Author Topic: A Believer's Thoughts on Faith (2) (First Half)  (Read 57 times)

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Offline rlp21858

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A Believer's Thoughts on Faith (2) (First Half)
« on: April 20, 2022, 05:51:06 PM »
"Agnosticism" has been said to be the fastest growing "religion". Simply put, it argues that since you can't see God as you see physical matter, you shouldn't believe in him. When presented with an opportunity to make a different stance, one following agnosticism would respond with "You can't know that stance is right for certain". From what I've seen, the common refute to this is that one can't know anything with 100% certainty. But go a bit further, and one may realize what I believe is true: that this is because life is to be lived by faith, and not by an attempt at certainty.

Man's long obsession with knowledge is probably more potent now than ever. At present day, you can still see the influence of this everywhere, with people putting their trust in "science" and trying to use logic to prove they're right about everything. I believe knowledge can definitely be a helpful thing. But the problem with putting your confidence in knowledge is that if you're not careful, it can increasingly become an attempt to avoid failure, so eventually one will start to avoid the situations that risk failure. But trying to avoid the risk of failure in life seems virtually impossible because life is full of uncertainty. So one can conclude that life is not lived by certainty but by faith.

The more you pursue certainty and avoid matters of faith, the more "on the fence" you become concerning what direction you'll take, whether to continue pursuing faith or abandon it completely to enjoy the comforts that faith has awarded you thus far. Choosing to live by faith loses the current safety, but choosing to live by safety means making no progress. But from what we can see everywhere, the undecided stance is not respected. Often those that are undecided will not admit to being so, often hiding the stance behind excuses and "softened" names. But they can usually be spotted by their actions (as, for instance, the truth about a braggard is found out by challenging him to a contest):

For example, the "fair-weather friend" is not appreciated because he won't choose to either stick with his friend come what may, or give up the benefits that came with having that friend. In the undertaking of a business venture, the one who forever roominates is not respected because he won't choose between the risk of losing money and losing the chance of making a profit. On the topic of ventures, there is also an expression called "paralysis by analysis", a state which is generally considered undesirable. We all know that the common refute to those that make use of a certain thing while complaining about it is to remind them that if they dislike it so much, they can always do without it, a reminder that one must choose between making the best of a bad situation and pursuing something else. And in many other well known situations, those who will not choose a side are not well regarded: the one who is "never wrong" (not choosing between risking humiliation when wrong and giving up his air of authority), those that make promises but don't keep their word (not choosing between the burden of being committed and having people see how uncommitted they are), those who won't commit to a decision, people who do the works worthy of a label but won't assume the label, hypocrites, ("Do as I say, not as I do"), etc.

When trying to make progress, what's undecided is of no help to anyone. The next best answer to yes is a definite no so you can know to look elsewhere, but something that is "on the fence" doesn't allow progress from any direction. Even if one was looking for someone undecided, a response of "I don't know" would be of no use.

A person who remains undecided often does so from fear of a risk, wanting to stay safe, and it seems faith always involves a risk of some failure (embarassment, injury, loss of resources, etc). But this is inevitable: we know that risks are a part of life and the more one tries to protect himself from them, the less life he lives. The belief that the undecided position is of no worth will lead to the belief that the correct way to live one's life is with the eventual goal of being fully committed to one conclusion. This agrees with a universal truth held by most, that nothing should be done half-way or by partiality (the law applies to all, no favoritism, etc). This followed fully would leave one with two options to pursue: a life of complete faith or a life of complete safety. And since a life of safety is not possible, a life of faith is what remains. And the goal of a full conclusion extends to settling one's faith about God.

The teachings of Christianity, which claim to be the truth, challenge virtually everything most people do: following after humility instead of pride, forgiving rather than pointing the finger or judging, not holding onto the things of this life, etc. Doing nothing halfway means that one is either a follower of Christ or is not; therefore, the doctrine challenges all other conclusions about God because they conflict with it. In the face of any doctrine one must have an answer for why he follows a different one, and giving an answer for or against the Christian doctrine would require an accounting for all areas of a person's life. So the belief that nothing should be done halfway will inevitably require that each person that hears of a doctrine (especially the Christian doctrine) have a personal conclusion in regards to God, whether for or against.

This is also seen in the conflict of the decided with those who haven't made their conclusion. Those who doubt will oppose those of decision even if the decision does not come in the name of religion or morality. Take the issues of profanity, premarital relations, and gun control for example: one who is undecided will not allow a moral stance against these issues. Many would respond with "Keep your religion/morality to yourself". But neither will they allow a non-religious stance against the issue, usually resisting it by mentioning what others are doing in an attempt to justify themselves. The name of religion/morality is not the problem but the person's doubt. There are only two possible stances on these issues: either entirely for or entirely against. If fully decided, living within either perspective would be a matter of pursuading or understanding the other stance and both would be done without force. And I think opposing views could dwell peaceably with each other. But those who doubt their own conclusion will oppose any full decision from either perspective (for or against) because it forces them to decide what they believe.

Those that are undecided will oppose those that have made their decision because the two lifestyles (one of doubt and one of faith) are at enmity with each other. But what we see today is that people's indecisiveness is worn as a badge of pride. It's common to see some openly criticizing the practice of faith, "religious" or not. Again, a byproduct of society's pride in their own doubt is the one who currently calls himself an "agnostic", who I believe has completely forgotten that life is lived by faith and has determined to avoid his God conclusion permanently. That the stance receives the title and status that it does is society's attempt to exalt being undecided about one's faith.

Some opposition to the promotion of faith I think is legitimate, trying to keep peace and stop fanatics for example, who I believe are not living by the faith of their own doctrine. But much of the opposition comes from those that are merely trying to avoid the turmoil that often accompanies having to choose a faith conclusion. Facing this often interrupts the pursuit of the comforts of this life, but from childhood we've been told we must choose between what is called good and what is called evil, and their actions show in just how many situations they've been putting off their decision. In more and more areas of daily life, matters of faith are being beaten back to cater to those that remain undecided. I believe this conflict is a reminder that life is to be actively lived by faith and not in the comfort of neutrality.

 

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