Posted by: gebs | September 3, 2009

Faith and Belief

 David Hume argued that we are creatures of belief, and that we can have no knowledge of anything as it is in its own object.  Take for example, that the sun will rise tomorrow; we cannot know this for certain, yet based on historical observation we believe in this beyond doubt.  Faith, however, is distinguished from belief in that its object is spiritual and reaches out beyond the natural phenomena towards a supernatural power which gives life to the world.  Through the lens of faith, we believe that the sun will rise tomorrow, not because of historical evidence, but because its creator allows it to.  The source of beliefs lie in the world and look no further, yet faith broadens the lens of belief to the supernatural, or a Divine being which lies outside time as we know it.  Faith is a spiritually based belief.

 Faith, therefore, reaches beyond the individual human being into a power beyond the possible as the world defines it.  Unlike belief, which has no power over reality, faith, whose object is the power over reality allows for new possibilities in ones life.  Beliefs may remain purely subjective, yet true faith should always lead the person beyond the self.  True faith can change reality, as we hear about in the stories of the Bible and the lives of the Saints that have followed. 

 The miracle stories of the New Testament may differ in details but there appears to be at least two common denominators between all the accounts.  First is the presence of Christ, and second, is the faith of the one that comes to Him.  Many came to him with the belief that he would do something and rushed to touch his garments, but only one was cured, because she had faith (Matt 9).  Belief leaves room for doubt, and rightfully so, yet true miraculous faith only exists where there is no doubt.  Faith is the opposite of doubt. 

 True faith is also something that cannot be selfish by its definition.  If I desire (and pray) for a rain drop to fall out of the blue sky in order to quench the tongue of my dying brother, and this desire is borne out of the compassion and love for my dying brother, then faith in the creator can make this possible.  Yet if my desire is for water to fall from the sky and fill a swimming hole I want to relax in, faith is powerless.  Although our faith may originate from belief structures we inherited from our parents, unless our faith is driven by love and the hope that comes from a benevolent and omnipotent God , it will remain powerless in our lives, and we will always question its place and the need for it in our lives (we will always doubt).  The more we acquire true faith, the less power doubt has in our lives and the more powerful we become as created creative beings.  We do not even have the faintest idea of what we are capable of.  We should pray continuously for God to increase the little faith that we have, so that it may become the one that can move mountains and change the shape of our lives.

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