[The demon Screwtape writes:] Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s (God’s) will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.
From The Screwtape Letters – C.S. Lewis
Compiled in Words to Live By
Following is a good discourse on Faith from a very well thought out layman’s view.
It is presented in a way that may be useful to clarify Christian faith in a manner to bridge the gap and connecting with those who may be seekers. At he same, time it may help some Christians understand the meaning of the word “faith” in their belief system. ~G.W.
Faith Is Not Blind
The leap of faith is meant, as mentioned in my previous post, is to be carried out after much reflection. A leap of faith is the means by which we make all of our choices, and it is the fundamental action that must take place before any other action. If we do not leap over the gap of ignorance we cannot move, we will be resigned to inaction. The unwillingness to jump is a fatal commitment.
A leap of faith is not to be understood as the blind leap to the acceptance of some conclusion, belief or choice. It is a calculated jump from what you do know to the end where your acquired knowledge is leading you. You cannot possess all the facts, so every conclusion, choice, or belief must employ this leap. You must always be leaping from what you do know to other knowledge, of which you cannot always see an unbroken connection.
Faith, in this sense, is to be understood as translated from the Latin word fides, meaning trust. We trust the path that our knowledge is leading us down. Then once we come across a gap, we leap across it after reducing the number of unknown variables — thereby shrinking the gap that we must jump and ensuring that we will land safely on the other side, the result of our choice. If our trust was misplaced, then the leap results in falling back into the chasm of ignorance. Starting over and rebuilding our
Examples of The Leap
For example, we trust our cars, spouses, living quarters, hotel staff, doctors, and fast-food cooks. We have to trust them to a certain extent because there is information, a lot of information and try as we might, we can never know it all. We do not possess exhaustive details about the people we work and interact with, yet we have to trust that they will behave in a particular way. If they do not, the whole system will collapse. We build the entirety of our lives on this type of faith. Trust is what makes the world go round.
The guy serving me my number one could be a convict that did time for alleged murder by poisoning. Unless I dig into the background of every employee at every place I order food from, I would never find that out. You are required to have a certain amount of trust if you want to have another person prepare your food.
The Russian proverb coined by Ronald Reagan rings through here, Trust But Verify. This is the dictum by which we live every day. We trust our cars, but we shouldn’t stop taking them to the shop for tune-ups. We trust hotel staff, but that doesn’t mean we should avoid the yelp reviews. We order the number one with a large coke, but we make sure there’s nothing wrong with it to the best of our knowledge before we indulge.
In the future, there may be a time where we can download all of the information into our heads regarding a topic and then be so prepared for any permutations of a particular choice or circumstance — allowing us to make genuinely rational decisions and act in entirely calculated ways. Until that horrible day is upon us, we will have to continue with our reliance on faith.
Give Faith Another Look
What I have said thus far will be easily understood by some and will also posse some problems for those who are more vehemently materialistic. I would imagine that they, for no other reason than their secular dogma, would be against faith in any form, including the way in which I portrayed it here. I would think a majority of those in the anti-faith camp reject it because they do not understand its history, nor do I think that they have taken the time to understand it. For them, the stigma is too gross. They may only know the word to be associated with radical fundamentalists and religious terrorists. I’ve heard them say that, since these types of people hold faith it must be evil and rejected on all grounds.
So, they have gladly picked up their definitions from elementary readings such as Dawkins, Hitchens, and the like. These dogmatic definitions are not accurate to the literal and historical understanding of the word or the employment of the term used by many today. I will admit there are some champions of faith that harm its classical definition — obscuring it with their false understandings and misguided teachings. Luckily we live in the age of information, and all the claims made by any person can be checked and double-checked.
If you fall into the camp that rails against the idea of faith in the antiquated sense, I will urge you to give it a second look. You might be a little embarrassed to find that you have been employing the classical version of faith in large areas of your life. There are none among us who can avoid living by faith. The next time you visit the drive-through at your favorite fast food joint, remember that you have faith in the attendant. Faith that they will not hurt or poison you. Faith that they will do their job and treat you properly. This is the faith that the world runs on, the faith that is employed in every decision, and every interaction. The faith that you use in your daily life and the faith that is implied whenever you make your leap.