Tuesday, November 08, 2005

On Faith

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
-Hebrews 11:1

"Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe."
-Voltaire

"Faith must trample under foot all reason, sense, and understanding."
-Martin Luther

I have grown up knowing God was there, that he had a plan for me, and his son and my brother Jesus Christ died for me. I could recite line and verse myriad scriptures to back up my faith. I had my "assurance of things hoped for" and my "conviction of things not seen." These days I find that faith waning. I can no longer allow my faith to "trample under foot all reason, sense, and understanding." So much hate is spewed in the name of God people have forgotten the doctrine of love. How can God's church on earth be bureaucrats and bigots? I am not speaking of an one church but all of them.

Today there are people voting here in Texas amendment to prevent gay marriages or anything like them (civil unions) from recognition. Now I am not here now to debate the merits or flaws of this amendment. I am speaking of the hardline "Christians" running around with the "God hates gays" signs. What happened to "God is love"? The Bible accounts for so little of what really happens. Even with the expanded set of scripture available to Mormons I find the details lacking. So much is left out. So many things are unexplained. If the glory of God is intelligence or light and truth why would he not share more of his glory.

I feel it is the curse of the scientific mind to doubt. I know more is out there than science can explain. I also know it is not as clear cut as my upbringing makes it out to be.

9 comments:

Capt. Caf said...

my take on science vs. faith is this. God follows laws yes? He has to, it's part of his nature. These laws include scientific laws, we don't know them all because our tiny little brains cannot comprehend them. He's not gonna give us more knowledge than we can handle because then we would have to be held accountable for it, which would be bad when we can't understand. Eventually, if we are good and go on "blind" faith sometimes, everything will be explained. I've believed for some time that we will one day have a scientific explanation for the healing power of the priesthood. That probably won't happen until we've all achieved godhood, but it'll be worth the wait. :)
i don't really know who you are but I hope you're doing good.

Michael J. Clarkson, Jr. said...

Welcom to the world of windbags Captain!

I noticed in your profile you are a debater/drama kid. I judge debate tournaments here in Texas so we should have some common ground.

I also get the feeling from the post you are a Mormon as well. RULDS2? Sorry, couldn't resist quoting the bumber stickers that you see on nearly every car in Utah...

I am still Mormon but as you can see from my previous posts, I am examining my faith. Consider it an extreme form of Moroni's promise, "I would exhort you that ye would aask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are NOT true". I have taken these things as true all my life. Now I am examining the wisdom in doing so. By so doing I hope to find the answers I seek.

For me I must find a place where my faith does not contadict my senses.

“Faith certainly tells us what the senses do not, but not the contrary of what they see; it is above, not against them.” -Blaise Pascal

Brock Neilson said...

Michael,
Interesting post,
I have to say that I feel that my senses sometimes contradict my faith too. I think I have let the world warp me, changing my feelings and senses. This is what I have let happen to me.

I do believe that one day science and religion will merge. There is so much we do not understand about the universe, black matter, string theory, the big bang and so on, that I don't think its possible to set anything religous into stone accept that which we find to be true from application in our lives.

I have been really dissapointed with church going Americans as a whole, in the LDS church (I am LDS of course) and other churches. I espesially relate to your comments on what happened to "God is Love". If people knew their true religion they would realize that Christ was not sent to damn but to save.

I love that quote you put up and I can't agree more. Faith is above the senses indeed.

Anyway, it is really late, I better sleep.

Keep thinking deep thoughts.

Michael J. Clarkson, Jr. said...

Brock,
I thought I detected a hint of LDS in you with a similar cynical approach to religion to my own. What happens to us as Mormons when we let reality set in and make us cynics?

Sleep well Brock.

Brock Neilson said...

Michael,
I actually love religion. Although I claim the LDS faith as my own and am a member I have a great love for religion as a whole.
Buddhism, Catholicism, Paganism, and so on each have their beautiful traditions and sacred beliefs.
I don't believe all religions are true, but they each have their interesting aspects.

I am just cynical to the way people twist their religions, the ways that they destroy and misrepresent their saviors, popes, monks and prophets.

Concerning the "God hates gays" thing, I know a few members of the LDS denomination who profess this idea and I don't know where they get it from. Our LDS prophet said specifically "we are not anti-gay we are just pro-family" and the brethren never profess hate towards people who have sin in their lives, no matter how dark the sin may be. Hate is not God's way.

I know a few gay people and although I do not believe that what they are doing is correct I would sooner damn the people who hate and despise them because they do not comprehend for a moment how these individuals became gay or any of the physiological pain that pushed them in that direction. Of course, damning the haters is sort of hypocritical, but whatever.

I think I have become a cynic because I have let people get to me, because I have let them disturb my feelings about true religion, which are very pure feelings when I peel away the pain others have caused.

Whatever religious conclusion you come to, Michael, just don't let people get between you and your faith, it is yours and they have no right.

I hope I am not being too preachy,
I hope your day is going well,
Brock

JC said...

Time to hear from an atheist.

Life without faith is not empty, it is not devoid of morality, it is beautiful.

No god sits in judgement over me, no three-headed dog guards the way to hell. I am the only competent judge of my actions, and when I fall short, I feel it. I suffer the pangs of regret, and guilt, the same as any other man, but I take my suffering, and all life is suffering, and I taste it.

I savor every bit of life that is thrown my way, the good, the bad, everything. I have no need to give anything to a deity, I have nothing to ask of one either.

I am never compelled to accept another's judgement, (outside the courts)I do not refer to any ancient text for guidance, though I've read a lot of them.

I can freely and happily say "I don't know anything about god"

And I can't. And neither can you or pat robertson or the grand pooh-bah of any church, so what say we all just stop trying. Lets just celebrate life here on earth, pain and all.

Incarnation rocks.

(it certainly beats the alternative)

Angel said...

JC -

I agree fully...There is nothing empty about living without faith in a higher power. Ultimately you are the only person who HAS to live with you and your actions, therefore it is only you who should judge whether you're in the right or wrong.

I respect people of faith because I know they need it, want it, and fully believe in it...but organized religion is far too corrupt to be considered true. Things done, in the name of God, have also been endorsed by the churches of power (at the time)...that cannot be what these peoples' higher power (read: God, Buddha, Allah, etc) wanted for his creations.

To answer the question of why are people suddenly internally debate a faith they've believe in (with every fiber of their being) their whole life...Well that's simple - NOTHING is perfect. Flaws will eventually show, and something else will come along and take the place of empty spaces caused by realizations that childhood beliefs aren't always exactly has they've been portrayed. Whether science and faith merge, or whether one will take over the other...it doesn't matter. What matters is what YOU believe to be right and wrong (and your willingness to accept whatever consequences - in this life or another - that come from your own actions).

- Rev_Sapphire

Angel said...

Question everything, Mike...it's the only way you'll find the truth you feel to be right for you. We are individuals for a reason, and we're not created/evolved/whatever to think exactly alike. Be you, make you happy, and know that no matter what you do, (if there is a higher power, out there, to answer to) that they will realize you did YOUR best.

- Rev_Sapphire

Brock Neilson said...

If only people could learn, as Angel has said, to be what will make them happy, to do what will make them happy.

That really is the best and most human advice any person can give you.