be noticed by my child, and I eventually want that child to trust that I will always make a choice that is in their best interest. I desire their trust, but I do not require their trust.

When my child becomes a teenager and I’ve told them to be home by a certain time, I don’t require that they trust my judgment in the matter, but I do require their obedience. It’s not entirely important to me that they understand the sum of my knowledge at that time because, frankly… they cannot. But in their best interests, it is important that they obey.

We cannot begin to fathom the infinite knowledge that is possessed by our God. God did make us in His image, but He did not make us His equal. Nor would He ever have a reason to.

As a parent desires the trust of their child, I believe that God desires our trust in Him. If we simply “trust Him on this one”, then we are demonstrating to Him that we truly do believe in His omnipresence, His omnipotence and His omniscience, even if we don’t understand it. For some of us, this starts out as merely giving God the benefit of the doubt. For others, the trust is more natural.

If we demand some form of concrete, tangible evidence from God that He does exist, then we are no different than the defiant child who does not trust in the decisions of his parent. In this, there is no evidence of faith. Christ spoke of the importance of faith in the accounts of the faith of the centurion (Matthew 8:5-13), of the woman touching His cloak (Matthew 9:20-22), in His calming the storm (Matthew 8:23-27), and of His doubting apostle Thomas (John 20:24-29). In many other scriptural references in the gospels, Christ clearly tells us of the importance and value of our faith. I believe that there is little that pleases God more than a profound faith in Him, and nothing can test our devotion to Him more than that of our faith.

God did not make us mindless drones. God also gave us an independent and free will. Where would the measure of man be without faith? What joy could one have in owning a mindless robot who always does as programmed, but does so without love – versus raising one’s own flesh and blood, one who is unreliable, imperfect and yet, very capable of love?

What would you value more: directing your child to create a birthday card for you, and having them sign it with a prepared statement – or being surprised by your child with a card that is imperfectly perfect in its demonstration of love for you?

What joy do you think God would have in finally forcing you to believe He is God by swooping in on a chariot in a cloud and parting the Red Sea for you? Surely God doesn’t want that. I believe that God wants you to trust in Him, and have faith that He is God. If we don’t have that faith and we demand some concrete form of what we consider to be evidence of His existence, then we are sorely missing God’s point, and falling way short of establishing a relationship with Him.

 
Advertisements
This entry was posted in Faith and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to The Value of Faith

  1. I’m pretty sure the “word of God” is actually the words of men. These men may have been fathers, with the same concern for the welfare of their children as you have for your own. And they may have had a transcendent concern for the welfare of mankind, which led them to speak as if instructed by God Himself. But the variety of specific rules in Leviticus and the more general moral directions given in the New Testament pretty much proves we are dealing with a variety of viewpoints rather than a single author.

    We may very well place faith in their words as moral teachers, who have spent more time than most of us considering certain issues. But we are also justified in some faith in our own ability to apply their words to produce good or not so good results.

    After all, like you point out, we don’t want our children to be automatons, but rather to be themselves competent discerners between right and wrong. After all, what was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil for, if not for that.

    Like

  2. Doyle says:

    Thanks for your response, Marvin. It is truly a blessing to converse with someone who has concern for the welfare of mankind.

    While I do trust in the “word of God”, that is not exactly what I was making reference to in this blog post with respect to where faith is being given. My faith starts in God before it moves to the Bible.

    If I were not completely convinced that God exists and that He is the loving and benevolent God who created mankind, I would have no use for the Bible. My faith in God starts with His general revelation to man (His creation) and then later moves to His special revelation to man in His Word.

    Science points to a beginning, to a point of creation. I believe that it is impossible for all matter to have suddenly emerged from nothingness. Science shows that all matter moves away from its point of creation, and against the laws of physics, it accelerates in this movement. This is but one of the many signatures that I believe God has given us to help us understand His existence.

    Another equally important signature to me that God exists is that love exists. I’ll admit there isn’t as much love in the world as I would like there to be, but it does exist. So, if all that mankind has become today is the result of undirected natural causes, then where did love originate? Survival of the fittest has no use for love, it only knows survival and propagation. But love does exist and it therefore had to have then been taught to mankind.

    This is where my faith starts. I certainly don’t have all of life’s answers, but I do know this – God loved us enough to create a place for us to live as humans until such time that we transcend that. I the meantime, He taught us how to love. I believe that knowing this, having this faith in Him, is something that He values.

    Like

    • God and Good

      We are born into a world of good, which we did not create. Not just material things, but ideals, like justice, liberty, and equality. And spiritual values, like courage, joy, and compassion.

      We benefit from what others, in good faith, have left for us. In return, we sacrifice selfish interest when necessary to preserve this good for others. For the sake of our children, and our children’s children, we seek to understand, to serve, to protect, and perhaps, humbly, to enhance this greater good.

      It is an act of faith to live by moral principle when the greedy prosper by dishonest means. It is an act of faith to stand up for right when the crowd is headed the wrong way. It is an act of faith to return good for evil.

      We have seen Hell. We have seen gang cultures whose rite of passage is an act of mayhem or murder. We have seen racial slavery, persecution, and genocide. We have seen revenge spread violence through whole communities.

      We envision Heaven, where people live in peace and every person is valued. It can only be reached when each person seeks good for himself only through means that are consistent with achieving good for all.

      If God exists, then that is His command. If God does not exist, then that is what we must command of ourselves and of each other. Either way, whether we achieve Heaven or Hell is up to us.

      The point of God is to make good sacred. We trust that, each time we put the best good for all above our own selfish interest, the world becomes a better place, for all of us, and our children, and their children.

      Like

  3. Doyle says:

    Your comment “The point of God is to make good sacred” is, in my humble Christian opinion, far too limited in scope.

    If you do not have a belief in God, and you are a humanist (as you’ve described yourself before) then I understand this line of thinking. Being the humanist that you are, you clearly seek a transcendent purpose beyond your own and thus this makes good sense.

    However, as a believer that God certainly does exist, I would respond first by simply saying that “God Is”. I cannot pigeon-hole Him into one small package with one limited purpose.

    We Christians believe that God is the fundamental existance of the universe. He is eternal – He has always existed and always will. He is immutable, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. He is the Creator of all that is known and unknown. His being is beyond our comprehension. And as incredible as He is, we believe He loves and cares for us even in our comparative meager existance.

    My passionate belief in God is the reason for this blog. I believe that God and science are NOT mutually exclusive. I believe that science is the first step into an understanding of God’s incredible power and essence.

    Other posts of mine on the subject that might interest you:

    Like

    • Okay. Suppose God is eternal, immutable, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. What practical difference does this make? For example, when you say, ” He loves and cares for us even in our comparative meager existence.” Does that mean you set your newborn child on the doorstep and wait for God to feed, clothe, and shelter the infant? Or isn’t it true that you still must do these things yourself?

      Your statement that God “cares” for you means only that God “feels” for you, and that in all practical ways you yourself must “take care of” you and yours yourself, but with the loving care of friends, family, and community as well. .

      The concept of God’s love is a spiritual aid, guiding your own love and caring of others, and providing the mutual support between one person and another. The point of religion is to provide that necessary, mutual, spiritual support for those seeking good for themselves and others. And that is a very good and positive thing in a world where many succeed by seeking good for themselves at the expense of others. .

      Like

      • Doyle says:

        Hi again, Marvin. I was re-reading some of my older posts and I saw this and realized I never responded. Please forgive the oversight. I hope I didn’t leave you hanging on anything (I’m pretty sure I didn’t… you are one sharp guy!)

        Nonetheless, I just wanted to add a bit to this comment thread. I do believe that God physically “cares” for us. I believe His providence is evident in the design of our ecosystem and how our nutritional needs are matched by the flora and fauna around us (spoken by an omnivore, of course). Also, an argument can be made that the components that man has made use of over time to provide himself with clothing and shelter are also clearly within his grasp. Are these things also rooted in the providence of God? I believe that they are.

        But more directly, I have witnessed too many instances of answered prayer that sheer coincidence cannot convince me that God is not an active and caring force working for the benefit of His creation.

        Like

      • That’s fine. Personally, I try not to believe in God, but I’m sympathetic to those who do. The idea of God is helpfully used to give us an optimism and hope about life in general, and especially about seeking the best good for others as well as for ourselves. I’ll sure never regret being raised in the Christian faith. And like most Unitarian Universalists, I consider all moral persons of good will to be allies, regardless of their individual beliefs.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s