Day 62 (Faith)…

Faith… belief in the absence of proof.  Just as vulnerability is a necessary condition for courage, so too is doubt a necessary condition for faith, for without the first there would be no need for the second.  

Faith is often comingled with trust, and while they are related, I find them quite distinct.  Trust grows and wanes as outcomes dictate. It is a running account of our certainty or lack of certainty about some outcome in the future.  Not only is faith belief in the absence of proof, but it also understands that proof may never be offered, at least not in this realm.  Trust can be granted, offered, earned, and spent.  Faith, on the other hand, must be chosen.

Why make the choice to believe in something absent of proof?  Why choose to believe in something absent of proof AND never expect to receive proof? Because faith, the choice to believe, is the wellspring of hope.  And hope is the fire that lights our way when we would otherwise be lost in the crucible.

I am a non-observant Jew in a band that has many members of deep Christian faith.  I am inspired being in their presence… not to adopt their beliefs, but inspired by the strength, peace, and hope that their faith provides for them.  I have spent a long time ignoring the importance of faith. My bandmates have shown me what an important choice it really is. Faith, any loving faith, can be a tremendous cord running through a strong core…maybe even a necessary one.  I’ll have to noodle on that belief statement a little more.

“I claim to be an average man of less than average ability… I have not the shadow of a doubt that any man or woman can achieve what I have, if he or she would make the same effort and cultivate the same hope and faith.”  -Gandhi

Where do you place your faith?  In whom or what do you believe in the absence of proof?

8 thoughts on “Day 62 (Faith)…

  1. While you are noodling on that belief statement a little more, consider the possibility of another kind of faith where a measure of proof exists. Faith with a measure of proof is how juries decide court cases, where the kind of proof is more forensic than mathematical. The extent needed in criminal cases is beyond a reasonable doubt. In civil cases, it’s the preponderance of the evidence.

    I believe informed faith, not blind faith in the absence of proof, is the faith which sustains the hardest tests of life. Vision over visibility is built in a strong CORE. Believing in advance what can only be seen looking back, faith grows stronger like a muscle as it gets exercised. Faith can start small but as it builds a track record it grows, taking ground from doubt.

    I liked “hope is the fire that lights our way when we would otherwise be lost in the crucible.” Misplaced hope is a destroyer of faith, strength and peace. Informed hope is the wellspring of faith — because the more certain your hope, the more certain your faith. And the more certain the proof, the more certain your hope.

  2. For me a big part of faith centers on what I decide to believe about Jesus of Nazareth, who claimed to be “The Way, The Truth and The Life.” Anyone who claims that is either delusional, a liar, or is, in fact, who he claims to be. If Christ isn’t who he claims to be, why is this year called 2021? I can’t believe we would measure time globally based on the birth of a crackpot or a liar. This man who never led an army or ruled a country and was born to a poor carpenter’s family in a country and religion that killed him, nearly all of his followers and actively worked to discredit him and wipe out any evidence of his existence must be who he claims to be or we would never have heard of him. That alone gives me enough faith to start my journey. The Book claims that Christ is the author and finisher of our faith and without faith it is impossible to please God. So it starts and ends with Him.

  3. Well said, Andrew. Your perspective on faith, as having hope that good things, love, patience, kindness, consideration, understanding, are present and/or coming, is a universal message much needed in our world of despair, discouragement, division, disgust and depression. I too have faith, a hopeful optimism, that in the end love wins.

  4. Love wins not merely “in the end,” but every day, if we’d just give it a chance. This is why I have faith–because the promise is so obviously true that Love infuses everything–every thing–as connection and cooperation and sacrifice and service to grow to greater levels of complexity and interdependence and beauty. Look around. When love is present, everything works. When love is absent, everything breaks. As Chet might say, “Fact.”

    The promise is that we are Love if we’d just wake up and see. But many (most?) just slumber on.

    The path of Love is the path of descent from the pathetic “heights” of ego towards the True Self as “I”, then towards the other as “Thou,” then, together, towards growth until death do us part. Ah, but not even then, because Love infuses everything everywhere and therefore never dies and we are love and, as this Latin scholar might say, “ipso facto.”

    This is the blueprint, the rationale, the reason for it all. I trust this promise, meaning, I willingly grant trust to it as another name for faith. For me, faith is not “belief in the absence of proof” but rather trust that the promise of love is true, here and now, and wherever and whenever one may travel in the universe. There’s plenty of proof of that. Look around.

    As I result, I have hope that as I act in Love, I will build more love, which, God Willing, will build more hope. Love is real–so real it is reality itself. Faith is trust in that promise. Hope is Love with its sleeves rolled up.

    Let’s roll, BTL. Keep rockin’ and rollin’.

  5. There’s so many great things in this chapter, this post, these comments. Thank you to all. In Bible study this morning, one pastor quoted another paster in saying something to the effect of “Faith is giving all you know about ourselves to all we know about God.” I’ve been ruminating on this all morning, and thinking about Calvin who said “Without knowledge of self, there is no knowledge of God.” and St. Augustine who said “Novem te, novem me, (May I know you, may I know myself). Clearly there is a link of working on oneself in order to know, or be in relationship with, God, and to therefore have Faith. Tying all the above thoughts on faith and love and believing together…Mother Teresa said it pretty well in her poem, the Simple Path:

    The fruit of silence is prayer.
    The fruit of prayer is faith.
    The fruit of faith is love.
    the fruit of love is service.
    The fruit of service is peace.

    In order to find peace, we need to start with ourselves, looking up.

  6. Hey Jeff Mach, great comment and thanks for passing on your pastor’s wonderful observation. If Jesus’ high priestly prayer in John 17 is to be believed, then self-knowledge–all the way in–leads to God. And from there, God willing, onto knowledge of God through awe and curiosity led by love to greater awareness, knowledge, and loving support of others.

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