Blind Faith

Blind Faith

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B: I’ve been harping on a bunch about logic.  But though I believe that everything God or a Supreme Being would do would be a perfectly rational thing to do, not everything we do needs to be thoroughly backed by logic.  This is because we humans are very limited in our reasoning powers.  But if we assume that there is a God Who isn’t thus limited, the most rational course would be to always do His will, and thus trusting in Him, even if there initially appears to us to be no logical explanation for it.

A: What?!  You would have us live by blind faith?!

B: Now there is an interesting concept: “blind faith.”  Is the “blind” modifier necessary?  If so, at what point does faith become blind?

A: I don’t know, but I do know that blind faith is a bad thing.

B: Perhaps a common image that pops up in people’s minds when one mentions “blind faith” is a scene of Nazi soldiers hailing Hitler and goose-stepping off to World War II.  The idea is that they and the people of that unfortunate regime didn’t really know what atrocities they were getting mixed up in, and if they had, they would have speedily removed “Der Führer” and co. from power before they had a chance to do anything further.  If that was blind faith, then it’s easy to see why people don’t want to repeat that.  Assuming that it was, at what point did their faith become blind?

Here’s another example to complicate things: when you visit the doctor for some malady that you have and he prescribes a certain drug for you, would you take it?  Occasionally doctors misdiagnose you – although, thankfully, they usually wouldn’t prescribe something terribly dangerous.  So how do you know that the doctor knows what he’s talking about?  Or how do you know he isn’t conniving to injure or murder you?  How do you know the pharmacist didn’t mix up the prescription?  How do you know that the little white pill you’re taking is what you really need to feel better, instead of feeling worse?

A: Easy: the guy’s a doctor, of course.  If he really was trying to kill me, an autopsy would reveal him and get him sent to jail.  Even if it didn’t kill me, I could easily sue for malpractice.  The same goes for the pharmacist.

B: Those are plenty good reasons, but how do you know that society in general doesn’t have it out for you?  Perhaps there would be a conspiracy between the doctor, the pharmacist, and the coroner.  It seems unlikely, but you can see that this would apply to a bunch of different situations in life.  Driving down a two-lane highway, for instance: how do you know the guy coming from the other direction doesn’t feel suicidal and won’t just crash his truck into your car?  Heck: every time you step into any car, how do you know that isn’t the last time?

The point is, that you don’t really know for certain, but you’re willing to take a bit of a risk.  And why?  Because you know a bit about the situation yourself; i.e., you’ve been educated about it.  You’re not a Nazi blindly following the unpredictable whims of a megalomaniacal dictator.  You are willing to trust the society you live in and the experiences that you’ve had that the doctor and the pharmacist are taking good care of you, and that the drivers on the road have good common sense.  You have your own witness – that is, you know for yourself that you can trust these things and live, to a certain degree, by faith.  And everybody does this.

And now I’m telling you, that it’s the same way with things of God.  You can gain your own witness about the truth of anything.  Not only that –

A: How?!

B (sighing impatiently for A’s rude interruption): Later.  It’s through God’s Spirit.  Anyway, you might be told in a hundred different ways; not only again and again through God’s Spirit, but also by others who know something about God in their own lives (ordinary Joes I’m talking about here, not just bishops, priests, reverends, etc.).  When God tells you (or anybody) something, He tells you a bunch of times and in a bunch of different ways: in the Bible this methodology is referred to as establishing (God’s) word “in the mouth of two or three witnesses.”

But I have to extend a caution about one thing.  This idea that we must know everything about something before committing ourselves to it will impede our spiritual progress, eventually.  There’s a reason God wants us to act by faith.  If we insist upon knowing what we’re getting into first, we’ll never become the kind of people God wants us to become.  Occasionally He’s going to ask us to do something we aren’t sure about, because – and this is the very essence of the request – He wants us to learn how to trust Him.

A: So how would that not be blind faith?

B: Just like you trust the doctor – though you don’t know for certain that he knows what to do – you should trust in God.  Two major differences here: God does know what to do, but the question comes in determining exactly what it is He wants you to do.  But from your past experiences with God, you come to find that He’s a trustworthy Being, and that if there’s anybody to trust, it’s Him.

So let me sum this up by saying that occasionally the answer to a question asking “why” may very well be “because God said so,” and there need not be anything wrong with that.  We may even trust that God will eventually let us know why, if we truly desire to know.

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A: Why doesn’t He just tell us?

B: Presumably He has His reasons.  It may be that He knows that if He told us, we wouldn’t behave the way He’d like us to.  Also, remember that He wants us to trust Him.  It’s all part of developing “faith,” which we’ll also discuss later.

The reason why we may be satisfied with the answer “because God said so” is because God is perfectly trustworthy and nobody other than Him knows all the answers anyway, so we can’t necessarily explain it all.  Details

I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers, but I will provide my own explanation if I think it’s appropriate.

A: What do you mean, “appropriate?”

B: I mean, if I’m not sure about something, then I’ll probably indicate thus, or perhaps I’ll keep my thoughts to myself, fearing that by revealing them it may lead to an unnecessary and confusing firestorm of speculations and disagreements.  Otherwise, I’ll likely share, if it’s also relevant and in general contributive to our discush.

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