So, finally, we get to the Christian “f-word” — faith! In earlier parts of this series, I have been disgusted with discussed what I’ve called “Faith™,” the trademark symbol representing the false faith that the Word™ of Faith™ movement pushes on folks. For those just coming in, three of the big talkers in the Word™ of Faith™ movement are Kenneth Hagin and his Rhema school, Kenneth Copeland, and Charles Capps; from their names come my punny title for the series. Oh, and the trademark symbol after Word™? It represents the all-important “spoken word” idea that I’ll be covering in the appropriately-numbered Part 6 of the series.
So what is faith? Do a word search on “faith” on Bible Gateway or any other Bible-related search page, and you’ll get tons of references, depending on the translation you search. Be careful, though! Satan knows how to take Scripture out of context, as he does when taking the verses on faith and using them to support the kind of Faith™ that dethrones God and tries to place us alongside of Him!
First, let’s look at how a modern dictionary, in this case an edition of the Oxford Dictionary, defines faith:
1 complete trust or confidence in someone or something : this restores one’s faith in politicians.
2 strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.
- a system of religious belief : the Christian faith.
- a strongly held belief or theory : the faith that life will expand until it fills the universe.
I personally have some issues with definition #2, especially the “spiritual apprehension rather than proof” idea, but I’ll deal with that later. Instead, I’d define “faith” as something like this: faith is a deep-seated belief that fosters complete trust in the person or thing in which that faith is placed.
That brings up a few important qualities about faith. First, faith isn’t alone; one has to have faith in someone or something. Second, faith in the wrong person or thing does not guarantee that it becomes real. Finally, faith can change how we look at things.
Here’s where atheists and anti-theists can start getting flaky. We all have some sort of faith in some sort of idea. That’s how our minds work. Students of deductive reasoning should know that any set of deduction, or proof of a theory, must start with some set of “givens.” These are ideas that are accepted as true, or are the results of previous lines of reasoning. For example, I assume that what I’m typing right now will be published on my blog once I hit the “Publish” button. That comes, in part, from past experience, from reading the instructions (yes, I’m a guy and I read the instructions first … well, usually), and from assuming that the system is working “properly.” On the other hand, I’m a software engineer. I know that Blogger doesn’t always work “properly.” Since I can’t tell until I try, I assume that I’ll be able to recover this if I need to, thanks to Blogger claiming it is saving periodically. (Again, though, that’s having faith in the little “Save” button that changes to “Saving…” all on its own once in a while.)
Regarding God and/or things beyond the natural, I assume — I have faith — that all natural things do not necessarily compose the entirety of existence. To put it another way, I don’t have faith that the only things that exist are the natural. That’s where I differ from many atheists and anti-theists. They want “proof,” rather than faith. I say, though, that there is no “proof” that they can accept because it violates their faith in the lack of the supernatural, or their faith in the non-existence of anything that cannot be proven using their methods and their assumptions or “givens.”
Did you see something important in that last paragraph? My faith in God makes Him no more real than the atheist’s faith against God! God is either real, or He is not. My belief doesn’t affect that, nor does the atheist’s belief. There is no inherent power in the faith of either one of us to create or destroy God.
On the other hand, my faith in God allows me to accept the gifts He gives me (Romans 5:1-2), which includes faith in Him (1 Corinthians 12:4-11; Ephesians 2:1-10). That allows me to do so much more through Him. He who has faith in himself alone has nothing else to stand on. In that sense, then, my faith gives me different abilities. On the other hand, the atheist who has faith only in the natural will see a similar advantage from her point of view. Each one’s faith, then, gives us the courage — and perhaps even the power — to see, hear, and do a variety of different things that we wouldn’t do otherwise.
The Word™ of Faith™ movement claims that God used “His Faith™” to speak things into existence. True faith doesn’t do that. In fact, God needs no faith! How can an all-knowing being have faith? He already knows what we will do, and He knew it before Eve plucked the forbidden fruit from the tree and passed some on to Adam. He knew the stupid mistakes and evil desires of our hearts when Jesus was nailed to the cross for them! God is not human, needing faith. We are not gods, knowing all. God doesn’t need us, but we need the living Word of God (John 1:1-10)!
This is just the nutshell version of what true faith in God is all about. It makes no sense to the mind of the person who insists that there is no God. It didn’t make sense to me while I made that choice … while I had faith in the naturalistic ideas forming the foundation of current scientific “knowledge.” It didn’t make sense to me until He opened my eyes and challenged my assumptions … my faith without Him.
What will it take to allow you to Consider †his?
For Part 6, click here.
For Part 6, click here.