Get ready to fasten your seatbelts ladies and gentlemen! It’s time to think and it’s time to think hard about what leads to the most reliable forms of knowledge. It is no secret that I was once a man of deep conviction. I was truly confident that the transformation that had taken place via a serious and heartfelt embrace of Jesus was not ever going to break down in my own life. I was flat out wrong!
Here is why: The Biblical definition of faith is a flawed path to knowledge. The most common and concise definition for the word faith is found in Hebrews 11:1. It says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Some translations say that “faith is the evidence of things not seen.” So what is faith exactly? Biblically speaking, faith is described as an assurance, trust, conviction, confidence, or expectation of the things not seen.
One potential flaw right off the bat is that people are trusting that God will somehow maintain their faith position. God will come through and keep feeding their confidence for what is not seen. In essence, an unseen being is said to keep feeding an inward confidence. Can you think of any evidence to the contrary? Here’s what is happening objectively. “Pastor, I’m struggling with many doubts right now. God has always remained a compelling idea but I’ve never sensed a relationship. The Pastor responds, “So and so, what does it say in Hebrews 11:1? Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. How has your prayer life been? I suggest making this your top priority. Find a quiet and comfortable place. Open up your Bible, meditate on its words, come with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength and God will meet you there!.”
Now, let me grant here that there is a lot of intimate and beautiful language within the Bible. Especially in light of this idea of reconciliation and Jesus powerfully making a way to the Father. This is language and it functions and moves many people much like poetry does. If there is one statement that I can half agree with in the Bible it is the saying, “examine yourselves.” My challenge for the sake of truth and the cold hard facts is for people to examine what is going on in their own heads.
I think what happens in many people’s lives is a stirring of confidence, hope, emotions, and expectation simply by the nature of the Bible stories themselves. Well, think about this. Is this in itself any kind of evidence as to whether this religion is factual? Some of the greatest works of fiction ever written have been known to move people, and yes, even transform their own outlook on life! My goal here is not to tear down people’s faith (confidence) simply because they have it. My goal is to see if faith actually passes muster and leads to true knowledge.
Let us go on and consider the value of the word faith in a linguistic sense. As I’ve surveyed many people within the Evangelical faith community, I would say that a surprising majority of these folks admit that they are not undisputedly certain that a God exists. This is actually a very commendable and healthy admission. This admission has a direct correlation to human knowledge. Now, where this gets a little dicey is when believers try to use the word faith as part of their own vernacular for knowledge.
The faith or confidence that people possess is said to be related to what they know. So let’s go back to the former admission. If one cannot be undisputedly certain that a God exists would it not be more appropriate to say, “I am uncertain”? This admission relates to evidence does it not? This could hypothetically be a world in which the source of our existence is simply not known, or not yet known. So I am asking many of my friends, what is the more honest and humble approach to this question of origins? I’ll let you decide.