Sunday, July 25, 2010


What is it to “believe”? I believe that if I strike this match and touch it to a candle, it will burn. I believe that I will have a job next week. I believe that if I call a friend to tell a problem, that he will listen. I believe that I will have money to pay my rent next month. These are all things that I believe. Some of my beliefs are based on science and what we have come to know as fact. Some are based upon reliable trends and my own abilities. Some are based on faith.

Some are based on faith – there’s the rub. What if we change the word “faith” to “probability”? What’s the difference? There is no scientific proof that my heart will continue beating through my sleep tonight… but there is probability. I believe I will wake up tomorrow, but is it because of probability or because of faith? To look at it another way, perhaps we have faith in certain things precisely because the alternative is simply unthinkable. Is it considered faith to believe a random meteor will not strike the Earth in 82 hours and destroy all life on it? Perhaps not. We have heard of “blind faith”, which could be construed as voluntary ignorance. To actually believe – based on faith – perhaps is something we accept as truth which is contrary to or outside of accepted probability.

This does not have to be a religious argument; however that is where I derive this insight. In reading Luke 8 of the Gospel, the overriding theme to me was the power of believing. A storm was calmed; demons were banished; a sick woman was healed; a girl was brought back from the dead. Jesus is quoted in the various stories: “Dear woman, you are made well because you believe”… “Don’t be afraid. Just believe, and your daughter will be well”… “Where is your faith?” Faith is what gets us through the storm; faith is what makes us well. Faith is not something to which we cling, but it is something that drives us and indeed something that defines us. Truly believing on faith is a special confidence, not just in our own capabilities, but in some outside influence not under our control. This requires an immense humility. For not only must you realize that you cannot do it alone, you must trust that God, nature, and/or circumstances will and must, in fact, intervene to make it happen.

What do you believe?

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