“I don’t want to believe, I want to know.” – Carl Sagan
“The battle is between faith and reason on one side and emotions and imagination on the other…” – C.S. Lewis
“We must not encourage in ourselves or others any tendency to work up a subjective state which, if we succeeded, we should describe as “faith”, with the idea that this will somehow insure the granting of our prayer…. The state of mind which desperate desire working on a strong imagination can manufacture is not faith in the Christian sense. It is a feat of psychological gymnastics.” – C.S. Lewis
- God requires belief and trust in moments of human weakness, but faith is what makes us strong. Faith is the state of being convinced about what we hope for.
- Faith never means gullibility
- It is possible to increase your faith
- Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted
One warm evening in May, I had ventured downtown with my fellowship to visit the ROM (Free night :P). After parking in Yorkville and walking south to Bloor and Avenue on the North East corner we passed by this sign outside a church.
As a few of us walked by and continued to cross the street I commented that the sign irked me. It was a horrible message to be sending out to the world about God and not only that… it came from the “church”!
Ironically, they had quoted the famous mathematician Blaise Pascal who was the member of a small breakaway sect of Catholicism known as Jansenism. As we continued to walk into the ROM, I talked with a buddy of mine about the sign and he was saying that the sign may not be that bad since some people do experience God from the heart. I didn’t deny this fact entirely as the heart is key to our faith – yet we cannot ignore that the Bible does say the heart is wicked. At the same time we recognize the worth of the Holy Spirit in the process of salvation as the “seal”. More to the point though, was that I strongly disagreed with the second half of Pascal’s quote – “Not the reason”. Where does this thought come from? Wasn’t it the early scientists (Newton, Copernicus, etc.) that expected law to be in nature and not chaos and the reason for their expectation of a law was that there was a Law Giver, namely God?
Since when did “reason” seem to contradict “faith”… since when did faith become emotional or heart-based? Isn’t this the first step in atheists hijacking science as their domain? It is not a battle between emotion and reason. It is not a matter of heart vs. mind. It is not a Christian’s mandate to be blissfully ignorant and naive – in fact the Scriptures speak against this.
I submit that these are extrapolations from what could have been a simple quote but we must admit when statements are made we understand the implicit worldviews that are behind them and deal with them.
Unfortunately, there are some significant ramifications beyond those mentioned above in the perceptions the world has about Christians when they read quotes like this. There is the acceptance that faith, as some have said, should be segregated to a distinct magisteria from science and reason. A quote that indicates this view that I have heard is “Religion is found in the gaps that science has yet to uncover”. This is a brutal statement and a gross misrepresentation of true Christianity and the mandate Christians have.
Lastly, beyond the impact to non-Christians, these statements or the subversive adoption of their worldviews within the church is arguably even more destructive. It seems this emotional reliance (especially for young/new believers) positions God as a holy drug. Simply, that you are on a “high” when you become Christian or attend church retreats or conferences and feel close to God and when that wears off we suffer a withdrawal the symptoms of which are confusion, guilt, isolation, perceived slight by God, and apathy (more on this concept in a future post).
If you examined a hundred people who had lost their faith in Christianity (think about people you know), I wonder how many of them would turn out to have been reasoned out of it by honest argument? Do not most people simply drift away?
We must ask why? And I would present that one reason may be this adoption of faith as a matter of only the heart/emotion and the lack of true discipleship making through solid teaching. Once something is established with solid evidence to be evident that cannot be reversed. We KNOW God is present and isn’t that what faith is? To be certain of that which we do not see. The tag line of Theology in Sneakers – Evidence for things unseen is built on this foundation.