I recently was following a post on the “AbsoluteGrace” blog where they were discussing the Bible – which lead to discussing faith.
Now, Grace seems like a very nice woman… as I’m sure are the other bloggers there… and I have no desire to offend or ague with them. I was just stating my feelings on the matter. I’d thought I’d repost that here, where I can expand a bit more.
First, on her blog I wrote:
Willa said: “It takes faith to believe the Bible”
Joy said: “there is one ingredient that must be added; to fully appreciate, ’see’, and gain the most knowledge and use from the Bible…One must have faith.”
Faith is a problem for me. I simply don’t have it. Oh, I USE to have it. Believe it or not, I was once very very much a believer. It’s not like I haven’t read the bible. I grew up on it. I can quote more of it than most of my “religious” friends. And for many years I had faith in God. But, little by little… as I grew older, searched more, learned more, and tried to make sense of it all… my “faith” escaped me.
How do you “just believe” something that in your gut, your heart, and your head – simply make no sense? I can’t create something that I just don’t have.
My Christian friends will tell me “just TRY”… “it’s a CHOICE. Just BELIEVE”… “READ the bible with an open mind”… or “PRAY and God will help you!”.
As if I never tried those things?
For several years, I struggled with it… tried to cling to what little I had left… afraid to let it go completely… hoping it would come back to me. Believe me, I prayed. I read the bible. I really wanted to believe… and was afraid not to. Still, my faith eventually completely disappeared.
I miss it sometimes… the comfort it could bring….
But, it’s gone and I don’t know how to just “have faith” now.
What people with strong faith can probably not understand or believe – is that I feel much more comfortable and at peace without it.
This whole notion of “Faith” really does drive me crazy sometimes. It’s so….. circular. You can’t believe, unless you have faith. You can’t have faith, unless you believe.
I mean, when else, other than religion, do we do this? Since when is trying to reason things out a bad thing?
I can think of no other example in which we would tell our children to “just believe something. Don’t try to reason it out. Don’t try to understand things that don’t make sense. Even if it flat out doesn’t make sense to you – just believe it anyway.” ???
Someone used the wind as an example. “just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there”.
Right. But, I can FEEL the wind. I can SEE it’s effects. I can watch the weather channel and the guy there can show me on the Doppler radar exactly what storms are coming in from where, and explain where that wind is coming from. Wind makes sense.
Telling me to just “have faith”… would be like me telling someone,
“Santa IS real! Despite anything you learned or saw or thought that might have proved the contrary… he really DOES exist. Forget that it seems ridiculous that a man could travel around the world. Forget that you SAW your parents wrapping your presents and signing “Santa” (they were just trying to mess you up!). Forget any other things that led you to believe the contrary. Just have faith! And, if you just BELIEVE your life will be better for it and you will get great presents! Well, you also have to follow his rules and be GOOD. But, first you have to believe. He won’t make sense unless you DO believe… and you won’t get any rewards unless you do… and if you DO believe… and you STILL don’t get any presents? Well, you must not have been a TRUE believer… or you weren’t GOOD enough. It’s your own fault for not really believing. So, keep trying! Why can’t you just believe?”.
Ok – that was a bit sarcastic and maybe comparing God to Santa isn’t the best analogy… but, replace Santa with anything else. I’m sure you get my drift. I mean, how can you just believe in something you that simply makes no sense to you? How does one DO that?
Seriously, are there any other times we do this? Have this “blind faith”??
Like many things… I just don’t get it.
My Christian friends and I have actually had lots of real life friendly, and not-so-friendly, debates on such matters, and usually just need to agree to disagree. In the end, they will tell me that I don’t WANT to get it – and so I don’t. They can believe that if they want. But, the truth is twofold. One, I did try and wanted to “get it” for years… many years ago. And, Two, at this point, they are right… I no longer want it. I am content, and even feel better off without it. I’d still like to understand it, though.