The God Squad is a Jewish Rabbi and Christian Monsignor (priest) that has a syndicated newspaper column that shows up every Thursday in our paper, the News and Observer. They answer religious/spirtual questions, and the view points of both the Jewish and Christian faiths brings a unique perspective to their answers.
This past week they had an answer that contained the following exerpt on faith that I really liked:
Rarely can you convince someone of the existence of God. Faith, for the most part, is more of the heart than the mind. We sometimes believe that if we put our faith in a loving God that this loving God will spare us from any pain. When faith is tested by setbacks, one either grows stronger in faith or runs away from faith.
Faith does not guarantee an easy life. Instead, it gives us a relationship with God that doesn’t eliminate pain but helps us deal with it.
True faith thanks God for each day. It makes time for prayer. It looks for the presence of God in life. It recognizes that some suffering is hard to understand and harder to figure out. When faith unites us with God, it creates a great peace, one that will last forever. When someone says there is no God, it should represent the beginning of a discussion, rather than the end.
I am much more of a “mind” person in everything exept my faith. And while I enjoy apologetics immensely, I always think the arguments just don’t cut it at some level. So when it comes to faith, I rely on my heart to tell me what is true, not my mind. Some, especially non-believers may view that as a weakness, but I view it as a feeling that there are some hings beyond what humans can know in this world.
And this answer from the God Squad really fits in with what I believe.
Well put! I feel much the same way. This may be hard for other free thinkers to rationalize, but I think it’s a combination of intellect and experience that leads us to this type of understanding. The intellect being what God gives us to use in discernment and the experience is how He shapes us in life. (Proverbs 16:9)
I’ve heard it said that people use religion as a crutch. Whether that means as a substitute for intellectual curiosity or as a support mechanism for dealing with life’s tough challenges, I don’t know. To me, religion and a true relationship with God are two different things. When intellectualism fails and or conflicts with what I feel in my heart, I rely on prayer to resolve the conflict. I don’t have all the answers, but more often than not, I do have peace.