Monday, September 2, 2013

The weakness of guarded faith

This week someone writes is worried about the strength of their faith. Little doe Billy Graham realize that his answer reveals just how feeble faith is.
Faith must be nurtured to grow and thrive

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: How can I get a stronger faith? I admit my faith is kind of like a roller coaster, up one day and down the next. Or is this the way it’s supposed to be? — D.T.
I'll agree with that. Faith is unreasonable!
DEAR D.T.: No, this isn’t the way God wants our faith to be. Instead, God wants our faith to be strong and stable, not battered by changing circumstances or shifting emotions. The Bible says, “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
 What is the problem? Think of it this way. Suppose you decided to stop eating, or at least you decided only to eat junk food with little nutritional value. What would happen to you? The answer is obvious: You’d grow weaker and weaker, and if you didn’t change your habits, you could end up dying. We all need food, and without it, we’ll waste away.

The same is true spiritually. In order to be spiritually strong, we need “food” — the spiritual “food” that God has already provided for us. What is this “food”? First, God has given us the privilege of fellowship with other believers. He’s also given us the privilege of prayer. And he’s given us, as well, the privilege of learning about him and his will for our lives through the Bible, which is God’s word.

Fellowship, prayer, God’s Word — these are the spiritual “foods” God has given us. Make them part of your life, and if you do, you’ll no longer be on a spiritual roller coaster. Ask God to give you a hunger for himself. Then seek out a church where Christ is preached and followed, and take time every day to pray and read God’s word, the Bible. When you do, you’ll have “an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Hebrews 6:19). 
Faith shouldn't be effected by circumstances or emotions? You must stand firm in faith and let nothing move you? Well, the latter half sounds very close-minded. Not listening to the voices of others is not a show for strong faith, but a missed educational opportunity. Jamming your fingers in your ears may lead to you missing out on something very exciting, all in the name of blind faith. And if your faith be true, you shouldn't worry about what anyone else has to say, as it should lead you right back to where you started.

Faith also shouldn't live in fear of questions and doubts. Perhaps you may face a moment of lessened faith, but if it was all true, then faith shouldn't worry about these lean periods. The faithful should actually embrace these moments as a opportunity to grow and confirm their faith, rather than a threat to it. But that's if their faith was based on truth. But time after time, the things that the faithful are wary of, are things that actually draw the entire basis of their beliefs into question. Sorry, but if verifiable facts challenge your faith, the problem isn't that your faith isn't strong enough, but that you faith is in something that simply isn't so.

The comparison to food is also a poor one. Christian fellowship, Christian prayer and the Bible are not the 'food' to spirituality and a happy fulfilled life. If this were the case, only Christians would be spiritually content. But that is not the case. Buddhists don't partake in Christian prayer, Christian fellowship, or follow the Bible. Yet they are quite spiritually full filled by their own beliefs, and oft the most 'enlightened' of the religious. Likewise, a Hindu is quite fulfilled not by Christian beliefs, but by Hindu ones. You could consider them the 'junk food' eaters of you analogy. Yet here they are, just as religiously fulfilled (if no more-so) as any Christian.

You could also consider that non-believers like myself are among those in Graham's comparison that don't eat at all. I feel that I live a very fulfilled life. But what about spiritually? Well that one's kind of tough as the word means so many different things to different people. But when I look at the night sky and pictures or the amazing expansive wonderment of the cosmos, I would say that I have a similar feeling that some would consider as 'spiritual'. No fellowship, no prayer, no holy book, and I'm still 'well fed' and well lived.

Also, Graham instructed DT to read the Bible. I really hope they do, because reading the entire Bible with an honest eye will actually bring DT far more doubts than answers. Just as Isaac Asimov said, "Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.”

So instead of holding a shield in front of your faith, challenge it. If it stands up to the test, your faith will grow. If it fails, you have learned something and can grow as a person and append your beliefs to align with reality.

Read more here:
 -Brain Hulk

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