Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Question of Faith



Faith is a very interesting concept. And just like any other concept, it boasts of so many definitions, and as sure as heaven, all the definition boils down to one single fact; faith is believe.
Perhaps, saying faith is equal to believe may be rather simplistic, but nevertheless, the word faith etymologically is traced back to the Latin word; “Fides”, or more recently, to the old French word, “Feid”, in which case both means trust, or belief.
 I may have been let off the hook by tracing it all back to the roots and hiding the shallowness of my conclusion in the heap of proof provided by the ancient languages. But then, how do I quell my own conscience?
Faith is indeed similar to “believe” in more ways than one, but in totality, we cannot equate faith with believe. Nevertheless, who is to be bothered by a single word trying to get us to open tomes after tomes in search of meaning?  I will tell you who will; those who believe that there is more to life than the physical; the ones who understand that the visible was made out of the invisible (Heb. 11: 3). And the ones who realize truly that light is a product of darkness.
Well, I happen to be one of those. And that raises so many questions about faith in my consciousness and otherwise.
In my quest for answers, the combination of Oxford advanced learners dictionary and the Encarta dictionary provided a soft landing; they collectively defined faith as “a religious concept signifying devotion to, or trust in somebody or something, especially without logical proof”. Yes, “logical proof”, the whole concept about faith seem rather all too baloney sometimes to be swallowed wholesale. A quick one, how do you explain the belief of more than one third of the world’s population in a man dying for the sins of more than 6.5 billion people across the universe? It does not make much sense. And that’s where it comes in – faith.
Faith is the only culprit that can be convicted for making people believe in something that cannot be logically proven by human standards. And that leaves you really wondering; faith must be a brazen trickster.
Faith as it is is a very interesting theme, but writing about it is a different ball game. Especially for someone still trying to figure out how far down he is it with the faith campaign, it is not only humbling, I feel rather out of place writing about something I am trying hard to grapple myself.
Checking up faith in multiple dictionaries sure provides a soft landing, but what it truly fails to provide is an “explanation”. If those dictionaries have done anything at all, they had succeeded in convincing me to mistake faith for belief.
Well, looking up faith on the internet wouldn’t do much help I supposed. So I consulted the longest surviving book of human facts in history – the bible. The word faith was mentioned for about 270 times in both Old and New Testament, perhaps that does not make a very important topic, compared to “God” that was mentioned over 3, 000 times. However, that does not change the fact it –faith– is our sole ticket to eternity (Heb 11:6). And that’s where the distinction comes in; faith isn’t just any kind of conviction or resolution, but one that buys you the ticket into eternal life. Usually, I like to look at believe as a conviction based usually on a justifiable truth, but not faith. Faith requires the least of justification; it’s deep in heart, non-questioning and without compromises.
Paul is one apostle that won’t be forgotten easily, aside the fact that his conversion to Christianity would have been hashtagged then (if there had been Twitter); Paul aggressively propagated the faith he once openly persecuted. And When Apostle Paul mentioned the importance of faith to the Ephesians in the 6th verse of the 9th chapter of that letter, he was not joking about it. It is through faith that “we” have been saved, it’s not earned through our efforts or labour, but by grace – through faith.
The thing is, it’s easy to give a drop down list on what faith is and how to be faithful, with oceans of scriptural references to tag along. But youth to youth, I know it helps better when we drive the facts down. Being faithful is not a fun thing to do most times, and I have never seen it as a hobby in any of the thousand CVs I have seen in my lifetime.
But then, just like you, I am a victim of this. Faith is a concept we discuss passionately in bible studies and just when it comes down to it, we scamper off into the valley of fear and build a mansion in the city centre – all comfy.
Faith is not comfortable, either as a verb or noun. Looking it up in the Bible, we are exposed to the most sagacious (perhaps not the most acceptable) definition of Faith in Heb. 11: 1, it defined faith as being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Well then, I guess that sums up all that we’ve ever had to talk about. But how can we ignore that faith’s hall of fame?
Imagine God telling you to leave your home, your family and everything you know and to follow Him to a new terrain, without telling you exactly where you were going. This is what happened to Abraham (the father of faith). Or imagine He told you to build a huge boat in the middle of Sahara, because a massive flood was coming. Would you do it? That was the decision Noah had to deal with. These are only two out of the many dumb propositions God presented to many people in the bible and still presents to us today. Now it takes faith to defy all reasoning and take the first step. Even though you can’t see the rest of the way, just move on up and like Abraham, God is sure to light up the rest of the way for you.
Human minds need hard facts to function. Why? Our answer is summarised in the words of the Swiss Psychiatrist; Carl Gustav Jung who said that “Faith is a charisma not granted to all; instead man has the gift of thought, which can strive after the highest things.” In my words; not everyone has that grace. Now it boils down to us asking God to keep us faithful. The faith that we will make heaven does not lie in how self-righteous we are, but by the grace God makes available.
Most of us like to plan our lives ahead of us, and make dooms day predictions. We like to plan out our agenda for the next 10 to 15 years. But pity, God does not work by humans’ timepiece, he usually like the surprise factor. When God challenges us to have faith in Him, He won’t let us down. Why? Because he is not a man that he should lie (Num. 23: 19). Pray for faith, it’s actually a rare gift you can’t have on a platter. 
Endnote: Hmm, I know it's been a while I have been here. I really do not have any excuse, but then I must say, time and chance has not really been smiling with me. Am sorry.
I actually sent this for publishing in a Christian Mag. and I thought I should share with you guys. Thanks for reading. I hope you it blessed you.