knowing faith or living faith?

Category : bible, faith, feeding my brain, living a life of faith, taking action

I’m one of those people that loves to find that perfect balance between price and performance.  There is something about getting the “most” out of something that I just find fun.  I am always thinking about the best way to drive to save the most gas.  Whenever I build / buy a new computer I look for that sweet spot of price and performance.  I even do this when I buy sports tickets.  I know, it’s a bit weird.  But I also love it.

Sometimes this becomes a bit of an obsession.  For instance, in the last couple of weeks I’ve spent countless hours trying to figure out which surge protector to buy for my TV.  Most people just go to the store and buy the cheapest (or most expensive one).  Not me.  I need to figure out exactly how many outlets I need.  Then I have to find which stores have the best deals.  And in the case of these power strips, I wanted to find out what the level of “ideal” protection was needed.  To further complicate this choice there are a new line of power strips that cut down on “phantom power” use.  (Phantom Power is the power a device draws when turned “off.”)

No matter how hard I looked, I kept running into a problem: no one would explain what the energy ratings really meant.  Exactly what is a joule?  How many do I need as protection?

I’ve realized that I know nothing about electricity.  I don’t know how it works.  I can’t explain basic concepts like Watts and Amps.  I have no idea how it’s made or how it powers my devices.  Yet I also know I believe in electricity.  Even though I can’t see it, I know it’s there.

Frankly that sounds a lot like faith.

Most Christians couldn’t hope to explain their beliefs.  They don’t know how it works.  They can’t explain basic concepts like the Original Sin or Atonement.  And while this is a bad thing (you really should know why you believe what you believe), people still believe.

So why is this lack of knowledge the lynchpin of so many arguments against Christians?

A lack of knowledge doesn’t mean something isn’t true.  As I’ve said, I haven’t got a clue of how electricity powers my laptop.  But I know that it works.  I know that somehow it comes from the outside into my computer.  Just because I can’t explain how doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

Should I know more about electricity?  Absolutely.  But there is also only so much time in life to do things.  Sometimes it’s more important to live out a belief than to know about a belief.

When God says things like, “well done my good and faithful servant” he isn’t congratulating people for passing Theology 405.  He’s congratulating them for living out a life of faith.

Knowledge is important.  But not as important as living.

what i’m reading: The End of Reason

Category : God, bible, choice, faith, feeding my brain

 

One of the goals of R3 is to present an intellectual side to faith.  So often people have the idea that you must have “blind faith” to follow God.  But that’s not the case.  God never asks us to stop using our minds or to stop thinking.  He asks us to trust him, not become brain-dead.

But not everyone sees Christianity this way.  Some people question the reliability of the Bible.  Others question the sanity of believing.  Not long ago Sam Harris, an atheist, challenged the existence of God, and therefore the validity of believing.  In his book The End of Faith, Harris argued that since there is suffering, there can be no God, because God would never allow suffering.  And if he did, he’d be a horrible God, and therefore unworthy of belief. 

Those are pretty heavy charges.  And to be honest, on the surface they seem very compelling.

That’s where The End of Reason comes in.  Ravi Zacharias responds to those challenges and lays down an intellectual and philosophical argument for the existence of God. 

Somewhere along the line, we’ve decided that people who have faith can’t use their mind.  That’s probably the polite way of saying it.  But that’s not what I’ve discovered.  I’ve found that the more I use my mind, the more I work at problems, the more I study the issue, the stronger my faith, the more I believe.  That’s the value of The End of Reason.  In one short (it’s only 128 pages long) book, Ravi Zacharias lays out a strong argument for not only the existence of God, but for the existence of the Christian God. 

He starts by arguing for a Christian worldview based on the ideas of origin (where do we all come from), meaning (what’s the point?), morality, and hope that assures a destiny.  Zacharias argues that when atheism is challenged on those points, it can’t come up with logical and consistent answers. 

I’ll be honest, I didn’t find everything in this book convincing.  But I don’t think that’s the point.  If you talk to any scientist, he or she will tell you that no theory gets 100% of the evidence.  It’s not always about certainty, it’s about which side has more evidence. 

That’s where faith comes in.  There will never be a way to prove with 100% certainty that God exists.  We just need to take the evidence we have, use our minds, and allow faith to take us the last bit. 

In that regard The End of Reason is an excellent start.  Ravi Zacharias presents a compelling argument that counters the general arguments of atheism, and Sam Harris’s specific arguments.  Living out a life of faith is about being willing to ask tough questions, and listen for hard answers.  It’s about not shying away from the unknown.