Blind Faith?

What is faith? How would you define it? The very fact that the phrase “blind faith” involves an adjective should tell us that there are forms of faith that require no such adjective, that are not blind but grounded in evidence and insight.

I was reading one commentator who wrote, “Blind faith is faith without evidence … The Bible does not call us to blind faith. The Bible calls us to faith in evidence. We submit that various truth claims, including Christianity, should be evaluated on the evidence.”

Evidence of course does not stop with historical eyewitness, evidence also comes from the life lived faithfully, from the evident transformation it brings. This led me to reflect on Martin Luther’s definition of faith, here excerpted from “An Introduction to St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans” in Luther’s German Bible of 1522

Faith is not what some people think it is. Their human dream is a delusion. Because they observe that faith is not followed by good works or a better life, they fall into error, even though they speak and hear much about faith. “Faith is not enough,” they say, “You must do good works, you must be pious to be saved.” They think that, when you hear the gospel, you start working, creating by your own strength a thankful heart which says, “I believe.” That is what they think true faith is. But, because this is a human idea, a dream, the heart never learns anything from it, so it does nothing and reform doesn’t come from this “faith,” either.

Instead, faith is God’s work in us, that changes us and gives new birth from God. (John 1:13). It kills the Old Adam and makes us completely different people. It changes our hearts, our spirits, our thoughts and all our powers. It brings the Holy Spirit with it. Yes, it is a living, creative, active and powerful thing, this faith. Faith cannot help doing good works constantly. It doesn’t stop to ask if good works ought to be done, but before anyone asks, it already has done them and continues to do them without ceasing. Anyone who does not do good works in this manner is an unbeliever. He stumbles around and looks for faith and good works, even though he does not know what faith or good works are. Yet he gossips and chatters about faith and good works with many words.

Faith is a living, bold trust in God’s grace, so certain of God’s favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it. Such confidence and knowledge of God’s grace makes you happy, joyful and bold in your relationship to God and all creatures. The Holy Spirit makes this happen through faith. Because of it, you freely, willingly and joyfully do good to everyone, serve everyone, suffer all kinds of things, love and praise the God who has shown you such grace. Thus, it is just as impossible to separate faith and works as it is to separate heat and light from fire! Therefore, watch out for your own false ideas and guard against good-for-nothing gossips, who think they’re smart enough to define faith and works, but really are the greatest of fools. Ask God to work faith in you, or you will remain forever without faith, no matter what you wish, say or can do.

So, what is your experience of faith? Of the blind sort and the eyes wide open sort? Of the impotent sort and the life transforming sort?

12 thoughts on “Blind Faith?

  1. +dale says:

    thanks for the luther quote. i often find luther responsible for our current very wrong understanding of faith, so i was particularly glad to read the words, “faith is a living, bold trust in God’s grace,” which are as good a definition of faith as i know.

    Like

  2. fernando says:

    Really thought-provoking quote. I suspect when we link faith directly to the Holy Spirit it *should* become hard to talk about it in a an abstracted way. I guess that’s why I shy from talking about evidence and am more at home talking about reality. So instead of asking what is the evidence of my faith I wonder how does my faith manifest itself in reality, in the real world outside my mind/will/hope etc.
    In terms of blind faith – I view that as uncritical faith, ideologically naive faith, or to put it another way, faith with no conscience.

    Like

  3. Dan says:

    I see life transforming faith as holistic faith, the “whole enchilada”. No single part over emphasized, no part under utilized. It involves our intuition, imagination, cognition, volition, emotion, etc., and moves us through this world into heartfelt action. Heartfelt as from the core of our being, not merely sentimentality.
    Faith without action is dead, and blind faith is just foolish.

    Like

  4. Linda says:

    I have one word for that quote – Amen.
    Everyone quotes the verse “Faith without works is dead,” but I don’t know if many of us understand it. My understanding of it is that if the Spirit of Christ dwells in you, then it is no longer “you” who does the work but God who works through you. If we think we are still in control of that, then the faith means nothing. The expression of who we are should just pour out of us. It cannot be contained. What we “do” does not prove who we are. If we truly believe who it is that we are…who we have become… then who we are proves itself. In last week’s sermon, one of our teachers pointed to the fact that “Jesus did not come to make bad people good; He came to make dead people alive.”
    And who is Fred? Do you have a better ‘description’ of Jesus’ message? If you’re willing to criticize, then you must be willing to step up and give us something better, don’t you think?

    Like

  5. Matt Stone says:

    Yes Fred, how is Luther in error here? Is faith merely doctrinal affirmation, such that it has no connection with works whatsoever? Is that what you are suggesting? Please elaborate.

    Like

  6. John says:

    True Faith and Real Intelligence is tacit, silent and wordless.
    It is a Heart matter which has nothing to do with the left-brained thinking mind that wants to explain everything via endless theologies.
    In fact the usual exercise of the left-brained thinking mind actively shuts down this tacit Heart based Intelligence and Faith.

    Like

  7. Fred says:

    Faith is between you and God. What nonsense that you would need a hateful, hypocritical turd like Luther to tell you what faith is and the required outward expressions.
    Luther is the fool who thinks he is smart enough to define faith and works. His own words condemn him.

    Like

  8. Lucy J says:

    Hello, Fred.
    One aspect I truly appreciate about my faith is that it is between me and God, and that your faith is between you and God. If God is God to me and to you, then God is God to US. It’s the relationship between US that also comes into the picture. Do you think my faith in God and your faith in God has any impact on how we relate to each other? Perhaps this idea has something to do with what is being discussed in terms of faith and action toward our fellow human beings (and/or natural environment) being related to each other through relationship with God?
    Similarly, may I also ask you, John, could you see it ever possible that the mind and the heart could work together more holistically? Could you imagine that the tacit, silent, wordless, heart-based qualities of faith can possibly inform the thinking mind and also influence physical action toward people and other aspects of God’s creation?
    To me, the mind is important, but it is not supreme. The heart is important, but not supreme. The physical body is important but not supreme. To have the opportunity to become a holistically functioning person, relationship with the supreme God who made us (and what is around us) is a supreme experience, and there is definitely faith involved in that… and also salvation, which the Greek word sozo indicates is wholeness… all our parts functioning harmoniously together… a supreme experience that we spend a lifetime working out!
    One other thing I’d like to mention is that we tend to think almost exclusively in terms of OUR faith IN God. One day, I read something that seemed a bit radical to me. It was suggested that God has faith IN US! This really turns the table on our discussion. With that perspective in mind, I am glad that God acted in faith to send Jesus into the world as an active expression of supreme love 🙂

    Like

  9. Pantheistmatt says:

    It is all based on psyhology, comfort, fear and a human being’s natural urge toward an external locus of control. One can talk about faith in a philosophical way but at the end of the day, from a rational point of view, that is what it boils down to.
    God is a metaphor for anything a person or group desires, whether that is a man floating in the sky with a white flowing beard, or simply the power of the strong and weak nuclear forces, electromagnetism, and gravity.
    Human love is a combination of neo cortex conciousness, and chemicals released by the limbic system, not to mention our conflicting atruistic and selfish urges. As sterile as my description sounds to the spiritual individual, I personally find it fascinating. But dont get me wrong, the day I heard a loud voice booming down at me from the sky I will be on my knees in a shot. Personally I do not need ‘faith’ to lead a fulfilling life, I get my emotional stimulation from everything I experience day to day. Apart from companionship from my friends and family, my mind alone provides me with everything I desire in that sense.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s